Archive for July, 2008


Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

This is a walk I did yesterday (Monday 29/07/08). At about 17.5 miles it is the longest walk I’ve done for about a year or so. Here is a Google Map of the walk :-

Through looking at my local maps, I have long known that there is a bridleway running for about 2.5 miles south-west from Edlesborough to Ivinghoe, parallel to the escarpment of the Chiltern Hills which lies about a mile to the east. I thought this could make an interesting section of a walk, and finally about two weeks ago I got round to working out a circular route from Kensworth that included that bridleway.

It was quite cool and very grey as I left home about 9.35am, turning right along the extension of Common Road, Kensworth, and taking the footpath on the right just beyond the small industrial estate. This soon joined a farm track running down into a valley. At the bottom of the slope, I turned left and crossed two meadows to a kissing-gate. Thus far I’d reveresed the end of my previous walk, but now I turned left, following a path through a wood and then beside a hedgerow, curving round to the right as it climbed back up the hillside I’d just come down. I continued on the path, as it passed close to Kensworth Quarry on my right, and then took the short path to Dunstable Downs.

I turned right, and walked along the top of the Downs – just before reaching the Five Knolls burial chambers, I glimpsed a weasel running across the path ahead of me. As I started to descend the slope into Dunstable, it started to drizzle and I stopped to put my camera away and to put my raincover on my rucksack. It wasn’t wet enough for me to put my waterproofs on, though. I followed Green Lane from Dunstable towards Totternhoe, going straight on where I usually turn right to Sewell, then turning left at the next track crossroads. I soon turned right into another hedge-lined track, which rose over a small hill. Over the hedge on my right was a steep drop, the sheer face of an old chalk quarry. The track descended the other side of the hill, passed a staggered junction by the car park for the nature reserves at Totternhoe, and continued on towards Totternhoe Knolls. But before reaching the old castle site, I forked left on a path that led downhill, to reach the road through Totternhoe opposite a pub.

I turned left, then took  a footpath on the right. This ran between garden fences and then crossed a small narrow paddock occupied by a single large horse. I crossed a footbridge over a stream, and went half-left along the hedge of a cattle pasture for a few yards. Over a stile, the path continued along the left edge of  a corn field and then went across another field to reach the end of a lane that led into Eaton Bray. I crossed the main road through the village and carried on in roughly the same direction, again along the left edge of  alarge cornfield. I crossed a larger stream and turned left, between the stream and a tall fence. I then went half-right across an area of rough grass, turning right along the hedge on the far side and continuing on a path between hedges. On reaching a lane, I turned left, and followed it to reach a road in Edlesborough. I turned right, and followed the road for about half a mile to a junction by the redundant village church.

I crossed over and took the bridleway opposite – this was the one that I’d seen on the map that had sparked my interest. Sadly, it was a little disappointing – I’d imagined that it would be a nice chalky track but in fact it was hard-surfaced with broken asphalt or tarmac, a wide grey line stretching into the distance with sheep pastures or corn fields either side. Still, it was nice to look up at the steep slope of the Chilterns to my left, with Ivinghoe Beacon a prominent feature ahead of me. To me right, the Vale of Aylesbury stretched away, not entirely flat but with little more than a few gentle undulations.

I trudged on along the grey track – it descended very gently then went up equally gently over a very long distance. After a mile and a half I crossed a road on the edge of Ivinghoe Aston (to my right) – the fingerpost here reminded me that I was also crossing the line of the Two Ridges Link, which I walked almost three years ago. The bridleway continued along a tarmac farm drive, but soon forked left onto a narrow path between hedges. There was evidence that this had been surfaced too , but some time  ago as enough mud had encroached onto the path to make it a softer surface to walk on than the broken tarmac. The hedges either side really prevented me from getting any views here, except when I passed gateways into fields. I did pass through a small section of beech trees, which was a nice change, and further on I could tell there was a golf course on my right.

The bridleway finally emerged at the end of a street in Ivinghoe. At the other end of the street I turned left, and went left again when I reached the main road through the village – it was some time since I’d been here, and I’d forgotten how attractive a village Ivinghoe is. I followed the road out of the village. Just beyond a road junction (part of my driving route to Tring, Wendover and most of the Chilterns), I turned left onto a footpath. This initially ran between hedges or fences, then continued along the edge of a corn field, with a pasture beyond the hedge on my left. The path was very gradually going uphill, and continued to do so as the corn field was replaced by a meadow of long grass. The hedge finally ended, and the path continued its gradual ascent across the meadow.

