The old Saxon word for chalk is chilt. It is therefore
no surprise that the range of chalk hills that
flanks the Thames Valley and forms a natural
barrier to the north west of London is called the
Chilterns. The Chiltern Hills are an exceptional
area of England and wherever you visit you will
find rolling hills, wooded valleys and beautiful brick and flint villages.
The Chilterns have a rich history, with evidence
of Neolithic Man, Roman occupation and a
prosperous medieval economy based on wool.
From the eighteenth century, the area’s proximity
to London made it a favoured location for the
country estates of the rich, and more recently for
the home-base of city commuters.
Being close to
the capital, it is now also a very popular setting
for films and television, including Midsomer
Murders and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Although this accessibility has brought with it
significant pressures, the Chilterns still offer great
opportunities to explore a quintessentially English
landscape. Once away from the motorways and
major roads, the red kites foretell a quieter pace
of life with small lanes bordered by deep beech
hedges, wonderful woods and beautiful villages,
most with a pub and a church. It is quite possible
to just meander off the beaten track and to
stumble across country houses and sudden views
across the valleys.
Jon Scourse offers an authoritative view of this
precious landscape, heavily illustrated with more
than 200 colour photographs specially taken for
this book. Although convenient, the car is not
always the best way to explore. Far more can be
seen by going slowly, by bike or on foot and Jon
Scourse offers suggested routes so that the
reader can use this book as the ideal on-theground
guide or just as the perfect armchair
memento of England at its best.
Jon Scourse lives close to the River
Thames near Wallingford, with easy
access into the nearby Chiltern Hills.
As a keen walker, he developed a
strong interest in landscape photography
and this is reflected in his work,
especially of the changing seasons.
His photography has included work in
Tuscany, Brittany , Exmoor and the
Scilly Isles, but his primary interest is
the Chilterns and Thames Valley.
Jon started his career in the shoe
industry before spending twenty years
in the charity sector. In addition to his
landscape photography, he continues
to work as a consultant within the
charity sector and is also the
Chairman of The Mitchemp Trust and
a Trustee at the Trust for Oxfordshire
Imprint: Halsgrove. ISBN 978 0 85704 195 1, hardback, 214x230mm, 144 pages. Published June 2013.