Weekend in the Chess valley
- Credit: Archant
With beautiful walks, great pubs, community sports clubs, antiques fairs and independent shops, the neighbouring villages of Sarratt, Chipperfield and Flaunden make for a perfect weekend destination
The village of Sarratt lies three miles north-west of Rickmansworth and is bordered to the south by the River Chess and the Chess valley – a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
There are many scenic walks in and around the village and the Sarratt Women’s Institute helpfully has produced a booklet entitled New Walks on Old Paths, detailing 12 circular walks. It’s on sale at the village post office for £3.
For lovers of bluebells, one of the best walks in springtime is a two-and-a-half mile route starting in Rousebarn Lane and taking in Merlin’s Wood and Harrocks Wood. As well as swathes of blue, the woods are home to many wild flowers and rare species of moths, butterflies and beetles.
After working up a thirst, why not stop for a drink in one of Sarratt’s pubs? Built in 1739 and still retaining many original features, The Boot has exposed beams, open fireplaces and a large beer garden. The Cock Inn oozes character and charm, with a cosy bar and separate restaurant, while The Cricketers is a traditional English pub next to the village green.
Go on a Sunday morning and you will find a market in the village hall. From 10am until midday visitors can buy everything from antiques and craft items to bric-a-brac and plants. Refreshments are available and profits go to the village hall.
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The hall also hosts the Sarratt Horticultural Society annual spring show, taking place this year on April 5. Last year saw 265 entries from 49 individuals, including seven children. The society, which was formed in 1888, also holds an autumn show and prizes are awarded for categories including flower arranging and arts and crafts.
Chipperfield is home to around 1,700 people and has a handful of independent shops, a village hall, cricket ground, three churches, four pubs and two garden centres.
The village is a destination for antique collectors, as Chipperfield Village Hall hosts an auction of antiques, fine art and collectables. Chipperfield Auctioans is a family-owned business which holds public sales here every month. Auctions this month are on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd, with a valuation day on the 8th. Next month, they take place on the 12th and 13th, with a valuation day on March 29.Viewing for all dates is from 8.30am until 12.30pm when sales start.
Chipperfield Common covers more than 100 acres of open land and woodland to the south of the village. It is criss-crossed by way-marked paths for great walks. The village cricket club has a green and pavilion on the northern edge of the common, close to the Two Brewers Inn, so in summer visitors can watch a game on a Sunday and head to the pub for refreshments.
If football is more your thing, Chipperfield Corinthians Football Club play on a Saturday at their Queen Street ground, while the youth football club play on a Sunday.
Five miles east of Chesham, Flaunden lies within a conservation area and has an attractive mix of old and new buildings.
Bikers have been meeting at The Green Dragon pub in the heart of the village for many years and gather on most Wednesday evenings and weekends. Flaunden has two pubs – the other being The Bricklayers Arms - an 18th century country inn on the northern edge of the village.
There is a network of footpaths and bridleways monitored by wardens to maintain their condition for ramblers and riders alike, so you can enjoy the picturesque village and rolling countryside while getting some fresh air and exercise.
Flaunden Football Club welcome supporters at their games on Sunday mornings at Flaunden village hall’s Field of Dreams, always kicking off at 10.30am. Established more than 30 years ago, the club are reliant on members and sponsorship from local businesses to cover the costs of running a team.
. Did you know?
- Flaunden was originally sited in the Chess Valley, but constant flooding from the River Chess led to villagers relocating up the hill more than 200 years ago. The village now overlooks the valley.
- Actor Peter Sellers bought Chipperfield Manor in 1959 and lived in the Grade II listed Queen Anne mansion until he sold it in 1961. The estate cost £17,500 and boasted a seven-acre park, tennis court, swimming pool, paddocks and two Tudor barns among its assets.
- Chipperfield featured in three episodes of ITV drama series Midsomer Murders, while Holy Cross Church in Sarratt was used in British rom-com Four Weddings and a Funeral.
This sporting life.
To get involved with the two football clubs in the area go to: flaunden.com/flaunden-football-club or pitchero.com/clubs/chipperfieldcorinthians.
For Chipperfield Cricket Club, go to chipperfieldclarendoncc.co.uk