There were great views here, with Ivinghoe Beacon, Steps Hill and the deep cleft of Incombe Hole to my left, and Pitstone Hill ahead and to my right. These were probably the most impressive views I’ve had of these hills, as I was seeing their full height – even the small hillock between the car park and Pitstone Hill seemed a sizeable hill from this direction! Normally I see the hills as I follow the Ridgeway path between them, but this always stays relatively high – rising slowly from the Vale of Aylesbury, I was now seeing the full height and steepness of the hills.

It was now almost 1pm and I stopped for lunch on a concrete block of some sort by a stile. The path then continued very gradually uphill through a lovely large meadow of tall grass and colourful wild flowers. There was quite a dramatic view of the deep, steep-sided Incombe Hole on my left. I then came to a familiar wooden fingerpost where I crossed the Ridgeway, running from Steps Hill on my left to Pitstone Hill to my right. I went straight on here, the path continuing along the edge of the huge meadow, then rising steadily through scrubby bushes and on into the trees of a narrow part of the Ashridge Estate (this was actually part of the Ashridge Estate Boundary Trail that I walked a week or so ago). I crossed a stile and continued a bit further uphill through the trees, to reach the main path from the Monument to Ivinghoe Beacon.

I turned right, and followed the track, soon passing a kennels on my left. A few hundred yards further, in a nice section of beech trees which sloped steeply down on my right, I turned left onto a crossing footpath. I followed it a short distance through the trees, to reach the road from Ringshall to the Beacon. I crossed over and then walked down the drive to Ward’s Hurst Farm – this is a very familiar place from several walks. I have walked five of the six paths that meetat the farm, and as I walked through the yard I was pleased to see that the one path I’ve yet to walk was clearly signposted here.

Today I carried straight on through the farm yard, joining the route of the Icknield Way. I walked through two sheep pastures, the path gradually descending – I’d forgotten how nice the view ahead to the broad Gade Valley was. Beyond the secon, very large, pasture, I followed a hedgerow a few yards to reach the drive to Hog Hall. This was tarmac, but I’d also forgotten how pleasant it was to march along the drive as it steadily descended into the valley. I heard and then saw a Buzzard over a small wood to my left, while ahead of me I could see the steep slopes of the Chiltern escarpment at Whipsnade Zoo, with Dunstable Downs further to the left. In fact I could see much of the early part of my route today.

When I eventually reached the main road, I turned right into Dagnall. As I went over the crossroads here, it started to drizzle again, but only very lightly and not for very many minutes. Curiously, the day brightened up at the same time, a nice blue patch appearing in what had generally been an overcast sky. I turned left onto a footpath beside the village school, which continued beside a right-hand hedge with some paddocks on my left – I think I saw an Alpaca in one of them. At the end of the path, I turned right onto a lane but soon went left on a footpath. This climbed steadily uphill, with a zoo paddock beyond the hedge on my left and trees and bushes on my right. I’d just stopped for some water when I reached the lane, perhaps that’s why this climb didn’t seem as steep nor as long as usual.

At the top of the slope I emerged from the trees onto Whipsnade Golf Course. I followed the waymarks, soon walking through a narrow belt of trees separating two fairways. When I came to a footpath junction, I had two or three options for getting back to Kensworth. I usually turn left, following the edge of the zoo to Whipsnade and then crossing Whipsnade Heath. For a change, I took the less familiar path straight on. I soon passed the green at the end of the fairway on my right, and went through a hedge gap to leave the golf course. The path crossed a field, and then ran along the right edge of a second field to reach a wood. A short distance into the wood, I turned left to reach another path junction on the edge of the wood. Here I went over a stile to reach n empty pasture, following the fence on my left to reach another stile by Studham church.

I now repeated part of my previous walk, following  the path ahead along the right edge of two fields, then turning left and following another hedgerow to reach the road between Holywell and Studham. I took the path almost opposite, which ran along the edge of a wood and then followed a fence beside a corn field to reach the edge of Holywell. Here the path continued between garden fences on my left and a small wood on the right, which soon gave way to another corn field. I followed the very familiar path as it led on to Buckwood Lane, close to the junction with Dovehouse Lane. I turned down the latter, but after  a quarter of a mile or so I took the path on the left, which crossed a couple of meadows to reach the Whipsnade road, where I turned right to return to Kensworth. It was about 3.25pm when I got home – allowing 10 minutes for lunch, I’d been walking for about 5 hours 40 minutes.

