The countryside encountered on these walks forms a patchwork of open chalk grassland, broadleaved woodland and farmland. Below the downs, chalk streams flow from the springline and support a diversity of plant and animal life; some of these streams, known as winterbournes, are seasonal and only appear during the wetter winter months. The richly wooded character of the Chiltern Hills distinguishes them from other, commonly more open, chalk landscapes such as the Lambourn Downs. Many of these woodlands are termed as ancient woodlands, defined as being continuously wooded since at least 1600. These areas tend to support a greater number of species and their character often closely reflects the underlying soil conditions, producing a wide range of woodland types and wildlife habitats.
The walks take you through two contrasting Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB): the Chilterns offers rolling chalk hills, swathed in beech woods, quiet valleys and picturesque villages with characteristic brick and flint cottages; and the North Wessex Downs offering a less wooded scenery encompassing large areas of typical chalk downland with wide-open views.