The 5 most Instagrammable places in the Chilterns

Chilterns beautiful places (2)

Come on a virtual tour with talented, local photographer, Graham Custance who will show you the 5 most Instagrammable places in the Chilterns. The Chilterns are an official AONB: area of natural beauty. Currently there are 46 of these in the United Kingdom.

About the article:

There are few people who will know an area, its landscape and changes throughout the seasons, as intimately as a local creative, like a photographer, artist or writer. Graham's special bond with the Chilterns bounces back at the viewer from each of his photos. What better way to discover these natural beauty spots of the Chilterns!

Chilterns places to go bluebell woods_2018_12

Bluebell Woods December 2019

About this photo:

One of my favourite photos that I have ever taken. Words are not needed here to understand how I felt when presented with this beautiful picture in front of my eyes of nature at its very best. I just had to point the camera in the right direction.

Where are the Chilterns?

Located around 37 miles from London, the Chilterns cover an area of around 324 miles squared, over the counties of Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Bedfordshire.

Read more

How were the Chilterns formed?

Over the 4,540 millions of years of the Earth's life, oceans and lands have been formed, where life evolved ranging from giant dinosaurs to single cell organisms. If we go back to the end of the Jurassic period, the Chilterns were actually located where Tunisia in North Africa is today.

At that time the area was flooded by a sup-tropical sea, that was full of life. Then 145 million years ago, chalk rock began to form. Around 65 million years ago, these soft rocks began compressing and uplifting under massive tectonic forces. Emerging from the sea, the rocks were eroded and gradually formed the rolling landscape that makes up the Chilterns today.

Read more

1. Ashridge Estate: remarkable natural beauty, rolling chalk downlands, ancient trees and lush meadows
where to go chilterns ashridge gold

Ashbridge Gold

About this photo:

Ashridge is renowned for its glorious trees and the colours are so beautiful during autumn. I tend to get lost in the woods and try to find some unique picturesque scenes.

About the area:

Comprising of around 5000 acres of forests, the Ashridge Estate is a former country estate that is now owned by the National Trust. Its varied landscapes morph into different scenes as the seasons change.

In autumn, the fallow deer can be spotted and in the summer light on long days that seem to go on forever, the estate is home to rare, beautiful butterflies.

Springtime sees a majestic carpet of bluebells spreading out under your feet!! "Tread softly because you tread on my dreams." W.B. Yeats

As you can imagine, this area is not only asking to be Instagrammed but is also a wonderland for walkers and cyclists. There are a number of cycling routes, plus there is a visitor centre that has both a cafe and shop. Throughout the year there are programmes of events and guided walks.

chilterns most instagrammable places-dockey woods ashridge

Dockey Woods

About this photo:

These bluebell woods are at Ashridge and are a National Trust property. Springtime is probably my favourite time of year and the bluebells are quite magnificent. You have to be there at dawn to capture these shots, with the low light coming through the trees. This location is so popular now and it gets extremely busy here, so beat the crowds and make a breathtaking memory when you witness nature at its best.

2. Ivinghoe Beacon: spectacular, far reaching views and dramatic contrasting geologies
instagrammable chilterns beacon snow

beacon snow

About this photo:

Taken on Boxing Day at Ivinghoe Beacon a couple of years ago, the sunrise turned the sky pink and I know this gated scene well, so I headed here through the snow. As with a lot of my photos, I am normally the only person there at that time of the morning, which makes it even more magical, even though it's hard to get out of bed early.

About the area:

Featured by the Telegraph newspaper in their top 25 winter walks, Ivinghoe Beacon is no stranger to being a favourite walkers' destination. Our ancestors walked the chalk there back in the Iron Age.

From the highest vantage point, perched at the edge of the Chiltern Hills, one is treated to the perfect view of rolling slopes and the Vale of Aylesbury's flat expanse. Witness the dramatic difference of two contrasting types of geologies: the chalky Chilterns and the clay Vale. Back in the Iron Age, a fort existed there. The far reaching views are spectacular.

ivinghoe beacon winter

ivinghoe beacon winter

About this photo:

The landscape becomes transformed here in winter and it makes for a great walk in the snow.

beacon sunrise

beacon sunrise

About this photo:

I love the silhouettes of the trees on the incline to Ivinghoe Beacon at sunrise. I had set my tripod up in a lay-by at the bottom of the Beacon and waited patiently for the first early morning light to appear over the top.

where to go Chilterns ivinghoe beacon sunrise

ivinghoe beacon sunrise

About this photo:

Early morning again, the best time of the day as the sun breaks over the horizon with Whipsnade Zoo in the background.

chilterns places to go beacon sunrise_2

Beacon Sunrise

About this photo:

One of my favourite locations at Ivinghoe Beacon. Taken just a few feet away from the National Trust car park at the top of Ivinghoe Beacon, with gorgeous colours in the sky.

ivinghoe beacon sunrise

ivinghoe beacon sunrise

About this photo:

Taken at the same location, with the early morning light illuminating the countryside.

ivinghoe beacon rapeseed

ivinghoe beacon rapeseed

About this photo:

We get quite a lot of rapeseed fields in the Chilterns and this one made a lovely lead in to the Beacon in the background.

lone tree yellow

lone tree yellow

About this photo:

Taken at the foot of Ivinghoe Beacon in the pretty village of Edelsborough. I had passed this scene as I drove through the Chilterns, as I do all the time trying to find new locations to photograph. This field has not had rapeseed in it since but I'm hoping for a return visit in the not too distant future.

