Tuesday 22 October 2019
Currently, the weather forecast is predicting a dry spell beginning Sunday 27th. That's good news for half-term, particularly if you live in and around the scenic Chilterns AONB. Take advantage of some sunny spells and boost your Vitamin E intake before winter sets in. There's lots on offer outdoors for kids and adults alike and it's a great opportunity to witness the glorious sights of nature's changing seasons.
The Chilterns Society has a Wildlife Treasure hunt in Captain's Wood near Chesham on Monday 28th October. This is a chance to explore the local ancient woodland, spotting native creatures, fungi and plants and along the way there's loads of creative fun too (and possibly some mud). There are also two Junior Ranger Days on 29th and 30th at Whiteleaf Hill nature reserve, the perfect setting to encourage and inspire young nature explorers. There'll be map reading, trail finding and bushcraft skills to learn. For more details follow the links to the Chilterns Society website: http://bit.ly/WildlifeHunt http://bit.ly/JnrRanger
Across the counties, Chilterns AONB has superb walks and many are short enough for younger visitors to enjoy. You can access details about all our walks on our website at: http://bit.ly/countywalks but for a taster, we've selected three shorter walks as examples...
It's never a bad idea to start your walk at a pub! For one thing you can usually park safely, but of course it also offers the option of well deserved refreshments after your walk. Beginning at the Greyhound pub in Wigginton Hertfordshire, this two mile walk takes you through woodland to join King Charles' Ride, Tring Park and the ancient Ridgeway trail and takes about an hour. The longer 6.5 mile walk leads you from the Ridgeway to the towpath of the Grand Union Canal, now a haven for wildlife. Find a map for both these walks here: http://bit.ly/WalkinWigg
The National Trust car park at the top of Watlington Hill is the start of this Oxfordshire walk at Christmas Common. The short walk is 2.5 miles and crosses parts of the old common land where historically coppicing and tree management would have taken place for fuel and chair making industries. Longer walks take you through ancient beech and rare yew woodlands, which at this time of year provide spectacular autumnal views of mixed species and an opportunity for kids to rustle through fallen leaves. For a map of these walks visit: http://bit.ly/walkChristComm. Watlington is just over a mile away with several cafes and pubs, or visit The Fox and Hounds at Christmas Common: http://topfoxpub.co.uk/contact for lunch.
Our last suggested walk is located at the far northern tip of the Chilterns AONB, three miles north of Luton in Bedfordshire, at Sharpenhoe. This is a 1.5 mile walk beginning at the local pub, where visitors can park if they buy food and drink. Alternatively you'll find free parking at Sharpenhoe Clappers. The route takes you along the Chiltern Ridge where the site of an ancient hillfort is believed to have been, a position affording commanding views of the surrounding countryside. A beechwood now covers the plateau which would have been the hillfort's interior. The longer walk takes you through Sundon Hills and Harlington village. For details visit: http://bit.ly/walkinbeds
For spookier half-term activities, there are lots of opportunities on offer at National Trust properties across the region, including Stonor Park, Waddesdon Manor and Ashridge. In addition, Peterley Manor Farm has workshops running from 29th to 31st October. There's pumpkin painting and creepy cookie making for kids as well as a Pumpkin Posy workshop for adults. For details of prices and times visit: http://bit.ly/SpooksatPMFarm.
Chiltern Open Air Museum’s famous Halloween Spectacular returns on Friday 1st November. This family event presents historic buildings decorated and inhabited by costumed characters. This year the event will have a new spectacular fire performance with fire pits set out in the Museum’s event field and a special timed spooky horse display. Spooky stories will be told around the fire of the Iron Age roundhouse. Full details are available here: http://bit.ly/SpookedatCOAM.
Last but by no means least West Wycombe Hellfire Caves has timetabled The hellfire School of Witchcraft everyday from Monday 28th October to Friday 9th November. So book in your budding witches via the website: http://bit.ly/SpooksatWWcaves
Spooky or spectacular - whichever you choose this half-term, have a spooktacular time and stay safe.