It was a glorious day, the sun shone and we enjoyed lively chatter, banter and laughter as we walked a circular 5.5mile/8.8kms walk in Danbury.
The undulating route took us through the Country Park, across two commons and into several woods. The birds sang and the few small streams we crossed ran clear. We passed close to fine houses and converted barns. We marvelled at the wildflowers (wood anemones, violets, lesser celandine and greater stitchwort) and also a field of dandelions where we discussed the French name pissenlit at some length.
From the Armada Beacon hill there were fine views looking south, with Hanningfield Reservoir clearly visible, and hills in the far distance; later we had views looking west over Chelmsford. At Lingwood common it was a relief to some to see Danbury Church spire marking the end of our circuit but the terrain was unforgiving as it continued climbing, dipped, and climbed again.
There were two highlights; the first was a total surprise when a nightingale in a tree close by burst into song. We caught a glimpse of it and then it disappeared into the foliage and sang once more. Matthew Oates wrote recently in his Nature Notebook article in The Times “the song of the nightingale is the most energising natural music to be experienced in our islands”, he concluded, “It is one of the most profound wildlife experiences on offer” – we were lucky.
The second was the bluebells, which were no surprise as it was them we had come to see. The first sighting was in the beautiful Hall Wood and later we were to enjoy the bluebells in Blake’s Wood, another spectacular site; not only did we see bluebells but also many other flowering woodland plants; lastly we saw a vibrant carpet of bluebells in the gardens of the White House.
After the many undulations it was a relief to our weary legs to reach the church and descend to the Cricketers Arms. We were joined by two other members, enjoyed lunch and refreshments and were well looked after by the landlord and his team.
A good ending to an enjoyable morning’s walk.
Next walk (4th Tuesday monthly)
Tuesday 26th May Meet at 10.00 at the Bell PH, Purleigh – park in their car park if lunching or on the road if not – the pub does a modestly priced Walker’s Menu which we pre-order on the day or you can choose from the main menu and specials.
This is an undulating and varied walk of 3.75 miles/6kms offering fine views to Maldon the River Blackwater and across the surrounding countryside. There are 13 (yes thirteen) stiles, which on average is one every 460 metres! – Fortunately they are all easy to cross.