3. Dunstable Downs: outstanding natural beauty, chalk grasslands, ancient history & great for flying kites
Chilterns instagrammable places to visit dunstable downs snow

dunstable downs snow

About this photo:

I only live a couple of miles from this location and it is transformed in winter when it snows. Soft, misty diffused light makes for a stunning picture.

About the area:

Incredible views and scenery can be found here at Dunstable Downs; the highest vantage point in England's East. Walk its chalk grasslands as you make your way to its well known viewpoints at the Chilterns' ridge. Choices for walks are wonderful with miles of foot paths, as well as circular routes. For those of you who would like to delve deeper into the area's animals, plants and history, then head off on the National Trust's specially developed route: the Five Knolls Wildlife and Heritage walk.

Chilterns places to go Dunstable Downs sunset_3

Dunstable Downs sunset

About this photo:

The view from the Downs faces west, so you can capture some quite incredible scenes as the sun goes down. This lone tree makes for an interesting composition.

Chilterns what to do-dunstable downs sunset_6

dunstable downs sunset

About this photo:

Because I know this area so well, I know where to crouch down behind some wild flowers to add some foreground interest during sunset. There was such a beautiful sky that evening.

dunstable downs sunset

dunstable downs sunset

About this photo:

I often sit on this hill just to watch the sun go down, overlooking the Chilterns. The London Gliding Club is at the bottom of the hill.

4. Sharpenhoe Clappers: ancient woodland, Iron Age fort, great views and a medieval rabbit warren
About the area:

This National Trust ancient woodland in the Chilterns is another amazing spot to take Instagrammable photos. With fantastic views, the area was once home to an Iron Age fort, as well as a medieval rabbit warren.

About this photo:
sharpenhoe trees

sharpenhoe trees

The ancient woodland at Sharpenhoe Clappers. These trees looked so splendid as they bowed in front of me forming a natural archway to walk through.

places to go in the Chilterns-sharpenhoe wild carrot

sharpenhoe wild carrot

About this photo:

I took this picture last summer and it's a memorable one because I had saved hard to purchase a new camera (my Nikon D810) and it was one of the first that I took with it and I am really proud of it. I love the soft focus and muted colours.

5. Tring Reservoirs
where to go in the Chilterns-tring reservoir sunset

tring reservoir sunset

About this photo:

Bordering Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, Tring Reservoirs and the Grand Union Canal are so beautiful to photograph. I stood in this spot for about 40 minutes waiting for the light to backlight the reeds in the foreground.

tring reservoirs sunset

tring reservoirs sunset

About this photo:

Taken in the same location as the first sunset above, again I looked for some trees to give me frame to showcase the beautiful sunset that I was witnessing.

About the area:

Although the Tring Reservoirs were originally constructed to service the canal system, this spot has become one of southern England's favourite bird watching areas.

The Pitstone Windmill is a rare example of an early for of the post mill. It is Grade II* listed and beautifully restored. Inside the oldest inscription on woodwork is dated 1627, although it it suspected that the mill was built even earlier than this.

places to go Chilterns pitstone windmill snow

pitstone windmill snow

About this photo:

With the bluebells, Pitstone Windmill (reputedly the oldest windmill in the UK), is one of my favourite locations. It stands proudly in the middle of a field with a path leading up to it. I often think of the tales that this old windmill could tell. It is never more breathtaking than at sunset during winter.

The Chilterns places to see PItstone Windmill summer

PItstone Windmill summer

About this photo:

A summer's evening at Pitstone Windmill, it's great to photograph this windmill in the various seasons, each one unique in its own way. I want to capture some hay bails this year, so I will have to keep visiting on a daily basis because they are rounded up so quickly that I have missed it over the last few years.

About this photo:

The lock keepers cottage on the bend of the Grand Union Canal near Marsworth at Tring Reservoirs. I love this little cottage and it sits perfectly on the bend of the water next to one of the many locks.

beautiful places in the chilterns autumn canal

I hope you enjoyed my perspective on these areas of natural beauty in the Chilterns!

Placeholder

Graham Custance

Travel Photographer & Blogger

I never really appreciated the beauty of nature until I became a photographer, but now I notice it everywhere. I was born a few miles away in Luton, but have been living in the Chilterns since 1991: an area that is both my home and my muse.

Through my work I try and bring this beauty to the eyes of others, hopefully inspiring them to get out in the Chilterns and appreciate what a beautifully stunning area it is.

Through studying the work of other photographers who have inspired me, I have tried to develop a unique style of my own. An approach that helps me connect with each location I visit and photograph.

I love soft pastel colours, subdued light, sunsets, dramatic skies and unique angles to give a different perspective to the viewer.

Favourite time of day: My favourite time of the day is always sunrise, when the air is fresh and clean, the birds are singing and I am at one with nature.

Motto: My favourite motto is ‘the camera looks both ways’ meaning that my pictures are a reflection of my own thoughts and how I am feeling in that moment.

Website:
www.grahamcustance.com/

   


Placeholder

More features

By Graham Custance

Coming soon…..
Bookmark our blog and come back soon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.