Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Saturday 27th January Milton Keynes walk led by Beryl & Torunn

8 walkers met at Kents Hill Park to walk for 5 miles on nice, not muddy, paths. There were several football matches going on nearby but there was plenty of parking available. We walked along the northern edge of the park before turning north to Monkston. We continued to Milton Keynes Village, then turned left past the old church. This path led to the River Ouzel just south of Willen Lake. We crossed the river & followed it to the old fish ponds, some now full of water due to the recent rains. We stopped by the interpretation  board for a group photo when Beryl had a problem with her ancient map.

We continued along the river then after about 1.5 miles we crossed to the other side to follow the path passing the Open University on our right. We walked under Brickhill Street to enter the wooded western end of Kents Hill park & hence back to our cars.

Track of walk, walked in anti-clockwise direction.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Thursday 25th January Toddington Walk led by Tony M

8 walkers met at Toddington Village Hall car park for a 5 mile walk. We left the car park & walked past our seat on the green. We turned left past Conger Hill & followed the track down to the Bridleway which we crossed. We then walked round the back of the sewage works before turning right to rejoin the Bridleway near its junction with the Toddington to Chalton road. We walked towards Toddington for about a quarter of a mile before turning left off the road past Feoffee & Manor farms. We stopped near a pond, with nearby golfers trying to put their balls in a hole on the green, for a coffee break.

The coffee stop near the pond

We all thought we had done well avoiding the mud however the next section of the walk made up for that with its mud. We continued past Chalgrave Manor turning left along a track into Toddington to come out on Luton road & hence back to the cars.

Track of walk, walked in clockwise direction.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Saturday 13th January Lilley, 9 ramblers, 8 miles, led by Lynn

Lynn was joined by Beryl, Brenda, Judith, Ruth, Torunn, Geoff, John and Tony P. We met at the village hall in Lilley, all suitably layered up for the chilly weather and once ready, headed south west on the Chiltern Way alongside Lilleypark Wood.

Fortunately, the weather forecast for the previous week had been correct and there had been no rain, so the ground had dried up a lot since the week before when Lynn checked it out, which was just as well as the first incline was up across the middle of a field. 

At Butterfield Green Road, we turned right to go past Whitehill Farm towards Warden Hill. Although it was a lovely, sunny morning, there was some low cloud in the distance, which was a shame as there can be good views of Luton along here. 

Instead of carrying on along the Chiltern Way and Warden Hill at the next junction, we turned right and followed the path between open fields to cross the John Bunyan Trail and head up to the Icknield Way. At this point we had our first short stop for our elevenses, before continuing along the Icknield Way towards Telegraph Hill, where we had a second short refreshments stop, just before turning right to go up the hill. There are glimpses of nice views through the leafless trees as you go up the hill here. 

At the top, we followed the path to the junction with another, turned right and soon after, turned left to walk through a little wooded area then onwards to Little Offley, a very picturesque, old Tudor manor house. On the other side of the farm yard we turned right - heading in the direction of Great Offley - along the edge of a field, to reach the long drive leading up to the front of the House. We carried on in the same direction for a short distance but now along the road and then turned right again to head south west. 

This stretch alongside a few field edges, was still very wet and muddy (although much improved from the week before!) but thankfully nobody slipped over and we all made it safely to Lilleyhoo Lane. From there we turned right for about 50 yards to reach a path on the left and our last climb. At the top there is a bench for those that wish to stop and enjoy the views out to the west, looking down on to the village of Lilley, and round to the north west towards Sharpenhoe Clappers in the distance. 

From here we just needed to go down the other side, cross a field of horses - where there was an extremely, trampled, muddy exit (you had to keep moving or you got stuck in the mud!) - then through another field back into the village. Those of us that had brought lunch, sat in the sunshine on the benches in/next to the children’s play .

Track of walk, walked in clockwise direction

Friday, January 5, 2024

Totternhoe Knolls to Dunstable, January 4th. 3 and 8 miles

We were a select group that met at the village hall car park: two for the short walk, two for the long walk.
But success is measured  in enjoyment, not quantity, and it was a lovely morning after all the endless rain. The sun was out, and the birds were singing their heart out as the days are lengthening. 
After a short muddy bit up the well-used steps from the car park, we got onto the footpath that skirts the chalk face from an old quarry. The path improved, turning to grass, and soon we left the mud behind. 

We followed the path round to the South, admiring the dogs that we passed and enjoying the warmth of the sun. We soon stopped at a large log for our coffee break and watched a robin singing on the top of a branch. All in all, it felt like spring may be on its way. 

At this point, Ruth F and Hillary turned West to return to the car park, and Ruth B and Tony continued South along the green lane to Dunstable Downs. After crossing the main road we took a footpath that neither of us had walked along, along the base of the Downs, and soon it opened into a lovely view of the gliding club and Ivinghoe Beacon. The cloud was increasing to the West and a quick check on our phones suggested that rain may arrive at 3pm, so we cut out the last mile or so and headed up to the Visitors Center for our packed lunch. The sun had gone, and we decided we had made the right decision. 

The return journey was easy, following the hard path over the knoll, retracing our steps along the Green Lane. We hoped to have our last biscuit on the 'butterfly' bench, but it was occupied, so we returned to our log before setting back to the car park. 

Track of walk


Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Monday 1st January Harlington Annual New Year's Day Walk

16 ramblers met at Harlington village hall for the annual New Year’s Day walk
There were two walks, a short 2.5 mile led by Tony R and a longer 5 mile walk led by Tony P
Both groups left Bury Orchard & walked along Barton Road to the top of the Burrows Lane bridleway.
We descended this with difficulty due to the very slippery mud in places. Poles were almost essential.
In fact one walker left at this time as she felt too unstable in the mud.

Neil & Ruth enjoying the mud

The others trying to avoid the mud

Thankfully as we passed Willow Farm the mud ended.

Maureen & Sheila after the mud

We stopped on reaching The Bottoms to recover from the mud.

Anna, Neil, Kate, Ruth, Mike, Maureen, Sheila, An other & Malcolm

We turned left towards Lower East End Farm but just before reaching the farm we left the lane over a narrow well worn footbridge to enter a field. We followed the footpath past some apple trees to arrive at a modern footbridge with a "No Horses" sign. Once over the bridge we turned right parallel to the brook. On reaching the next bridge we halted for a break & a photo.

All the remaining walkers except for Tony P whose shadow can be seen taking the photo.

Here the 2 groups split, 11 walkers led by Tony P carrying on parallel to the brook & 4 walkers led by Tony R crossing the bridge, turning left & immediately crossing another bridge on a footpath which led back to The Bottoms. This was followed back towards Harlington until they reached a concrete bridge which was crossed. In the next field mud appeared again & everyone struggled trying to avoid the worst of the mud before arriving back at Bury Orchard
The larger group pressed on following the brook until the new bridge was reached, but instead of crossing it they turned right & followed the track past the site of the old hamlet with its fish ponds. This led back to The Bottoms, which was then followed back towards Harlington, crossing the concrete bridge as used by the smaller group. Everyone agreed that this was the most muddy New Year's Day walk ever but at least we kept dry.

Track of longer walk, walked in clockwise direction; shorter walk variation shown on brown dotted.