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.
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.
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.
1st January Start the year as you mean to go on! We're up while the rest of the world is still asleep, recovering from having seen in the New Year. This is more a reflection of our traditional way of seeing in the New Year, fast asleep. It certainly doesn't mean we're able to party hard and still get up early! A couple of dog walkers are the only other people to have made it up this early...and they're missing a good start to the year. The skies start heavy and grey but within 30 minutes the sun starts to break through and by the time we reach Chalfont St Giles the sky is blue and the fresh breeze carries clouds at breakneck speed across the Misbourne Valley.
24th November Dull and wet! Writing this about a month later, I'm struggling to remember much else about this walk. We were filling in some of the paths between Great Kingshill and Great Missenden and, in the process, linking several sections that we'd previously walked. More of those easily recognised Chiltern dry valleys (if you're interested in the geology it's explained in some detail here) as well as the Misbourne, one of the three Chiltern rivers (Misbourne, Chess and Gade...you tell me if there are more...). It had rained the night before and our walk is punctuated by light drizzle throughout but the walk through Longfield and on to Bryant's Bottomis pleasant enough. At Dennerhill Farm we pass one of those Kevin McCloud 'Grand Designs' barn conversions...I think time is running out for us and we should stop promising each other that one day we'll do something similar!
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.