Three-hour local walk

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!).

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