The full range of greens are the dominant colour at the moment and the views picture postcard perfect for the Chilterns. This walk was hard work! Perhaps it's the muggy weather, certainly there are more hills than we've had for a while but from 4 miles in we were checking how far to the end. This week we're filling in the top end of the Hambleden Valley, walking from Hell Fire Caves, passed West Wycombe House and crossing the M40 at Wheeler End.
A walk through an ancient landscape on less permanent footpaths! The 8-30am sunshine is perfect and there are panoramic views north from the fort. This is an ancient landscape and from The Ridgeway we catch glimpses of Silbury Hill and Avebury in the distance.
A Sunday afternoon walk near Stokenchurch. We park on the green by the Fleur de Lis pub before walking north out of the village onto the Chiltern Way and Collier's Lane. About 300 hundred years ago Collier's Lane was the main road to London. Difficult to imagine now. This afternoon the only noise in the valley is the high-pitched mewing of circling Red Kites.
An afternoon stroll through the 'tucked away' Chilterns. Hawridge & Cholesbury Cricket records suggest a certain Sarfraz Narwaz plays for the local cricket team! Judging by the recorded scores this is not the swash-buckling former Pakistan captain...although to be fair, he'd be quite old now...so who knows! Anyway, we're back for a Saturday afternoon walk around the shallow valleys near Chesham. Most of our walk is along wooded bridleways and this is probably the first time this year it's felt like Spring has arrived fully. Two hundred years ago the beech woods around here provided the base material for a burgeoning chair-making industry in High Wycombe. Today they just provide the backdrop to a not-too strenuous afternoon walk.
A walk from Wendover Woods via Buckland Common. Chiltern woods, bluebells and an opportunity to reflect. "You know that feeling when you mind goes blank as you walk...?" My question seems to cut in on whatever Sue was thinking...she's there too! Sometimes it's great to get out on the hills, forget the week, observe nature and let your mind just free-wheel. It's been a busy week, we've a lot to talk about between periods of quiet and this is a perfect place to do it.
A walk that takes in two of the great panoramic views from the Chilterns, both also just a short walk from local car parks. It turns out that the principle of delayed gratification is over-rated! There are two great views on this walk. One from Coombe Hill and one from Whiteleaf Hill. We had a long walk planned and the weather was supposed to get better by mid-day. I intended to keep the views for the second half of the walk. Of course, doing this means the climbs are left to the end...
Back to Tring. We seem to have walked around here a lot...1, 2, 3...but this walk joins up sections of these walks with stretches we've not walked. Parking in Wigginton, we drop down from the Ridgeway into Tring Park and stumble into the Saturday morning park run...all very well organized with marshals in fluorescent jackets and routes pegged out with plastic flags. Our walk will be an altogether less well-planned affair!
A Chilterns highlight-the Spring bluebells at Dockey Wood, Ashridge Estate. We got up early Sunday morning to catch the sun rise and the bluebells before church...and frankly, it was worth the effort! As we arrive at Dockey Wood it's clear we're not the only people with this idea, the car park by the Wood is almost full and it's 7-30am.
There really is not much to say about this walk. No real views. The walking is easy and without stiles and the weather surprisingly cold compared to only a few days earlier. We're back by 1-30pm, opting to eat at home rather than at the Cafe in the Woods, which looked horribly overcrowded.
It's a special feeling knowing that you're enjoying yourself while everyone else has to work. I imagine this is what it feels like to be retired! The footpaths are quiet and there are times when birdsong is all we can hear, including the mewing of Red Kites. The good weather has them out in numbers, wheeling and swooping over the Ridgeway.