I received a text from an old friend who was worried that I had fallen off the face of the earth, because he had not seen any updated on my blog. To remedy the situation I promise I will make extra effort to update more often. My excuse is that I am pretty busy at work in my new role at work, but I quite enjoy doing the updates so will make the time to keep people up to date so here the the first of many more.
On Saturday Helen and I had a long arranged agreement to go for a walk with A&C in the hope of a fungal foray, I thought it was a bit late to be looking for mushrooms, but I will take any excuse to go for a walk in the woods with good friends. A&C are also birds watchers so nature would be on the agenda either way. I thought I would try something new and document the walk for others to enjoy.
A&C picked us up just after 10am much to Helen’s annoyance as she had slept in and was a bit short on time, but we were soon on our way. The walk starts up in the hills near St Leonards. Drive up the hills via the forestry commission Wendover wood entrance, past the golf club then follow the road. Once past the caravan park you will come to a bend in the road at St Leonards church their is a turning on the right onto a road called Gilbert’s Hill. We parked up on the verge of the road at the bottom called Bottom Road.
The walk is circular and this would be third week running that I have done it. I first chose it by looking on a map and trying to find a shortish walk which took in a good amount of woodland and was pretty local. It turned out to be a nice fairly flat walk, which I shared with Helen the week after, and when we were deciding where to walk with A&C it seemed like a good choice, as there were mushrooms and birds to spot.
Take the path that leads in to the woods north and follow the path just in the woods next to the open field, until you get to a cross roads take the path right past the bug hole. The bushes on the edge of the woods are a good place to look for birds we saw Redwing, Coal Tit, and Gold Crest. See label (1) on the map you know you are in the right place if you can see manhole covers for a pump station. Follow the footpath towards the house in the distance, the footpath passes through the barn yard of the farm buildings. A pony was making a lot of noise try to catch our attention.
Along the track from the farm there is another food path that joins it with a plaque on the gate remembering a “knowledgeable man”, label (3), there is some scrub-land here it is worth taking the time to scan the vegetation, as if you are lucky you will see the bright Yellow Hammers that seem to hang around this spot, the first time I did the walk I also got a male Bullfinch, which is always brings joy. In the distance we saw a Red Kite perched in a tree and we were surprised at how bright and light the bird was.
Follow the path to the row of terraces on Little Twye Road, cross the fields (3) good place for flocks of Yellowhammer, then keep going till you get to a modern house and take the footpath down the side of the fence, and just keep on going straight till you get to an open filed with a couple of houses in the corner near the road that leads to Cholesbury. At the road turn left and after about 50 yards there is a path that leads to Cholesbury church and it’s grand wooden gates. Take the path that leads around the Cholesbury camp hill fort (4), then when you come to the footpath junction take the left turn away from the fort and across a couple of horse paddocks, it can get muddy here.
At the entrance to the woods keep on the path that goes through the woods (5) look out for the fairy and pixies that someone has arranged in various places as you walk through. Keep on the path and keep your eyes out for Tit flocks and if you are lucky the odd Treecreeper (6). If you get a a road then you have missed the turning that almost takes you back on yourself. Head towards (7) and keep your eyes out for mushrooms in the leaf litter until you get back to the place where you parked up. It took us 2 hours but we were doing bird miles, it could easily be done in less that and hour and a half.
When we finished the walk it was about lunch time and after trying a pub that was shut nearby we settled for the Old Swan at Swan Bottom (Steve will know it well), the food was great and the staff very accommodating and friendly. I had Fish and Chips, Helen cheese sandwich and chips, and A&C both had Chicken Pie, as a starter we shared deep fried sweet potato and salsify with a water cress aioli.
A very enjoyable walk with great company, and thanks to Steve for inspiring me to keep up the blog posts.