20th April Easter Saturday and we're out before most of the world is awake. As we wander through Park Wood, behind Nuffield Place, the milky light through the trees combined with the lilac carpet of bluebells is a magical experience. It's worth getting up early for this! We turn south and head for Ipsden Heath. It's hard to find paths around here that we've not walked but it's no less agreeable for that. The sun is warm and the early morning peace is thoroughly enjoyable. This is better than working, any day!
18th April Sun's out, go for a walk...easy decision! But where? There's not much of the Chilterns that we've missed. We opt for Great Missenden and a walk that takes in the Chiltern woods. You'd hardly notice it as you walk through but Angling Spring Wood has quite a following. Roald Dahl used to live close by, at Gipsy Cottage, and for all you aficionados, this is where Danny's dad gets trapped trying to poach pheasants belonging to Mr Hazell. No sign of Danny or his dad this morning but the bluebells are starting to appear.
13th April It sits at the top of the Ipsden valley, hidden from most of the world...but up here, amongst the tranquility of this gentle Chiltern valley, it raises two fingers to the everyone else. It is a matter of record that, when Rowan Atkinson applied for permission to build his dream house, it wasn't popular with the locals. As the planning application was disputed, it was variously described as 'inappropriate', 'a sore thumb', and a 'space age petrol station'. Stumbling upon it during our walk today, we had to agree, they were right! Because you have lots of money it doesn't guarantee good taste. The building jars with the surrounding countryside...at least it is hidden enough not to spoil the view for too many people.
30th March At last we choose the correct day to go for a walk. Saturday turns out to be beautiful! Today, walking Tottenhoe's green lanes is an opportunity to leave it all behind and just enjoy the moment. We leave the lanes as we cross the A5 and we're out onto the Bedfordshire flatlands. Here, only a couple of weeks ago, we disturbed boxing hares. No sign of them today. We skirt Tebworth and, at Hockliffe, cross Watling Street. The northward march of Roman legions have long been replaced by an on-rushing stream of juggernauts and white vans. Getting across we take our lives in our hands...but survive!
23rd March Search as hard as you like, it's difficult to find anything of note to say about this part of Bedfordshire...Barton-le-Clay, Hexton, Higham Gobion, Wrest Park, Silsoe and Pulloxhill should all be names to conjure a multitude of interesting stories...but nothing! Literally nothing! Perhaps the landscape has inadvertently influenced the attitudes of those who've lived around here. People around here prefer to blend in than stand out...and there's nothing wrong with that, I'd like to add!
16th March It's that time of year when, once again, I find I'm younger than I thought I was...for most a good experience...however it does mean retiring, and doing what I really want to do, is further away than I'd hoped...that thought always spoils the day. To overcome the disappointment we select another walk in our slow encirclement of Luton. The first part of our walk reprises the previous Toddington 'not one of your better walks' route, before emerging the other side of Toddington into Alma Farm.
9th March So this walk completes the Aylesbury Canal...which we'd started over a year ago. The canal itself was started well over 200 years ago...and never finished. The intention had been to drive a canal as far as the Thames to the south and, via the Kennet & Avon canal and the Thames, link Bristol and the West with the Grand Union Canal. Money ran out, railways arrived and, instead, the canal finishes in Aylesbury...an 18th Century equivalent of buying a 3D TV and finding the world had move on to 4K TV. However, today the Aylesbury Canal is a pleasant walk in early spring.
2nd March This always seems like the most 'tucked away' part of the Chilterns...perhaps because it takes us so long to get here. Anyway, walking around here is always good and today was no exception. It's been a while since we walked any hills...Bedfordshire and North Hertfordshire are both flat...and to tell the truth, it was a struggle in places. Nevertheless its good to get back to walking in the woods and the outward stretch is pretty much all woods. It's great to watch the seasons tick by and today it certainly feels like spring is just around the corner.
23rd February A resumption of my 'Luton' obsession. Since September we've been walking our way around Luton. There's not much to see in Bedfordshire so it's my way to make it interesting. We're up and out early. Indeed the first part of the walk is in the early morning gloom which is enjoyably atmospheric today. Starting from the village green at Toddington we splash our way west, across muddy fields still shrouded in mist. Our only company on the paths are lycra-clad runners. Milton Bryan is slumbering quietly as we trudge through. Its hard to believe this quiet Bedfordshire village was once the home to WW2 black ops! Hidden away here, in the heart of rural England, Churchill established a propaganda radio station that encouraged German soldiers to surrender, shared misleading instructions with civilians and played Jewish music that Mr Goebbels couldn't stand.
17th February Probably the first spring-like walk of the year and Hannah's joined us. Some mix-up over ordering a new printer and she's back to collect. Whatever the reason, any weekend either of them are back is special...and at last we pick the sunny day to go for a walk. Not that the first part of the walk goes to plan. I'd hoped to be able to walk through the grounds of Taplow Court but we're accosted just inside the gate and directed back to the road.