This was a great walk! I regret not taking any photos now – it was so grey and gloomy at the start of the walk I decided not to bother. But I’m sure I’ll do it again sometime on a brighter day, when I will take photos and probably write the walk up on my web site. The bridleway from Edlesborough to Ivinghoe that had aroused my interest turned out to be a little less interesting than I’d imagined, but the path from Ivinghoe was one of the most enjoyable that I have come across in my local area. It was only the middle section of the route that was new to me, from Totternhoe to Ivinghoe and on to the crossing of the Ridgeway.  The rest of the route was very familiar from other walks, but this did not mar the enjoyment of a thoroughly good walk.

Three-hour local walk

Monday, July 28th, 2008

I set off to do another local walk this morning, again with some heavy books adding weight to my rucksack in a bid to get used to carrying a heavier pack. It was a very hot morning, with thunderstorms predicted for the afternoon. I set off before 10am, planning to walk for a couple of hours but in the event it was such a gorgeous morning I couldn’t resist extending the walk to almost three hours.

The first part of the walk was the same as the route I followed on Saturday morning – footpaths to Whipsnade Heath, bridleways to the Downs, down to the bottom of Bison Hill, the steep path up parallel to the road and then a bridleway to the green at Whipsnade. I then varied the route slightly, by following the old lane from Whipsnade to Holywell (closed to traffic for many year now) and then taking the second footpath on the right (just before Holywell). This took me across fields to Studham Church, where I turned left. I followed a hedgerow through two fields, then turned left again to reach the road from Whipsnade Heath to Studham.

I crossed over, and followed the footpath starting on the other side. This ran through the edge of a wood and continued by  a fence through a corn field. It then ran alongside the garden fences of Holywell on my left, with a wood initially on my right. The path led me on to Buckwood Lane, where I crossed over and followed Dovehouse Lane all the way back to Kensworth.

It was such a glorious day and I was feeling so good I really didn’t want to stop, so I tacked on another 40-minutes to the route. I turned left along Common Road, but soon turned right down Malmes Close. I continued on a footpath that followed a hedge beside a huge field of golden corn, descending quite steeply into the valley that runs behind the village of Kensworth (the lane that crosses the valley is steeper than 1-in-7 on both sides!). The path continued across the field as it rose up the opposite slope – steep but not very far. The path then went half-left across another corn field to reach Hollicks Lane.

I turned right (towards Church End) for a short distance, then turned left onto another footpath. This followed a right-hand hedge through another corn field for quite a way, then the path switched to the right of the hedge line at a field corner. I followed the path as it turned right and then left again, following two sides of a wood. I then went through a kissing gate, and started descending back into the valley with Kensworth Quarry on my right.

I went through a kissing-gate on the left, and followed the path through a meadow with the steep slope of Codling Bank  on my left. The path crossed a second meadow, descending to  the valley bottom, where I turned right on to a farm track and followed it steeply up the other side of the valley. Just before the track reached the yard of Green End Farm, I went left on a short path between a fence and a hedge to return to Common Road, Kensworth. I turned left, and followed the road a quarter mile downhill back to my home.

I’m not usually to keen on walking on hot days, but I really enjoyed this walk today. The temperature was forecast to be as high as 29C, but I think it was a few degrees below that. I saw a few Yellowhammers (shame I didn’t take my camera!) and several wildflowers growing beside the field paths, including Scarlet Pimpernel, Redshank and the beautiful Field Pansy (first time I’ve seen it Kensworth!).

Short Local Walk

Saturday, July 26th, 2008

I’ve had a nasty head cold and one or two other minor complaints, so I haven’t walked since Monday.  This morning I just did a two-hour local walk from home. Before setting out I put two heavy books into my rucksack, increasing its weight from 12 to 19lbs. I want to start building up the weight I carry, so that I eventually might be able to do some long-distance paths carrying all my gear. I need to be careful though, as the last thing I want to do is to damage my back again!

