Another bright and sunny, but chilly, morning dawned over Chesham and it was time for a walk. Having explored Pednor recently I thought it would be good to go for a brisk stroll around White Hill toward Ley Hill & Botley. It’s only a short walk from my house to the edge of the first field, albeit including a wake up call of a steep climb over a railway bridge then through some woods. The view is worth it though.
The winter brassica’s are still in the ground so plenty of nitrogen is being replenished for the crops to come. Through the little gate, turn left, turn right and then through 2 more gates and I really am on top of the world. Well, I am on top of White Hill in Chesham, but you understand the sentiment.
Always keeping to the edge of the path (mainly because there are squirrels and rabbits in the taller grass and hedges) the view towards Ley Hill & Botley stretches away into the distance.
A sharp left, down the hill and we join one on of the old byways which criss cross the area. Left along this old track between the fields and then right, through the gate and climbing to the top of the hill. I think this is my favourite field as the views are fairly panoramic. When the early morning sun is in the right place and the mist and dew are just lifting it gives the fields and surrounding woods a certain aura.
As we circumnavigate the field I can see back into Chesham Bois and along the valley toward Latimer.
We took a small detour this morning and came out of the field to walk down hill via another byway. It always reminds me of Sleepy Hollow.
Down to the lower part of the valley and back onto the aptly named Bottom Lane, thence through the first gate and swiftly uphill to Hill Farm. Suddenly I find myself looking back toward my house, across Waterside and the woods at Chesham Bois.
It’s not far now as I need only to cross the road, wade through the river enjoying a drink of lovely cold chiltern water and then back onto the Moor. It may only be four and a half miles but the views are great and the scents are great. I am a lucky lad.
From here to there, and back again. I need to top up my vitamin D with some sun puddling.
Wake up, wake up. It’s snowed and I want to explore. Come on, hurry up, get out of bed. Arooo, arooo, arooo.
Straight away to the fields and dexploration is on the cards. Dragging a human around always slows me down however, I am not allowed off lead outside of my garden. It is a problem that I must bear furever it seems.
The snow is up near my knees and sometimes deeper so the belly plate on my harness scoops up the top layer. I am cold, then soaked as the snow is melting against my fur but it doesn’t matter as I am outside and getting so many scents in my nose. I don’t actually care one jot.
Up this field, turn right, down the steep bank, along the treeline and sense a deer or three in the woods. Sadly my human braking system decides we are not going into the woods just yet and we detour around the next field and into the biggest field on the walk. The wind is somewhat bracing and the snow is swirling around us. The scents seem to be sitting on top of the snow and my nose is like a beagle snowplough. What’s wrong with having a small pile of snow on the end of your nose?
Out of the field at somewhat of a gallop and towards the woods, all glistening with their white snowy coating. I know there are deer and squirrels in there but will I chose the woods or the meadow of wonderful aromas. Turn left, into the meadow and see a pal ahead. Arooo arooo arooo. I think I will stay in the meadow and leave the woods for another day. Unfortunately the untouched snow is deep and the harness belly plate is scooping up rather a large quantity of snow now. Lets just say its a tad damp on my undercarriage. Through the meadow, turn left down through the woods. Deer!! Deer!! Arooo arooo. Ugh good grief I am shackled and cannot get it. Appearing out of the woods I am panting heavily but smiling from ear to ear.
By the time I get home my other human wants to know “where the devil have you been” as well as “How have you got the harness so wet?”.
As some of you may be aware I live in a place called Chesham in Buckinghamshire, UK. I arrived here just before Christmas 2013 so I am almost part of the furniture I suppose. Given I have explored the town and a considerable proportion of the surrounding area, I would like to regale you with a quick tour of the town that I call home.
Chesham appears in the Domesday Book in 1086 as Cestreham and seems to have been split between 4 Lords or Overlords who all had their own share of the land, people and the agriculture. The total population was 59 households and 15 Geld units. Through the ages the town has grown somewhat and now stands with a population of some 22,000 people. It was known in the more recent past for the 4 B’s – Brushes, Boots, Baptists and Beer. The trade of brush making was rife in the town from around 1829 until it fell away due to cheaper markets overseas. Bootmakers abounded too in the early to mid 1800’s with the tanned leather being moved up from London to be worked on in small workshops. Again the boot makers trade fell away due to cheaper manufacturing methods. The Baptist movement arose around 1640 and a number of places of worship remain to this day. We have even had a person burned at the stake for being a heretic (Thomas Harding in 1532). Moving on to the Beer, I have seen that in 1937 there were 53 pubs, beer houses and off-licences serving a population of 14,000 (A pub for every 264 people). Now there are 8 pubs in Chesham itself (A pub for every 2,750 people). I am basing my research on book called The Pubs & Inns of Chesham & villages (see below) which didn’t include the Black Cat or the Hen & Chickens, both of them being located close by and which are also still open.
