The focus of this month’s walk was bluebells. Why is it that every year people who rarely venture outdoors visit ‘the bluebells’? I don’t know the reason why but when you see swathes of these blue flowers glowing in the dappled sunshine amongst the trees, it is magical – and the rich scent completes the pleasure. Photographs do not do justice to the scene but no one can resist picturing them.
Leaving the car park we skirted a short stretch of Danbury Common, walked on footpaths through housing estates, gaining local knowledge from the residents as we went and reached the grounds of Riffhams. Sheep with sturdy lambs grazed the pasture and looking north across the field and ponds we could see the grand house. With 26 walkers crossing stiles slowed us somewhat; there are only three on this walk and two stand at each end of this field. The further stile leads out into Hall Wood, a narrow strip of woodland but one that is rich in wildflowers, not only bluebells but also wood anemones, lesser celandines and stitchwort.
The Danbury area is particularly tiring to walk in with its many undulations and having descended across the pasture a short, sharp incline was a reminder of this. Many paused halfway up to photograph our first sighting of bluebells – or perhaps to catch their breath!
Our third stile led across the lane to the orchards at Great Graces where quite often you can hear nightingales singing, but we were disappointed today. However, Blakes Wood and its multitudes of bluebells didn’t disappoint and we spent some time admiring them. The well-trodden paths wind through their midst so we could capture them in different lights.
Above photos taken (on the day) by Diane, Jan, and David
With time running out we hurried on and crossed the ups and downs of Lingwood Common, pausing only for a group photograph before a descent and a climb up ‘cardiac hill’ as nicknamed by some. It was a spread out group that reached the hill near Danbury Church and the final descent back to the Cricketers pub was most welcome. 21 stayed for lunch so it was a noisy affair.
A wonderful walk – I wonder if these are the best bluebells in the area or should we go elsewhere next year? Perhaps you could let me know your views.
5 miles/8 kms
NOTE – There are 39 members in the Walking Group and in view of the increased number of those walking each month I am sorry to say that anyone wishing to join the Walking Group will have to join a waiting list.