Thursday, March 31, 2022

Thursday 31st March Toddington to the East, 4 miles,


13 ramblers, led by Kate and Kathy

Today we left at 10.30, a short local walk designed to complement the first aid course. It was snowing when I put my outdoor clothes on and there had been a night frost with the temperatures only at 2 C.  As I left the house the sun was shining, but a biting North wind. As we set off it began to hail. That set the pattern for the walk: every 5 minutes a change in weather, the only constant being the wind. 


But we are a hardy lot and there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing and we were well protected in hats, gloves, scarves and wind-proofs.  Conger Lane had inevitable muddy patches, but the rest of the walk was dry underfoot, through grassy fields past muddy sheep with fast growing lambs. After crossing the bridleway, we turned North towards Cowbush farm then East to encircle Hipsey Spinney. 

The snowdrops have finished now, but the first bluebells were just starting to open out. We stopped for a quick water stop but it was too cold to stand still for long and we then walked briskly up-hill past the horse farm, just as the sun disappeared and the sleet began for another 5 minutes. 


A new barn is going up, the steel structures having been erected since Monday!  Finally we passed the cemetery and up park lane, just as the sun came out again, to the village hall, where people had brought sandwiches to eat ready to start the first aid course. 


Friday, March 25, 2022

Thursday 24th March, Flaunden, 6.5 miles,

 10 ramblers, led by Richard and Wendy

 The conditions were perfect: a lovely warm spring day, daffodils,in full bloom and charming villages with interesting houses. This is an area that is unfamiliar to most of our group, and irritatingly right on the corner of four4 OS maps, so I was grateful to Richard for him giving me a paper sheet with the route on it.  We were warned that it was muddy, but the week of sun dried it all up and it was pleasant walking alone the fields, footpaths and minor roads. 

Our first stop was the church at Chenies, just past Vhenies Manor (open on Monday and Tuesday afternoons) where we had our coffee, either by the church, or at the village green. The church had a mausoleum dedicated to the Duke of Bedfords. Sadly closed the the public, but we peered throught the glass at the stone effigies and the rich stained glass windows. 

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More cute Victorian houses with tall mock-elizabethan chinmeys then some lovely woods in dappled sunlight. There were carpets of bluebell leaves, but too early for their flowers, although there were primroses, celendine and wood sorrel flowers blooming. We had our lunch break on some logs and a seat in a wooded glade. 

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Finally a few fields with cattle (uninterested in us) and horses (one liked having its nose stroked) . The distance went quickly and we all agreed it had been a lovely day. 

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Sunday 20th March -Aspley Guise walk led by Penny

This walk had 9 walkers and was 4 miles in length
Leaving Aspley Guise on a fine sunny morning, we made our way through the fields and on towards the church at Aspley
Following the road down through the village we turned an walked through the warren & on to the Mill Way through the golf course 

Out onto the new housing estate and up towards Edgewick farm joining the Milton Keynes boundary track on the edge of the Woburn estate & back on towards the car park to finish the walk thoroughly enjoyed by all walkers 

Walked in a anti clockwise direction


Saturday, March 19, 2022

Saturday 19th March. Stagsden to Turvey led by Bob and Celia. 9 miles.


We were met at Stagsden by Jill, Sue, Cathy and Neil. We had hoped for more walkers, but the longer distance ones were either indisposed or on holiday.

Jill, Bob, Neal, Cathy & Sue

It was a beautiful day with clear blue skies as we set off at a good pace. The conditions underfoot were mostly quite good with a few very muddy patches. We had chosen a route with no cross field paths.

Celia & Bob

We stopped for a short coffee break near the Astwood to Turvey road and reached Turvey at 12.30. We had our picnic lunch on 2 convenient seats by a beautiful flowering tree.

 We kept up the good pace in the afternoon and were back in Stagsden by 2.30.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Thursday 17th March - Sundon Hills led by Tony R

This 4.5 mile walk started from Sundon Hills Country Park car park and had 9 walkers.
It was a lovely day but due to the previous day's heavy rain there was a fair amount of mud in places.
The first part of the walk involved a lot of steps, both down and up.

Walkers going up the steps
Walkers coming down the steps
After negotiating the steps we came to a more or less level path,  but had to divert into a field due to a muddy section of the path. We crossed the Sharpenhoe road and walked roughly parallel to it to reach Sharenhoe Clappers car park where we stopped at picnic tables and benches for our late coffee break.
We then re-crossed the road and walked across a meadow before entering Moleskin woods. We walked past the area known as The Firs (no fir trees in sight) to the new steps which we used in the opposite direction a few weeks ago. This led us onto more pasture land, today devoid of sheep.  The car park soon came into view however the fields we quite undulating.

Penny, Richard W, Sheila & Mike, Tony P & Tony R with John D, Vivienne & Joan in the background.

