Circular walk from Whiteleaf via the Hampdens

Chilterns view
Chilterns view

The weather on Saturday was appalling so I busied myself preparing stuff for the 3d printer build, of which more will follow in later posts. I was roped in to dropping Helen and our elderly neighbour off at church, so I took the opportunity to grab a weather window and head to the hills for a walk. The forecast was for rain around lunch time.

After a drop off at church I drove over to the car park above Whiteleaf, it would mean I was starting high and intended to remain high up for the walk. The sun was bright and low and the rain over night had really cleared the atmosphere so I was hoping for a few good pictures. There was a brisk wind and the air temperature was low so I was wrapped up well with several layers.

I tried to keep to the woods to be out of the wind but also it is better for bird watching. I headed towards the viewing point but turned left passing The hangings, then on thorough Sergeants wood and eventually got to Solinger house, I then had a choice and headed up Knightons Hill woods, then picked up the path that heads to Hamden house, which is a strange place to house an insurance company. I had a look round the grave yard and took a couple of HDR pictures then headed directly towards Great Hampden, along a very slippery path across a field, as I got the village in my own little world, a jogger made me jump as he warned me of his arrival. He apologised as he ran by.

Little Hampden Church

I had to take a bit of road out of the Great Hampden then took the path through Keepers Hill wood to Redlands End where at the cross roads I took the path that leads to Grimms Ditch, which bought me back round almost to where I had passed earlier. Taking a left I headed towards Green Hailey farm.

Near the farm there is a garden shed build between three big metal posts about three metres tall one of which has a two metre satellite disk bolted to it. The shed has been there for years, and I have often wondered who uses it, my guess was that it was some sort of radio or tv enthusiast. I noticed that the door had been forced so I took the opportunity to take a look inside. I was right the shed was insulated, (you would want it to be if you were to be sitting in it during the winter), and contained coax wires, switches and a couple of electronic boxes. There was not much room to move inside to one side there was a single deep shelf that probably housed the tuning equipment and served as a desk. The other side was shelved floor to ceiling and probably contained the receiving equipment, which had now been removed apart from a couple of boxes. On the desk there were some written notes and print outs of tv stations. Shame it is not used anymore it would have been good to have a chat with the person who used it.

As I headed the last couple of hundred yards towards the farm it started to rain very heavily, so much so I sought refuge in the lee of one of the out buildings, until the rain stopped about 10 minutes later. It was then just a short walk back to the car.

The rain remained for the rest of the day so I was glad I had made the most of the weather.

January catch up post

Spiller Millenium Mill viewed from ExCel London

I have not posted for a few weeks so I thought I would do a catch up post. Last weekend I went on what seems to have become an annual trip to the Outdoor, Bike and Boat show at ExCel exhibition center in east London. I am interested in all three so it is really good value for money, three exhibitions at one venue all on one £20 ticket. You can save money by booking online early but although they advertise a £4 saving it turns out that there is a £2 booking fee.

It had snowed recently so I was not sure whether I could get there so I did not bother with the paltry £2 saving. As it happened the roads were clear once I got to the A41, and the roads were quiet I think the snow had scared everyone off. I got to the venue by 11am and parked up which cost me £20 for the day, quite steep if you are the only person attending.

Snow Wendover Woods in Black and White

The halls were quite quiet whilst I was there I think most people waited to see what the weather and road reports had to say before heading out. However by the end of the day it was very busy. The exhibition was not quite as good as last year where I enjoyed the cycle polo, which this year had been replaced with an evening criterium race. The highlights of the day were a talk by Charley Boorman about his new vehicular adventure, and the launch of the Madison cycle team, who were all going to use steel bikes!

This weekend started with a film, Django Unchained on Friday evening. Helen and I really do like to start the weekend with a film. I gave the film a 4/5 but Helen gave it 4/5 for the first two hours but only 1/5 for he last hour, which I have to admit was a bit violent. It was classic Tarantino, and one I enjoyed especially the first 2 hours.

On Saturday Helen was busy with her visiting sister, so I took the opportunity to head to the hills with my camera, it was probably the first opportunity to get pictures of the snow without it either snowing or there being a grey sky. I parked up at Dancersend, and headed up to the Ridgeway above Tring park, then across to the Cafe in the Woods in Wendover Woods. The sun shone the whole time and it was great to be back out in the fresh air after having spent the past two weeks cooped up either in the office or at home.

Snowy view from Dancersend

Saturday evening was a real treat we went to a talk at the local church in Aston Clinton, St Michael and all Angels, for a talk by one of the curates Carole Peters. Carole had in a previous life been an investigative journalist starting off in newspapers then progressing into television. She told us about her adventures in Africa investigating war lords, and in Haiti too. It was very interesting. Everyone bought finger food and there were drinks for sale. I was quite unusual to be drinking beer and wine in a Church, without the vicar handing it to you in a silver chalice with a dry wafer.

On Sunday we went to see another film, Hero Dark Thirty, about the hunt for Osama Bin laden. It was a well made film which confused me at first. I give it 4/5. That was the end of an action packed weekend.

Autumn walk through the beech woods around Cholesbury Buckinghamshire

We were supposed to be going round A&C’s for a look at their new extension then on for a walk, but C, the Olympic torch bearer, was feeling a bit under the weather so Helen and I decided the weather looked so nice that we should go for a walk anyway.

We decided that we would walk from Cholesbury cricket ground, and keep as much as possible to the surrounding beech woods, as it was mushroom season and there should be plenty to photo. The sun was shining and it was ideal autumn weather. We walked towards the village hall then took the foot path that runs along side it. We passed the church on our left and entered a small section of woods, by crossing the site then following the footpath NW, we then came to an opening where there are usually some horses. We kept to the footpath and enter Buckland Wood, where the footpath seems to peter out but if you keep in the NW direction you eventually hit a T junction with a bridleway where we turned right.

The bridleway lead us to a rural road where we turned right and followed the road for about 400 metres. There were not many mushrooms about, we theorised that the conditions were perhaps not quite right, perhaps it was too warm. There was the odd clump about but not the usual abundance. We soon turned off and followed a path though a small wood then across a field with a crop in it. The small wood had lots of holly in it which had more than the usual amount of berries on it, the birds are in for a treat this winter.

Eventually we hit the track, called Shire Lane, that leads to Hastoe but we turned right away from Hastoe but back to Cholesbury. The lane is a great one to cycle down from the Hastoe end because it is just slightly down hill all the way and you can keep a fair lick going. At the end of the lane we hit the road again which we followed back to Cholesbury cricket ground, just round the bend and after a dip in the road, you can get off the road and go via the woods adjacent to it.

We both agreed that it was a nice short walk, 4.5 miles and took us 1 hour and 40 minutes. There was not many birds about, probably because it was around the middle of the day, traditionally very quiet.