Circular walk from Cowleaze Wood, near Christmas Common

I feel shattered now – this 12-miler was my first long walk for six weeks, and I’m obviously still suffering the after-effects of the virus. I’ve not felt so tired after a walk for a very long time.

From Cowleaze Wood, just north of Christmas Common, I headed west, soon spotting a treecreeper in the wood. I descended into the Wormsley valley, immediately spotting my first Red Kites of the day (I would see them almost everywhere throughout the rest of the walk). I followed paths and bridleways through the valley, and saw a Muntjac deer as I climbed the steep hillside to Ibstone. There was then a section of a mile or so that was new to me (the rest of the walk I did in the opposite direction a few months ago). I stopped for a photograph of Ibstone Church, which I’d not seen before, and a bit later was delighted to see Wood Anemones in Turville Wood. I passed through Turville Heath, and then followed a bridleway along a wooded valley floor for about two miles to reach Christmas Common.

I followed the Oxfordshire Way long-distance path as it descended the steep northern escarpment of the Chilterns, leaving it to follow the foot of the hills for about a mile. I then had a long ascent (at a reasonable gradient) back to the top of the hills – I saw a pair of Buzzards here, and as I crossed a grassy meadow back to Cowleaze Wood I saw 6-7 Fallow Deer.

I have never seen so many Primroses on any of my walks before. I also saw lots of Lesser Celandine, which reminded me of walks on the Chiltern Way this time last year. There were lots of Violets too, and in places a very few Bluebells were in flower. But the Wood Anemone was the real highlight, as I’d only ever seen it once before.

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