Track of walk, walked in clockwise direction

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Saturday 12th March - Maulden

This walk of 7 miles had 12 walkers and was led by Tony Madeley
On a nice sunny but windy morning we met outside Maulden church and started walking along the tracks and through the woods towards Houghton house.

After stopping for break the weather turned and started to rain, which was on & off for the walk duration

Storm clouds approaching

We then started making our way through Ampthill Great Park for a coffee break at the cafe.
Walking through Ampthill  we made our way up to & through the church yard before we walked back to Maulden through a field with cows & their calves.

Track of walk, walked in anti-clockwise direction


Thursday, March 10, 2022

Thursday 10th March Baldock to Weston - 7 miles

 This walk had 10 ramblers and was led by John Dixon

Leaving Baldock and entering the Weston Hills nature reserve crossing the bridge over the road below, making our way along the tracks up to Hickman Hill 

Two sisters walking

Making our way over to Weston where a break was taken in the church yard
Walking through Weston we crossed back over the road below 

Tony P, Richard W, Penny, Jed, John, Jenny, Wendy, Malcolm, Sue & Maureen

 Back into the nature reserve along the tracks back to the cars before we headed off into Baldock for a nice lunch in the sunshine at Pixies cafe.

Route walked in a clockwise direction

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Sunday March 6th Bedford Walk led by Nita


What a lovely surprise, we had eight walkers, a great response after only two days notice.
It was really cold to start with . We kept a good pace and were all happy to be on Bedford  Embankment. As expected the daffodils were a picture.

There were plenty rowers on the river. Many other walkers and not many dogs .Loads of swans, ducks and pigeons,

 The river was in full flow and the sluice gates were open at the Slalom course, the sound of the water from the weir was tremendous.


Three very old trees had fallen in the recent storms and had been dealt with but a very sad sight, what a loss. 

The coffee shop was very busy and we were all beginning to feel a bit chilled so a sensible decision was made for us to call it a day.
We all agreed it was a good way to spend a Sunday morning.

Track of walk


Saturday, March 5, 2022

Saturday 5th March, Little Gaddesden to Monument. 9 miles, 7 ramblers

 I was ready to cancel this ramble on Wednesday. No-one had said they were coming, five longer distance walkers had said they couldn't make it and the weather forecast was rain all day. But by Thursday the rain had turned to drizzle and one person phoned to say they were coming: and by Friday the forecast was dry (ish!) and I had another two enquiries. In the end there were 7 of us and I'm so glad we went: although cloudy we missed the rain and it was good to get out with friends, catch up on news and have a really longer walk to challenge our quad muscles. 

We started at the little car park at Little Gaddesden and headed straight for Golden Valley, pausing to examine a beech tree that had obviously blown down in the storms of last fortnight. 


Then we walked West along Golden Valley, gradually ascending towards Frithden and Golden Valley Farm. We then headed due North and found a convenient group of fallen logs in Great Frithesden Copse to have our elevenses. 


We reached Berkhamsted Golf Course and walked East. The path became increasingly muddy so we made the decision to head across a grassy field, experiencing the cold cross-wind, but it didn't really help: each time we tried to explore a promising looking leaf-carpeted track it turned into mud or brambles and in the end we just had to go through some mud. 



Eventually we picked up the Frithsden access road and made up for lost time, eventually reaching the escarpment edge overlooking Albury and arrived at the Visitors Center to have our picnic on the new picnic tables. A NT rep approached us - were we to be told off for eating our packed lunch at the cafe tables? NO, he said we could go inside if we liked! I declined: if we'd got into the warmth we'd never want to leave!

We soon warmed up again as we set off towards Ashridge College, getting trapped by a railing!


Soon we were back at the car park, tired but feeling very satisfied.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Thursday March 3rd Bedford to Danish Camp - 7.5 miles

This walk, which had 12 walkers  was led by Penny Jamison and Sue Fox 

Our 7.5mile walk started at Priory Country Park, a former gravel pit, walking alongside one of the lakes with lots of wildlife.
Our usual chatting and laughing, all pleased to see each other.
We walked alongside the River Ouse, 12 members trying to dodge the flooded areas. 

John D, Richard, Tony P, Maureen, Nita, Penny, Sandra & Sue at the back with Viv, Joan, & Wendy in front of them with Beryl holding forth at the front.

The walkers beside the Ouse

Coffee break was at Castle Mill Lock where we had a photo shoot! Then heading off through Willington Woods, where we spotted several colourful ‘fairy doors’ on to Danish Camp, a historic site in such a peaceful place. 

Perhaps a "fairy door"

Here we met Eileen and we all enjoyed our lunch overlooking the River Ouse.
After lunch we had a quick detour to see the National Trust Dovecote and Stables before making our way back alongside the old Bedford to Cambridge railway line on the National cycle path, spotting the remains of the station platform among the brambles, on to Priory Park. 

Track of walk