I turned right and headed up Common Road. Just past Old Green End farm I turned left onto a footpath. This crossed two fields and entered the woods of Whipsnade Heath. At a path junction I turned right, following the path through the wood and passing an enormous old beech tree. The path turned left by an old iron fence and soon came to the road to Dunstable Downs. I took the bridleway almost opposite – sometimes this can be almost impassably muddy, but after the recent hot and dry weather it was fine today. It ran between hedges for several hundred yards to a junction not far from the Old Hunter’s Lodge in Whipsnade.

I turned right onto another bridleway. This ran past the Sallowspring Caravan Park on my left, then passed through a small area of woodland (where there was a lot of Enchanter’s Nightshade, as there was elsewhere in the wood today) and continued to reach the huge meadow on Whipsnade Downs. I turned right and went through the kissing gate in the corner, then turned left and followed the fence surrounding the meadow downhill. I could hear some singing coming from near the visitor centre on Dunstable Downs to my right – it sounded like African singing.

I turned left and followed the fence along the bottom of the huge meadow, admiring the view out over the Vale of Aylesbury. After a while the path starts to descend gradually, and I followed it all the way to the bottom of Bison Hill. I could have turned left on a crossing path, but wanted to try carrying the heavier weight in my rucksack up the very steep path that is parallel to the road up Bison Hill. Despite the very warm weather today, I had no problems with this short but steep ascent. From near the car park on Bison Hill, I followed another bridleway back to Whipsnade.

I  followed the curving edge of the huge irregular shaped green in Whipsnade alongside the edge of the zoo. I crossed the old lane to Holywell, and continued across the green, heading uphill. I then took the footpath through the churchyard – I toyed with the idea of extending the walk out to Studham and back, but decided I didn’t want to risk hurting my back and stuck to my original plan of only walking for a couple of hours. So I followed the path across two fields, crossed the road to Studham, and followed the path beside another field to reach Holywell.

I turned left along the residential street, and after a couple of hundred yards turned left onto a footpath. This was soon running parallel to Buckwood Lane, with the garden fences of Holywell on my right. After a few hundred yards it joined the lane, and a few yards further on I turned left into Dovehouse Lane. Just for a change, I decided to follow the lane all the way to the other end where it meets Common Road in Kensworth (I usually turn left onto a footpath that links with the Whipsnade Road). I turned left and followed the road back to my home.

This was a very pleasant two-hour walk on a very warm and sunny morning. Surprisingly, the only other people I met where a couple walking there dog on the Downs. My neck and shoulders were a bit stiff when I got home, which was to be expected, but (touch wood!) my back feels OK at the moment.

Ashridge Estate Boundary Trail

Monday, July 21st, 2008

Today I walked the Ashridge Estate Boundary Trail again, a 16-mile circular walk created by the National Trust. There’s a journal for when I did this route two years ago on my website.

It was a really nice day for a walk, bright and sunny with a cool breeze to keep the temperature down. I started walking from near Ringshall about 9.15am and got back to the car about 2.45pm – allowing for a 15-minute stop for lunch, I was walking at almost exactly 3mph.

I saw a Buzzard near Frithsden, and then three Fallow Deer and a male Muntjac Deer along the edge of Berkhamsted Common. Very near the end of the walk, I saw a female Muntjac.  But the highlight was seeing a Hare as I was getting back to Ringshall – I’ve not seen many of these at all this year. There were several different types of butterfly today – Small Skipper, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Red Admiral, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell. There were a lot of wildflowers in the grassy areas around Steps Hill and Ivinghoe Beacon, but otherwise I didn’t notice too many flowers – I spotted Enchanter’s Nightshade in a couple of places, though.

Circular walk from Kensworth

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

Wednesday 16/07/08

I think of this as my ‘Almost everywhere’ walk, as it visits nearly every neighbouring village to Kensworth.

I set off just after 10am, unusually late for a walk from home. I went down Hollicks Lane to Church End, then followed the path round the huge chalk quarry to reach Dunstable Downs. I followed the top of the downs and descended to the edge of Dunstable, before almost turning back on myself and following a path along the foot of the downs for a mile and a half.

I took a steep path up to the car park on Bison Hill, then turned back along the top of Whipsnade Downs as far as a bridleway on the right. I followed this for half a mile, keeping right at a fork, then took a path and another bridleway to Whipsnade. I walked round the edge of the green beside the Zoo, then took the old lane to Holywell. For once I ignored the path going right alongside the zoo fence (though there are a couple of variations on this walk that go that way) and instead took a second path on the right, on the very edge of Holywell. This path took me across fields to Studham Church. I made my way from there to Studham Common, where I stopped on a bench to eat my lunch.

