Settle into the historical centre of a stunning English valley retreat.

Up until the end of the Second World War, Maple Cross consisted of not much more than a single pub, blacksmith’s shop and a handful of cottages. The placid village was really more of a hamlet then; trapped in time and somewhat isolated through dint of it’s remote location in the Colne Valley Regional Park, this was all to change with the construction of some 800 government funded homes, intended to house a portion of the thousands of Londoners that had been rendered homeless after the destruction of the Blitz.

Only two historical buildings remain in the village, the 17th Century Cross Inn was converted into flats but remains outwardly the same and a traditionally made barn exists on the outskirts of the village. Although hardly what you would call a tourist village, Maple Cross nonetheless has enough spare rooms to keep a couple or lone traveller comfortable for a few nights.

Where to Walk

One of the benefits of staying in Maple Cross is the location. Right in the middle of the Colne Valley Regional Park, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes hikes, whether you fancy a peaceful stroll through quaint villages and hamlets, or a more robust walk past the myriad of rivers and lakes that dot the Park. This site collects together a number of charming circular walks that will keep you busy for a few days at the very least.

Where to Stay

Being as small as it is there are only a small handful of places that you can stay in Maple Cross itself. The best night’s sleep that you’ll be able to find in the area will most likely be at pubs or inns – with that being said, it’s never a bad idea to take a quick look at Airbnb to see if there happens to be a room going spare when you visit. Book in advance and you’ll be able to stay at one of many idyllically situated country pubs. Well-established pubs such as The Oaks, a well-kept traditionally planned public house, or the Dumb Bell, not only offer rooms but also have evening regular evening entertainment on for locals and visitors alike.

Where to Eat

Although you’ll want to spend the majority of your time exploring the area, it’s worth portioning out some time to check out the excellent gastro-pubs and country style restaurants that are spotted around the Cole Valley Park. Highlights include the popular Coy Carp in Harefield, microbrewery The Fat Cow and authentic Thai Restaurant, Sukanya Thai in Denham Green.

What to Do

If you grow a little weary from hiking and are looking for a more cultural diversion then the Chiltern Open Air Museum is a great choice for History buffs or active kids. Offering a completely unique look at the historical landscape of the Chilterns area, the Open Air Museum is home to over 30 ‘rescued’ buildings. When a local historical building is in danger of being demolished, this organisation finds a way of taking them apart an reconstructing them for the public to enjoy. Regular events take place at the Musuem, so it’s always best to take a look at their website first before planning a visit.

Maple Cross: The Heart of the Colne Valley