Chesham is now a town mainly of small independent businesses some of which have survived through many generations. Our local bakery is run by the Darvell family, who also ran a brewery in the 1800’s. The bakery was opened in 1838 so some 180 years ago and it is still going strong. The hardware store of Pearces was started in 1937 and still thrives to this day. The town is full of smaller shops, mixed in with a few of the High Street names people know better such as W.H. Smith, Cafe Nero, Costa, Waterstones and the supermarkets of Sainsbury’s & Waitrose.
Surrounding the town is a belt of green and pleasant lands. The majority of the town lies in a valley leading out on all sides by hills all accessible by lanes and roads. The nearby areas of Chartridge, The Vale, Ashleigh Hill, White Hill, Waterside and Chesham Bois are all well served. I have been lucky enough to stroll around the entire town in my time here and it is wonderful that there is access to much of the fields, moor, farmland, lanes and byways. The many paths and bridleways allow walkers, riders and cyclists to be out in the countryside, yet be within minutes of the town centre. We live in the lee of the Chiltern Hills so we have access to them, along with The Ridgeway, fairly close by.
If you want a good walk, in the countryside and in easy reach of London, come and see what it’s like around here. I think you will enjoy it.
ISBN-13: 978-0955470745 – Pubs & Inns of Chesham & villages
Wake up, it’s time for a walk. I don’t mind that it is only just above freezing, there is a world of dexplorations out there.
We set out for a brisk walk around the fields at Mayhall Farm. We are lucky as there is permitted access kindly granted by the farmers.
The sun was still fairly low in the sky and the woods cast their shadows across some of the fields. The early morning frost covered the still shaded grass. To me it is ideal as all the scents are held on the surface and my nose is filled with the aromas of the wildlife I wish to meet. I don’t think the wildlife wants to reciprocate however. I am raring to go but my hudad is still a bit slow and takes some time to get into his stride. It is a lovely crisp sunny day however so we march on.
Every now and then we take time to stop and look around at the lovely views we have from the tops of the hills. We wonder where everyone else is? These are ideal walking conditions and even I am a little confused as to where all my fellow dogs have got to. Anyway back to sniffing the paths and fields for the rabbits, squirrels, deer and foxes which are all hiding away from me. As we continue our walk, the Chaffinches and Great Tits scatter ahead of us from their perches within the hedgerows.
Within a couple of hours we have strolled around 6 miles and find ourselves heading home to a hearty breakfast. My brain and nose have been filled with the sights, sounds and scents of the local fields.
I am a lucky Beagle Harrier. All this on my doorstep and I can walk it whenever I want. Rain or shine, I love it.
In pursuit of my dream of dexploring all the lanes, woods, fields and paths around my house I decided it would be a good idea if my parents had a gentle 8 mile Sunday morning stroll recently.
Starting through the fields at Mayhall Farm, we crossed a road with big houses and through Hervines Park. We very carefully walked over the railway crossing. Down the pathway and through the fields bordering Rectory Hill we went. This was exciting as I had never been here before and I was anxious to introduce myself to all the wildlife living in the copses, hedgerows and fields. Unfortunately I was shackled to my mum so I didn’t really get the chance to woof hello up close.
Past the football club and into Old Amersham we went. I was enjoying this. Somewhere I hadn’t been before and new sniffs abounded. I saw some lovely old buildings and quite a few people. Old Amersham has a Market Hall built in 1682 and it is still used today. Mum & dad seemed to be more interested to discover that there were quite a number of hostelries in the town that they seem not to have visited. Hmmm.
Left into Church Street and past St Marys Church. Taking the next right we strolled along the river Misbourne and through the fields. I was taking in all the scenery and looking forward to what was around the next corner.
Sadly it was the road which took us out of Old Amersham, up to Amersham on the Hill and back towards my home.
Eight miles and plenty of sniffs later I was snoozing gently in my bed and dreamed of another dexploration just like this. Hopefully soon.
As the year draws swiftly to a close I wanted to reflect on what I had encountered through the last 12 months. It appears I have enjoyed myself greatly with the assistance of my Personal Assistants and quite a number of my friends and their pawrents.
It was quite a cold month and I spent most of the time either running around to keep warm or trying to complete the crossword puzzle. January was quite a sad month as my pawrents had to go to my grandad’s funeral so it was fairly subdued to be honest.
I was lucky to get a trip to Blandford Forum in mid February and I took the opportunity to have a really good sniff around the River Stour. Thankfully the weather stayed fair. Back home it was essential that I continued to ensure that the fields and byways around my house were clear of squirrels.
Brrr. Much of March was cold as a result of the Beast from the East. Not that it stopped me from patrolling every day through the snow and chill wind. There was a stark beauty to the countryside near my house as I strolled the fields and woods.
The sun made an appearance and continued to shine for the majority of April. This was the signal for a hearty rendition of the “song of the beagle” on regular occasions. I even managed to get in a surprise visit to the Beagle World Record walk in Macclesfield. I am proud to be part of the world record for a single breed of dog walk along with over 1,000 of my friends and their pawrents. Sadly I did not realise it would be the last time I saw my wonderful friend Charley Beagle who went to the Rainbow Bridge early in September.
