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.
26th January A break from my current obsession. This time a walk that includes a windmill and a canal...you can't go wrong with a walk that includes them both! It's barely light as we park up near the Pitstone Windmill and head across the fields, through Pitstone and down to the Grand Union Canal at Great Seabrook. The great thing about starting this early is that the paths are empty...this time we're missing the canal cyclists...in the way you miss a hole in the head.
13th January This goes down in family history as 'Not one of your better walks!' Sue has years of teaching experience on which to drawn when summing up disappointment...and this was her damning conclusion to this afternoon's walk. To be fair, it's hard to argue.
30th December As we walk down to the Thames there are views across to the Berkshire Downs in the distance and memories of Susan the Unready. South Stoke is a quiet village except for the trains heading west that thunder though at regular intervals, even on the penultimate day of the year. The Thames footpath takes us north passed Moulsford School on the other bank and once again old memories are evoked.
9th December An early start yesterday, a late start today. After the early church service we're parking up on Chorleywood Common by mid-day. Rain is in the forecast for tomorrow so today the priority is to make the best of it...and, when the sun's out like it is, that's no chore. The football pitches next to Chorleywood House are heaving with energy and the air is full of 'football dads' barking orders to 'Close him down' and 'Get rid'. Leaving them behind we drop down into the Chess Valley. Here the tranquility is broken only by the occasional dog walker. For a while we're retracing yesterday's route (well, in reverse) and we have the place to ourselves. More shouting as we pass the ford near Valley Farm. Someone's been exercising a falcon, of all things, and the bird is sitting up in a tree by The Chess, enjoying the sun. The encouraging whistles and accompanying curses seem to be having little effect. We leave them to it.