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 The northward march of Roman legions have long been replaced by an on-rushing stream of juggernauts and white vans.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.
16th February We've had a series of Bedfordshire walks over the last few weeks and it was high time we did a quintessentially Chiltern walk...and this was going to be it....except that the muppet who arranges the weekly walks forgot to load up the coordinates on the GPS before leaving...and I only discover this as we're getting ready to walk out of Rotherfield Peppard.
9th February To tell the truth, I'm still smarting from the 'Not one of your better walks' put down of a few weeks ago! It's Bedfordshire, for goodness sake! What did you expect? This week we're in Hertfordshire...just...completing the Nickey Line from Redbourn as far as Hemel Hempstead before heading north towards Gaddesden Row and then picking our way through the lanes and bridleways back to Redbourn.
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.