6th May We've parked in front of the village hall at Greys Green and, as we leave the car park, we're clocked by a villager from inside...clearly there's going to be an event today. We make a hasty escape before anyone can catch up with us. Tucked away on the high ground above Henley, this sleepy corner of The Chilterns is largely undisturbed by the 21st Century. Today's walk is mostly a 'walk in the woods' and the first of the year in which Nature has shaken off the last of winter's tentacles. The over-whelming colour is green..bright, luminous, 'hurt-your-eyes' green. Suddenly the beech trees are fully decked and the morning sun dials up the colours to full volume. That said, the northerly wind is intent on reminding us not to get too carried away.
28th April Our annual Bluebell-fest (see here and here). We're at Dockey Wood by 6-45am and we have the place to ourselves, except for two hard-core photographers. It may be my imagination, but I think the display is marginally less spectacular this year. Perhaps the recent hot weather or yesterday's heavy rain and high winds have taken their toll....nevertheless, the colours are still breath-taking. As is traditional, we wander around looking like rank amateurs, taking a few snaps, before leaving the Wood for The Coombe via Ward's Hurst Farm. The smell of the wild garlic is strong as we walk through The Coombe and we have the place to ourselves.
6th April And so the encirclement of Luton is complete! As I type this it occurs to me, that sentence has probably never been used before. To be honest, I'd hoped that last week we'd achieved this but, as I examined our routes, it became clear there was a tiny section across the East Coast railway line that broke my chain of walks. So we're back to finish what we've started. I have planned a walk from Heartwood Forest. It's the start of the bluebell season...at least that's how I explain the walk to Sue.
11th May A short evening walk. In spite of the dull weather, this walk is a pleasant mixture of Hertfordshire woods and fields and takes in Berkhamsted and Northchurch Commons which overlook the Bulborne Valley. We catch fleeting views of the valley through the branches of some of the most gnarly oaks we've seen for a while. The last of the bluebells brighten the darker corners of the woods...by next week the display will be over for another year.
5th May It's probably the last 'Bluebell weekend' of the season...and the best! From Christmas Common the route follows a long, gentle descent through Queen Wood, Fire Wood and Longhill Hanging Wood and there are bluebells aplenty. We have the paths to ourselves and, by the time we reach the bottom of the valley, the air is thick with the scent of bluebells and the sunlight and shadows swirl through the heady mix.
4th May Discovery of the week! If you get home early from work, at the moment there's enough daylight for an evening walk! From Cassiobury Park we cross the Grand Union Canal at Iron Bridge Lock (#77) and head up through Whippendell Woods, Lees Wood and Harrocks Wood...
29th April It's 7-30am on Sunday morning and we're blundering around Crawley Wood, trying to capture the early morning mist and the magical colours. We walk through The Coombe and out of the woods towards Gallows Hill. We said it yesterday but it bears repeating, on a good day the view would be great. A loop back across Ivinghoe Beacon, through the woods and we're back at the car before we know it, a short 3.4 mile walk.
28th April This is a walk of two halves. The first through a succession of Buckinghamshire Chiltern woods, Crowell Wood, Venus Woods, Sunley Wood and Chinnor Hill. The second part returns via Lodge Hill, the Bledlow Ridge valley and Radnage. On a better day the views would be great but alas, not today!