I continued along the top of the common, and made my way through a wood to reach Beechwood Home farm, where I turned left along a gravel drive to reach the end of Roe End Lane. I followed this for a quarter of a mile, before taking a footpath on the left which took me across fields to Buckwood Road on the edge of Markyate. I turned left and went a short distance along the road, then took a path on the left. This followed field edges, and was rather overgrown in places. It then followed the edge of Dedmansey Wood for about half a mile.

I then took a short path through the edge of a wood to Byslips Road, and continued on another path that took me to Holywell, where I turned right and soon reached Buckwood Road again near its junction with Dovehouse Lane. I followed the lane a short way, then took a path on the left that took me to the Whipsnade Road, where I turned right and was soon back at my home in Kensworth.

The walk took about 5.5 hours. It was a grey and overcast day, but it remained dry and was pretty warm. I saw my first Small Tortoiseshell butterflies of the summer, some Pyramidal Orchids and a lot of Enchanter’s Nightshade, a plant I’ve only recently identified.

Alternative Ashridge Walk

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Today I did another of my favourite local walks, my ‘Alternative Ashridge Walk’ – you can see photos from when I did it another time in the ‘Chiltern Hills’ section of my website at

The morning started quite bright, but about 10am (when I’d been walking for half an hour) it clouded over and remained grey and overcast throughout the rest of the walk. It stayed warm though, 19-20C.

I saw a total of six groups of Fallow Deer, two of them in corn fields which was a bit unusual. The fifth group included some bucks with impressive antlers. I also saw a Muntjac deer – it was relatively untroubled by my presence, and if I’d not put my camera away in my rucksack I might have got a decent photo of it!

Walk to Redbourn and back

Saturday, July 12th, 2008

Sorry that this post is a bit late! It’s about a walk I did on Tuesday, four days ago.

Tuesday 8/07/08 

Today I did one of my local walks, a circular walk from Kensworth to Redbourn and back. I chose to walk today despite a forecast of light showers, because according to the long-range forecast this was the best weather of the week!

I started by walking almost the full length of the main road through Kensworth, about 3/4 of a mile. I then took a footpath to Markyate, following part of Walk 1 of the Chiltern Chain Walk. It started to rain as I reached Markyate, and I had to put my waterproofs on. From Markyate I followed the route of the Hertfordshire Way to Flamstead. The rain stopped after 10-15 minutes.

From Flamstead I followed footpaths to Redbourn. I saw lots of Musk Mallow and some Chicory as I approached Redbourn. On the way I crossed a new bridge over the M1 – the motorway here has been widened to four lanes, and so several bridges have needed to be replaced. As I got near Redbourn the rain started again, but didn’t last long.

At Redbourn I walked past the ancient cricket pitch, and headed back along Flamsteadbury Lane. I was soon on a long farm track through huge arable fields, that went about a mile without passing so much as a hedge. I good see really dark grey clouds approaching me, and as I followed a lane into Trowley Bottom there was a really heavy downpour for a few minutes.

I stopped for lunch on a fallen tree trunk at the end of a bridleway leading out of Trowley Bottom. I then followed a lane, turning left at a crossroads into Friendless Lane (my favourite of all the road names I’ve come across on my walks – it would make a great song title, I think). I soon took a footpath that ran parallel to the lane – it started through a wood, where I saw some Small Balsam (only the second time I’ve ever seen this).

The path reached the edge of Markyate, and I continued on footpaths to Roe End Lane. Where that lane ended, I continued ahead on a nice bridleway between hedges, and then took a footpath to Byslips Road, Studham. The rest of the route was very familiar – footpath to Holywell, Dovehouse Lane, path to the Whipsnade road and along the road back to Kensworth. I had my fourth shower or spell of rain just before I got home – the early part of the afternoon had been bright and sunny.

I really enjoyed the walk – it actually made a nice change to walk in the rain!

Wildflower walk to Totternhoe

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

(Entry copied from my WAB blog)

Friday 4/7/08

Usually when I go for a walk, I photograph only wildflowers that I don’t recognise or maybe those that I’m seeing for the first time this year. Today I decided to do a long walk (10-11 miles) that I knew would be good for wildflowers, and to photograph or record all the different wildflowers that I came across.

