Chiltern Hills

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Geography of Great Britain

 Chiltern Hills near Nettlebed
Chiltern Hills near Nettlebed

The Chiltern Hills are a chalk escarpment in England that stretches in a south-west to north-east diagonal from Goring-On-Thames in Oxfordshire through Buckinghamshire to Dunstable in Bedfordshire. They are known locally as "the Chilterns", with the adjectival form of "Chiltern". The ridge overlooks the Vale of Aylesbury, and approximately coincides with the southernmost extent of the ice sheet during the last ice age. The Chilterns are part of the Southern England Chalk Formation which also includes Salisbury Plain, Cranborne Chase, the Isle of Wight and the South Downs.

Their highest point — 267  m (876  ft) — is at Haddington Hill in Wendover Woods, Buckinghamshire, near Wendover; a stone marks the summit. A prominent hill is the nearby Ivinghoe Beacon, standing 249m (817ft) above sea level, the starting point of the Icknield Way and The Ridgeway long distance path, which follows the line of the Chilterns for many miles to the west, where they merge with the Wiltshire downs and southern Cotswolds. To the east of Ivinghoe Beacon is Dunstable Downs, a steep section of the Chiltern scarp that is the site of the famous London Gliding Club and Whipsnade Zoo. Near Wendover is Combe Hill which is 260 m (853 ft) above sea level.

The more gently sloping country - the dip slope - to the south-east of the Chiltern scarp is also generally referred to as The Chilterns, containing much beech woodland and many pretty villages. Due to the quality hardwood, the area was once renowned for its chair making industry, centred on the towns of Chesham and High Wycombe.

For planning purposes a large portion is designated officially as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Administratively the central area of the Bucks Chilterns comes under Chiltern District Council.

This area is also known as the Chiltern Hundreds, an administrative area of convenience used to subvert an archaic rule, which permits a Member of Parliament, who is not allowed to resign, to apply for tenureship of the Chiltern Hundreds, thus relieving him of his parliamentary duty.

Rivers that drain from the Chiltern Hills include the River Lee, River Ver, River Bulbourne, River Misbourne, River Chess, River Wye and River Gade and are classified as chalk streams.

List of notable towns and villages in, or adjacent to, the Chilterns

  • Aldbury, Amersham, Apsley, Ashridge
  • Beaconsfield, Berkhamsted, Bledlow Ridge, Bovingdon, Bradenham
  • Chalfont St Giles, Chesham, Chinnor, Cholesbury
  • Dunstable
  • Edlesborough, Ellesborough
  • Fingest, Frieth
  • Goring-On-Thames, Great Missenden, Great Hampden
  • Halton, Hambleden, Hawridge, Hemel Hempstead, Henley-on-Thames, High Wycombe, Hughenden
  • Jordans
  • Ley Hill, Little Missenden, Luton
  • Naphill, Nettlebed
  • Pishill, Princes Risborough, Prestwood, Reading
  • Skirmett, Stokenchurch, Stonor, Studham
  • Tring, Turville
  • Watlington, Wendover, West Wycombe, Whipsnade

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