Another weird week so when I ended up with a free Sunday, I jumped at the chance to go for a good old stomp in the woods and sort my head out a bit! I messaged my friend and suggested a 4 mile route the National Trust had loaded up on their website, then onto find the bluebells again as she had not seen them yet. We were looking for about 7 miles- nothing too crazy. So I got up early on the Sunday, packed a picnic lunch, filled up my water bottle, grabbed my rucksack and walking boots and piled into the car. The half hour drive was pretty quiet considering how nice the weather was and I made great time. In fact I arrived so early that I had time to grab a cheeky sausage bap from the cafe!
My friend appeared as the last crumb disappeared and we had a quick check of the map. The route we had picked out was a route around Berkhampstead Common, an area of local history and a part of the Ashridge Estate that we hadn’t explored yet. The only problem was- the route did not start where we were. So we had a check of the map and set off in the direction we thought was right. After a very steep descent (that we were very worried about going back up!!) we found ourselves on the right road, and pottered along it for about a mile, dodging cyclists and other walker. By the time we found out way to the start point of the route, we had already covered 3 miles!
After some brief confusion over which path to take (it was described as “well defined” but was about as well defined as my abs!) we found where we needed to be and set off. The route was pretty much straight, although we still missed a turn and had to back track! There was an organised walk around the common that day so we kept getting confused with which waymarkers to follow- and everyone was slightly confused! We passed a huge meadow towards lunchtime where a few families were picnicing- but decided to carry on and stop once we had found our way back to the main Ashridge Estate. When we got to the bottom of the route, we could not find where we were meant to be at all, and decided to use my friends Strava app to navigate our way back to the start point.
We headed off in the general direction and soon found a cottage land-marked in the directions. We were back on the marked route and makign good time when we walked past the corner of a field and realised that this was a turning point in another walk we had done around the estate. We then abandoned the route instructions and followed the route we knew back to the main estate. We nipped to the bathroom to clean up and settled down in the nearby field for our picnic. The field was buzzing with families, horses, dogs, kites and drones and it was lovely to see an outside space so busy! Just before we sat down, the tracker app had ticked over to 9 miles. So we were already happy with our progress for the day, however the draw to the double figures was too much and we set off to find some more bluebells.
The National Trust were selling a small pamphlet with two specific bluebell walks for £1 so we splashed out and headed off again into the woods with our shiny new leaflet. We wandered through more bluebell woods, with dappled sunlight and our boots feeling heavier and heavier. We decided to turn back when we hit the 12 mile mark. The woods got busier and busier as we neared the visitor center and as our boots cleared the woods the tracker ticked over to 13 miles. In less than 2 weeks we will be taking on the High Hopes Hike- 13 miles to Glencoe so the 13 miles completed today felt like a talisman. It’s boosted our confidence and although we know we are going to struggle with the hills- we now can’t wait to get to Scotland!
A great little adventure that meant we were out of the house from 09:00 to 16:00 on a lovely sunny Sunday. Can’t get better than that!
The Budget Explorer