Saturday, February 17, 2024

Thursday 15th February Woburn walks

Again there were 2 walks. a short one of 3 miles, led by Hilary & a longer one of 7.5  miles led by Tony R. They both started from Woburn car park with the longer walk starting at 10 am & the shorter one starting half an hour later. Nita, despite doing the short walk, came early to meet the walkers on the longer walk. We were all pleased to see her.
The longer walk of 9 walkers started by walking into the park past Park Farm & due to some talking going on missed the turn off towards the Abbey. We cut across a muddy section of grass churned up by deer to rejoin the path. On reaching the Abbey fence & car park we turned left along the road. At the top of the hill we stopped for a water stop &, as it had become quite warm, for members to shed a layer of clothing.. On looking down the hill we could see the group of walkers doing the shorter walk approaching the bottom of the hill, still a long way off.. We continued & crossed the main road through the park near the cattle grid. We followed the yellow markers up the hill & at the top we saw a black bear in the trees on the other side of the fence. 

Some walkers decided to try & have a better look but they were warned off by the automatic loudspeaker system. We continued over the cattle grid & were about to turn left into the woods when we met a group of walkers coming the other way, who warned us that it was very muddy through the woods as much "foresting" had taken place. Undeterred we entered the wood & made our way downhill trying to avoid the worst bits of mud.

We arrived at the bottom of the hill & stopped by the concrete lions where had a coffee break & a photo.

Brenda, Tony R, John D, Cathy, Tony P, Diane, Kate & Toruun by the lion

After observing the prices for entering the wild animal park we continued our walk past the entrance, now blocked, to the old footpath which went past the elephants. After a short while we came to a new kissing gate leading to the new footpath. No views of any animals could be seen from this path. We went through another new kissing gate into the woods near the top of the Go Ape runway. We followed the path to exit the park by Crawley Lodge. We then crossed the main road & walked up Horsepool Lane thus avoiding the muddy field. After a bit of discussion we left the road & crossed the remainder of the field to meet the track to Birchmoor Lodge. We continued past the Lodge, past the sewage works to the houses at Birchmore Green. Soon afterwards we entered Woburn itself. & walked up High Street. On passing the Black Horse pub we observed the walkers from the shorter walk taking refreshments at the far end of the pub. We continued through Woburn to our cars in the car park.

Track of walk, walked  in anti-clockwise direction

No description has been received from the other group apart from the following photo.taken by Hilary soon after the start of their walk. However it was good to know the some found this walk more suitable for them.

Half of Anna, Nita, Denise, Sheila (almost hidden), Val. Mike, Hilda & Ruth

Saturday, February 10, 2024

February 10th, Steppingley Souper Douper lunch

6 + 10 + 3 ramblers, 7, 4 and 0 miles. Led by Ruth and Richard.

The shorter walk, led by Richard, started from Churchill Drive in Flitwick & basically followed Katherine's walk to Steppingley. They had a coffee stop on a log in the woods.

The brisk longer walk, led by Ruth, met at a small parking area near Flitwick Plantation, crossed the M1 and walked through woods then fields to All Saint's church, Ridgmont. After a week of heavy rain the paths were muddy in places but there was plenty of wet grass to dislodge the mud.  At least it wasn't raining, the sun was trying to break through and the wind had dropped.  One footpath along the side of a wood was over-grown with brambles, and Ruth went ahead to do some pruning. 
At All Saints, our coffee stop, two men were digging a grave! The new coffin was going over the old one, so it was not as deep as usual.


After a short break, we retraced our steps a little and turned East, to avoid a very muddy bit along the Greensand's ridge walk. Would it have been worse? We had to circum-navigate a wide lake!  As we re-crossed the motorway we stopped to gaze at the long queue of traffic South at an almost standstill. 

Soon we joined Rectory Lane that leads to Steppingley. We arrived at 12.35, only 5 minutes behind time. Has the short walk arrived already?  Yes, they got there early by 12 noon! They had followed the St Catherine's way. 


The village hall was hot, steamy, packed with people and very welcome. After a quick exchange of news, the short group left to make space and chairs for us, leaving behind the 3 (Anna, Penny & Sandra) who had come by car. 

The event is usually in the church, but today it was in the village hall to make use of their kitchen. The food, as usual was excellent. Two sorts of home made soup: Spiced Parsnip, or Lentil, Tomato and Chorizo, followed by coffee or tea and a wide choice of cake. It was all for donations: we gave generously, but it was still better value than any pub meal!  It is going towards their fund to install a toilet and tea station in the church. We were told a kitchen is not allowed in a church, but a tea station is!!
On leaving the village hall  it had started to drizzle. We only had a mile left to do and this was through woods, the last part on welcome firm ground. We just got back to the cars as the drizzle began to turn to rain.

Track of longer walk, walked in clockwise direction