Long Walk 2nd May led by Jenny & David Brown
Nettlebed and Nuffield ‘’Bluebell Walk’’
This was a circular walk in quite heavy spring showers which fortunately ceased towards the end of the walk. Our party of 12 began in Nettlebed village and walked across Nettlebed common and through the beech woodland to Westwood Manor farm. Here we had good views across the steep valley towards the Five Horseshoes pub at Upper Maidensgrove.
The route then progressed up a bridle path to Park Corner. From here we walked on a winding woodland path surrounded by drifts of superb bluebells contrasting with the fresh unfolding lime green beech leaves. Unfortunately the rain continued and we were denied the full colour of the bluebells with sun shining on them. After a brief refreshment stop we continued our walk across the golf course and into Nuffield village before returning to Nettlebed via more bluebell woods at Heycroft Shaw. Here the sun started to make a belated appearance and soon we were at The White Hart hotel and pub where we enjoyed a friendly welcome and good food and drink.Hopefully we can repeat this walk next May with sunshine lighting up the beautiful bluebells.
Strollers 14th May – led by Jacqui Kennedy
On a warm, sunny day 8 of us set off from the Hit or Miss pub at Penn Street for a gentle walk round an area that none of us knew very well. We went along hedgerows, over fields, through woods, down a farm track and along a wooded path, eventually coming out opposite the Baptist Church at Winchmore Hill. There had been an abundance of bluebells along almost all of our route, which looked lovely, particularly those in the woods with the dappled sun coming through the treetops. We made our way to the Village Green and rested on a couple of benches, enjoying the warmth of the sunshine, before making our way back to Penn Street, where most of us enjoyed a very welcome drink and meal at the Hit or Miss. We all agree it had been a very pleasant walk. Thanks to all of you who joined me for it.
Medium Walk 11th May led by Alan & Hana Mace
Christmas Common 8.25 miles
The Fox & Hounds pub at Christmas Common is turning out to be a popular hostelry for the walking group. After giving our lunch choices to the pub manager thirteen walkers set off at 9.20am in good walking weather – light cloud, little wind and a pleasant temperature around 16’. Why was I the only walker in shorts!!
From the edge of the escarpment of the Oxfordshire Way we got one of those views that make walks such as these so enjoyable – the steep, wooded slope dropping away to run out mile after mile of Oxfordshire plain. At the foot of the escarpment we turned along the stony track known variously as the Ridgeway, Icknield Way or, simply and accurately, the Old Road.
By Dame Alice Farm (named after Alice de la Pole, the Duchess of Suffolk and Geoffrey Chaucer’s granddaughter) we made our way into the Chiltern woods that so thickly blanket these chalky hills. The bluebells showing off their purple hue were still carpeting the woodland providing our photographers with plenty of beauty shots. Exiting the old wooden gate in the wall opposite Greenfield Christmas Tree farm and taking the downhill track the red kites were providing pure theatre as they swooped down on a field that was being tilled.
For the final mile we took the woodland path that parallels Hollandridge Lane, an ancient packhorse route across the Chilterns. We exited just 100 metres from the Fox & Hounds and checking the time the whole walk had taken exactly four hours. Food was served on-time at 1.30pm and heartily consumed within a very bonhomie atmosphere.
Shakespeare Way Leg 2 May 17th
Alderminster to Honington, 8 miles
Much Ado about Nothing or Where there’s a Will there’s a way
14 intrepid walkers and one dodgy knee owner set off at crack of dawn (slight exaggeration by writer!!) to reach Honington in remote Warwickshire, we then caught a bus to Alderminster to begin the walk back to our cars, we were waved off armed with instructions from our poorly leader who was under orders to rest.
We set off and remet the river Stour framed today by lush meadows (with no mud), blue skies and trees in fresh canopy. Flowering May bushes, Horsechestnut candles and Celandines were the floral accompaniment to the walk, much of which was on quiet roads, we walked past lovely parkland and along easy green lanes. A tractor spraying weedkiller far too close to our group was the only nasty bit of the mornings walk. We reached the village of Halford where our leader was waiting for us at the pub, in a lovely courtyard where we were served sausage rolls, spring rolls, sandwiches and chips – great walkers fare.
Much refreshed and a bit creaky we set off again waving goodbye to our leader. We walked over lovely meadows and then a very tussocky hay meadow but unfortunately we met a large group of very jumpy cattle that were charging around the field and paying far too much attention to us – so (I am very grateful for this) we turned tail and headed for the road and walked the last 3 miles along the quiet roads, we were rewarded by beautiful views over the Cotswolds and we only missed a very small amount of Will’s proper way. No ducks were encountered, no Shreddies were required and we all returned to base safely – here’s hoping our leader will be match fit for the next leg. (Apparently Shakespeare has more than two legs.)