Starting from my home in Kensworth, I walked down the lane to Church End (the old part of the village) – along here I saw: Nipplewort, Herb Robert, Russian Comfrey, Agrimony, Field Bindweed, Hedge Woundwort.

I then followed the lengthy path round the back of the huge chalk quarry to Dunstable Downs: Pyramidal Orchid, Common Spotted Orchid, Yellow-wort, Self-heal, White Bryony, Field Scabious, Dog Rose, Wood Avens, Poppy, St John’s Wort, Rosebay Willowherb, Scarlet Pimpernel, Bladder Campion and Hedge Bindweed.

I walked along the Downs and descended the hill to Dunstable: Lady’s Bedstraw, Meadow Cranesbill, Common Fumitory, Common Rock-rose and Wild Mignonette.

I then followed a green lane and a Bridleway to the hamlet of Sewell: Common Mallow, Large Bindweed, White Dead-nettle, Opium Poppy, Common Field Speedwell, Greater Knapweed, Field Pansy, White Campion, Musk Mallow, Purple Toadflax and Borage.

I passed a disused chalk quarry, and continued on a green lane towards Totternhoe where I passed a Nature Reserve in a disused quarry – Man Orchid, Common Twayblade and Sainfoin.

I continued, and stopped for lunch by a second reserve at Totternhoe Knolls: Woody Nightshade, Cuckoo-pint, Nettle-leaved Bellflower, Clustered Bellflower, Germander Speedwell, Yellow Rattle and Squinancywort.

I then walked through Totternhoe and along a lane (Common Toadflax) back to the Downs and returned home via Whipsnade (Enchanter’s Nightshade, Yarrow) and Whipsnade Heath (Foxgloves, Dark Mullein).

I’m not claiming to have seen anything special, or an unusually high number of wildflowers, I just thought it would be interesting to show what’s about in ‘my patch’ at the moment.

I’ve obviously just mentioned the first occurrence of each flower. The Man Orchid was the one I reported here a few weeks ago.

Kensworth and Pitston Hill circular walk

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

Yesterday I did my longest local walk yet, a circular route from my home in Kensworth to Pitstone Hill and back. This was an extended version of the circular walk that I have done to Ivinghoe Beacon a few times. I roughly measured the distance on my maps as about 16 miles, but as I was walking at a good pace for almost 6 hours I suspect it was a bit longer.

I deliberately kept my camera in my rucksack, rather than hung round my neck, as I didn’t want to be stopping every few minutes to take photos. I only took it out twice, to try to photo some wildflowers – one of which, Annual Wall Rocket, was new to me. I really enjoyed walking without the stop/start of taking photos – it felt much less tiring to be able to walk at a constant pace without numerous halts, and at the end of the walk I felt no more tired than on the many 12-mile walks I’ve done in recent months (and this was a pretty warm day, too).

From Kensworth I took the path across to Dovehouse Lane, then the path along the edge of Holywell and on to reach a road near Studham church. I then continued on the bridleway across the Gade Valley to Hudnall, bearing half-right to reach Little Gaddesden. I continued on into the woods of Ashridge, where I deviated from my normal route that takes me to the Beacon by going leftish to reach the Monument.

I went downhill to Aldbury, then followed the usual path across the golf course (where I saw Grass Vetchling, but it was blowing about too much to get a photo) and on through the woods of Aldbury Nowers to Pitstone Hill. I continued on along the Ridgeway, downhill and across a lane by a car park and then the long steady climb up Steps Hill and on to Ivinghoe Beacon. I saw Pyramidal and Common Spotted Orchids, Lady’s Bedstraw, Sainfoin, and Yellow Rattle.

From the Beacon, I followed the Icknield Way, heading through a wood and steeply uphill to Ward’s Hurst Farm, where I turned left. This was a steady descent at a very gentle angle, through some sheep pastures and then down the lengthy drive from Hog Hall to Dagnall. I saw a Red Kite over part of Whipsnade Zoo near Dagnall, as I made my way steeply uphill to Whipsnade Golf Course. I crossed several fairways, then followed the zoo fence for a mile or more as I made my way to Whipsnade. I then took the path through Whipsnade Heath (lots of Dark Mullein here again this year), and turned right to reach my home again.