28th July Circular walk from Granborough via North Marston & Quainton
28th July My favourite walk for a while! Quiet Bedfordshire lanes, long views of The Chilterns, well-spaced villages for refreshments and the faded grandeur of a country estate...and no hills to speak of. It's slightly cooler today and cotton wool clouds make a beautiful back drop to this walk.
21st July An 8.1 mile ramble through Burnham Beeches and Egypt Woods before a return across Farnham Common. Sandwiched between the M4, M40 and M25 these woods are an oasis of wooded calm. There have been woods here stretching back to the last Ice Age and they're surely worth preserving. So much so that 138 year's ago the City of London Corporation bought them to prevent local developers from building houses on them...a rather enlightened approach for 1880.
14th July We're out early. It rained last night but the hot weather is forecast to return so we're planning to be back before its too warm. A short walk from Penn Street, though Penn Woods and Common Woods, before returning to Penn Street by way of Winchmore Hill. Uneventful...and we did manage to avoid the heat of the day. I'm sure Penn Street has more to commend it...it's just that we didn't find it! Someone, please, correct my misconception. A pleasant 6.1mile morning walk.
15th July In which we discover a 'killer herd' in Ickenham! An unremarkable walk until we reach Harvil Farm. We park in Bayhurst Woods and walk north west through Harefield before joining the Grand Union Canal at Broadwater Lock. Turning south, the long walk along the canal as far as Denham Country Park is easy and the towpath empty...everyone's watching the World Cup Final. We feel smug as we cross Uxbridge Golf Course, we overtake a couple on mountain bikes...the heat is too much for at least one of them and today walking is quicker! At Harvil Road we pause for photos...today we can see as far as Central London. In the next field things take an exciting turn.
7th July An easy, early evening walk. Hannah joins us for this reprise of our visit to Ruislip Woods. This time we loop through Mad Bess (some interesting speculation about the origins of the name) and Bayhurst Woods before ending up crossing Newyears Green Lane. By the time we approach the outskirts of Ruislip the sun is dipping below the horizon and the warm sunset is some compensation for the previous unpleasant smell. An overall enjoyable, short 4.9 mile walk.
1st July Today's walk starts in Beaconsfield, famous for its model village (warning, model train geeks only!) and not much more. By the time we reach Chalfont St Giles, and Milton's cottage, refreshments are badly needed. We stop off briefly for a ice cream. The return takes us by way of The River Misbourne, Jordans and Sear Green. At Sear Green we join Longbottom Lane back to Beaconsfield.
Hurley stirs old memories of other's generosity. 40 years ago our boys' club leader had a motor launch moored here. Back then he used to take us on trips along the Thames. Altogether more innocent days! As we park up in Hurley it seems not much has changed in the intervening years. There are many more threatening 'No Parking' notices but the village shop and church look like they've been stuck in a time capsule. However the 21st Century comes crashing in as we walk west along the River...they're charging £3 per head for a picnic in the Riverside Park! Taking care not to inadvertently unpack food or drink, we press on as far as Culham Court.
St Albans is awkwardly sandwiched between the M25, M1, Luton Airport and rail connections north...and yet it's still possible to leave it all behind. This is an easy walk along quiet lanes, crossing three secluded country estates...and all within a couple of miles of the busiest motorways in Europe
This is 'Bunyan country'. John Bunyan certainly got about a bit when he wasn't in Bedford jail. Almost all our paths are marked as 'John Bunyan heritage trail'. The views from the Sundon Hills and Sharpenhoe Clappers have probably changed quite a bit since he was here. Huge fields of wheat and barley are the order of the day today. At least this part of the walk is in and out of beech woods.