Archive for April, 2009

Web site update

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

I’ve just updated my web site. There are some more ‘Latest Walks’ and a few more bird and wildflower photos.

Update to web site, and news about this blog

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

I have just updated my web site “Pete’s Walks“. There are some new wildflower and bird photos, but the major change is that I’ve added a “Latest Walks” section with details of about 20 walks that I’ve done over the last three months or so.

From now on, I won’t be saying much about my walks on this blog. Instead I will be adding walks to my web site as and when I do them. I will update the “last update” date on the Home page each time I add a walk (rather than update the “Latest news/Site history” page each time).

I will just add entries to this blog when I visit wildlife reserves, etc.

Ashridge -figure-of-eight walk

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Yesterday (Wednesday 15th April 2009) I did a figure-of-eight walk in Ashridge. It was basically my ‘Alternative Ashridge Walk’ slightly amended to form two loops, each one starting and ending at the Bridgewater Monument.

I will eventually put brief details and photos on my web site – meanwhile there are photos from this walk and Monday’s walk on this thread on the WildAboutBritain site:

Hudnall and back

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Yesterday (Monday 13th April 2009) I did one of my favourite local walks, to Hudnall and back from Kensworth (again!). For the first time in more than two years I walked it in the anti-clockwise direction, though, so it didn’t seem over-familiar.

The walk will soon be appearing on my web site, where I am currentlay adding a ‘latest walks’ section.


Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Yesterday (Tuesday 7/04/09) I did another very long walk, from Kensworth to Toddington and back, a total distance of 20.2 miles. I hope to eventually write the walk up and put it on my web site. Apart from the initial section from Kensworth to Dunstable Downs, the rest of the route was the same as Day 8 of my Berkshire-Essex Walk (part of the northern alternative of the Icknield Way).

The day started of cool and rather grey, though there were patches of blue sky amongst the grey clouds. By the afternoon it was much sunnier, but it was very windy as I returned across Dunstable Downs.

There were lots of Lesser Celandine and Violets again, and I saw a few Cowslips too. I found my first Common Chickweed, and saw Hairy Bittercress for only the second time. I saw few birds, but did see a couple of Buzzards near Wingfield. The highlight was seeing Roe Deer – I saw them three times, which is possibly as many times as I’ve ever sen them on all my previous walks since I’ve been back in Kensworth.

I found the walk far harder than the walk from Woburn to Ampthill I did the other day, though the distances were similar. In fact, after I’d walked 15 miles (which is the usual distance I walk) my legs felt much more tired than they usually do at the end of a walk, so I found the last five miles a bit of a struggle. This was definitely a walk for the challenge, more than for the enjoyment!

Three hour local walk

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

This morning I went on a three-hour local walk – I had the specific intention of looking for Wood Sorrel in Great Bradwin’s Wood, near Studham. I’d seen it growing there last Spring, and some photos of this attractive wildflower on the WildAboutBritain site inspired me to look for it again.

I took my usual route to Holywell, via the Whipsnade road and Dovehouse Lane, then crossed a huge field to reach Byslips Road – I heard and then saw a Buzzard near Oldhill Wood. There were just one or two Bluebells flowering in Byslips Wood, and then I followed the ‘public highway’ to Roe End ( a green lane between hedges, that is signed as a ‘public highway’ rather than footpath or bridleway).

From Roe End, I turned right onto the farm track to Beechwood Home Farm. I turned right again, pasing the farm and entering Gravelpit Wood, where a female Muntjac crossed the track ahead of me. Further on I entered Great Bradwin’s Wood, and was successful in seeing Wood Sorrel.

I followed the path across the top of Studham Common, and passed near to Studham church. I then followed the bridleway to Whipsnade Zoo. As I followed the zoo fence I spotted a clump of Bluebells in flower. I then made my way along the old lane between Holywell and Whipsnade, turning off right to go to Whipsnade Church, and then returned home via Whipsnade Heath.

Woburn to Ampthill and back

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

On Thursday (2nd April, 2009) I walked from Woburn to Ampthill and back, a total distance of close to 20 miles. This was my longest walk since I started keeping journals, and probably the longest walk I’ve done since I was a teenager (way back in the middle of the last century!).

A few years ago, I walked the Greensand Ridge Walk across Bedfordshire. The ‘guide book’ for this long-distance path consists of five leaflets, one for each of five sections of the walk. As usual, I walked each section there and back, doubling the distance. The second section is 10 miles long, and rather than walk this both ways in one go, I chose to split it into two walks of five miles each way. I felt a bit of a ‘wimp’ chickening out of a 20 mile walk, and have long wanted to go back and walk the full 10 mile section both ways. That is what I finally did on Thursday.

It was definitely a day of two halves. I was disappointed that it was grey and misty as I set off from Woburn about 9.45am – I couldn’t even see Woburn Abbey as I walked past through its park. It was also cold, and I had to put my lightweight waterproof jacket on over my warm shirt. The sun eventually started to break through the clouds about 1pm, and from 2pm on it was a beautiful sunny afternoon (I ended up wearing my sunglasses).

Beyond the park and estate around Woburn Abbey, I passed through Church End, one of the thirteen ‘ends’ or hamlets that make up the village of Eversholt. I then followed a long and pleasant bridleway, a ‘green lane’ between hedges either side. I reached the M1 (where I had split the walk when I did the GRW) surprisingly quickly – I hadn’t stopped for any photos in the grey and gloomy conditions.

The mist had now lifted, but the low cloud remained. I passed on, going over the wooded Jackdaw Hill and continuing between a golf course and the Millbrook Proving Ground (where cars are tested out). I passed the church at Millbrook (like the one I’d seen at Eversholt, made out of the local Green Sandstone). A little further on I passed some paddocks, but was disappointed that there were no longer any Alpacas there (as well as on the Greensand Ridge Walk, I’d seen them here on the John Bunyan Trail which shares the same route between the M1 and Ampthill). It was then a fairly short distance through Ampthill Park – I turned round at the road on the far side about 12.25pm.

It was still grey and gloomy so the view north from Ampthill Park was disappointing. I stopped for lunch about 1.30pm by the Millbrook Proving Ground, when the sun was starting to make its presence felt. Shortly after Jackdaw Hil I had to take my jacket off, and from then on it was a glorious warm and sunny afternoon.

When I got back to the M1 I’d walked my usual distance of 15 miles, but still had 5 more to do. My legs felt a bit stiff and tired, but not too bad as I carried on back to Eversholt and on through the Woburn estate. As it was sunny now, I did stop for a few photos, or maybe they were an excuse to give my legs a break. I got back to the car about 4.05pm – allowing 10 minutes for my lunch stop, 6 hours and 10 minutes isn’t too bad for a 20 mile walk.

There are some photos from the walk  on this thread on the WildAboutBritain site:

You can see my journal for when I walked this route on the Greensand Ridge Walk here (Days 2 and 3):