Three-hour local walk

This morning I did a three-hour local walk, repeating a route I followed a couple of weeks ago. It was very cold when I set out at 10.15am, with a heavy frost still on the ground. I started off along the Whipsnade Road, and again saw a Buzzard fly across the road just before I took the footpath on the left. I followed the very familiar path to Dovehouse Lane, where I turned right. At the end of the lane, I crossed Buckwood Lane and took the path along the edge of Holywell. I turned left, passing through a wood and then taking a path across a very large ploughed field to reach Byslips Road, Studham.

I crossed over and took a path just inside the edge of Byslips Wood.  I then turned left, following the edge of that wood and then Dedmansey Wood, curving slowly to the right, with another huge ploughed field on my right. I saw another Buzzard here, and as I continued on the path beyond the woods, I saw two of them ahead of me. I also saw two or thee Bullfinches in a hedgerow, and managed to get a poor quality photo of one of them.

The path took me to Buckwood Road, where I went right for about 100 yards to reach the edge of Markyate. Here I turned right, following a long path beside a hedge on my left, slanting diagonally across a hillside, with pleasant views of rolling wooded countryside. I continued along the path to reach Roe End, where I turned right along Roe End Lane. At the end of the lane I continued ahead on a Bridleway between hedges, which I followed for about half a mile. As it finally turned right, I saw another Buzzard. The path went downhill, passing a waterworks on the left, then I continued uphill along the edge of Studham Common.

Near the top of the hill, I turned right, and followed the top edge of the common, crossing two minor roads before the path descended through a wooded section of the common into a small valley. The path continued along the valley to reach Valley Road, Studham, where I went right and then took a lane going left to reach the village church. I passed through the churchyard, then continued on a very pleasant field path towards Hollywell. At least three Jays flew along the mature hedgerow on my left, and further on I saw yet another Buzzard.

At the end of the path, I turned left along the old lane between Holywell and Whipsnade, soon having the zoo fence on my left. I took a path on the right to reach Whipsnade Church, then turned right across the large and irregularly shape village green, descending downhill beside a road to reach the crossroads at Whipsnade Heath. I then took the usual route home, through the woods of the Heath and across a couple of fields, before turning right along Common Road, Kensworth.

It was 1.15pm when I got home, and I was rather surprised that the walk had taken three hours. It had been very pleasant, and I’d enjoyed seeing so many interesting birds. It had warmed up slightly as the morning had gone on, and I’d had clear blue skie throughout, although everything was slightly hazy.

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