Favourite local walk

Today I did my favourite local walk yet again, the one that goes out to Little Gaddesden and Hudnall before returning to Kensworth via Studham and Whipsnade. I’m not going to describe the walk, you’ve probably read it several times before!

I have been meaning to write this walk up and put it on my web site for ages. Today, for the second time now, I dutifully took photos of the route as I walked round, only to decide that the photos were too grey and dismal to go on the web site. Unfortunately, it had remained overcast and very grey throughout the walk, apart from a five-minute spell right at the start when I briefly glimpsed a patch of blue sky.

As always, this was a very enjoyable walk. I set off from home at 9.10am and got back about 2.30pm, so allowing 10 minutes for lunch it took a little over 5 hours (probably a bit longer than usual, because of the number of photographs).

I saw a Red Kite as I reached Studham Common, the first time I’ve seen one there. Later on, I saw three Buzzards over a wood, just as I was approaching the edge of Gaddesden Row. There were no other bird or animal sightings, but there were some colourful wildflowers about, including several of my favourites: Common Toadflax, Musk Mallow and, of course, Herb Robert. I spotted some lovely blue Flax on the path through the long lonely valley beteween Nettleden and Little Gaddesden, and just before I reached the latter village I found some lovely yellow and orangeFox-and-cubs, growing in the same spot I found it last year (the only place I’ve seen it locally). But the highlight was a Violet Helleborine (a type of orchid) – I saw my first ones ever on Friday’s walk, and was delighted to find one growing within a few miles of my home.

As it was a Bank Holiday Monday, there were more walkers about than usual, but not too many – I got as far as Great Gaddesden before I saw anyone else walking. As I came back through Studham and Whipsnade I also saw six or seven mountain bikers on the bridleways.

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