The merry month of May. The sun continued to shine, the rain clouds stayed away and the grass grew. Flowers proliferated in the garden and the meadows making for some wondrous smells on my daily patrols. I was nearly half way through another year and I sometimes took a moment to reflect on my lucky situation.
Still the sun refused to be hidden by rain clouds. This was what summer should be about. Warm days, bright evenings getting longer and all with the beauty of the flowers and shrubs in my garden surrounding me and making me so happy. The lanes, fields and woods near my house grew drier and dusty. The shade from the trees was welcomed as the temperatures climbed and walks became earlier each day. My June was saddened by news that a good friend Nellie the Beagle had passed to the Rainbow Bridge. Everyone loved Nellie.
With the sun still showing its face from early morning to late evening we were all getting hot and bothered. We decided to take a few days in Dorset to take in some views and some sea breezes. West Bexington and Puncknowle were chosen and we enjoyed being away for a few days. Back at home the early walks continued so we could avoid the hottest part of the day.
Patrolling in the parched fields around my house had become the norm recently. Whilst the scenery is wonderful at all times of the year, I certainly missed the greenery of the growing crops to run through whilst sniffing out critters. We managed another trip to Dorset for a day. This time we were in Christchurch and I made sure I got a walk along the beach. Sadly another friend, Tommy, from Argentina also crossed to the Rainbow Bridge.
With the summer pretty much finished it felt like a good time to think back over the shenanigans I had got up to this year. I was happy to recall all the fun I’d had so far. Little did I know that there would be a wonderful trip to London for me, courtesy of my hudad. I got to travel on the train, the tube and I saw many of the sights of London. Apparently I behaved impeccably. Very sadly Charley Beagle went suddenly to the Rainbow Bridge and everyone was sad for he was a great friend to all.
We met with my good friend Raffa Beagle on top of the northern Chilterns at Dunstable Downs. A lovely day was had by all as we strolled and watched the gliders floating silently across the skies. Not content with one outing I managed to wander around Ashridge Estate. This was great fun as the long grass held many critters and smells which were intriguing to me.
We lost a great friend in early September 2018 and a large number of friends all chipped in to buy a permanent and wonderful reminder of Charley beagle. We were lucky to be there when the stone bench was delivered. Later in the November I was lucky enough to get another tube ride and this time it was with both my pawrents.
December arrived and the cold chill of the Arctic wind made the grass frosty and bleak. The low sun played its rays across the fields turning them into gold. Walks around the woods and fields were done with the usual gusto albeit also with a view to getting back home into the warm.
My year has been wonderful. I have been to places I could never have dreamed of, I have met friends and had great fun with them too. I have had a year of dexplorations which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I feel reassured that I am safe and loved. I know I have a great life. I am very lucky.
Happy New Year everyone. I hope 2019 is good for you.
The bright sunny morning was too much to ignore. Come on it’s time to go and explore the hills, woods and the various muddiest places we can find. On with the harness and walking gear and off we go. Not long into the trip and the wellies come in useful as we stop to take the pictures of the views from the top of White Hill.
Even looking towards the Chess Valley and Latimer had great views.
I was intent on making the most of the walk today so decided to go through the muddiest sections of the fields, through the hedgerows and then up through the woods so I could get a panorama back to where I came from and to where I would return. It was great I was almost in Botley and I could see all the way back to Chesham Bois.
The cloud looked like a sea in a narrow inlet, washing upon the shore. Was I high up or was the cloud low?
On the way back I even bumped into a little beagle called Poppy and we greeted each other in the traditional beagle festive fashion. I am now crashed out snoring soundly on the sofa. I may also be kicking mum in the kidneys whilst I sleep. I wouldn’t know, however.
What a great dexploration. I even saw this guy near my home.
It was the dead of night and my parents were out of bed and making ready for the day ahead. After weeks of chicanery and subterfuge with various friends, we were at last on our way to rural Shropshire to make Charley’s parents cry, albeit in the nicest possible fashion. They were blissfully unaware of our impending arrival and this was the way it was supposed to be.
We met up with Raffa Beagle and her mum, and thence on to Charleys house. “Oh my, what are you doing here?” asks Charleys mum, whilst his dad expressed similar surprise from an upstairs window. “Who, us? Oh we were just passing and thought we would drop by to see you”. Griff the Beagle and Boot the Cocker bounded out to greet us and the humans settled down for coffee, buns and chatter, all the time waiting for the unexpected delivery.
After an hour or so, panic sets in as there is no sign of the delivery truck bringing the unknown gift for Charley’s M&D. Off we set on our walk with Raffa and her mum having to turn back as it is feeding time. After phone calls it appears that the delivery will arrive, however not until later in the day. “Do you not realise we have people from London and Liverpool who have taken time off and driven for hundreds of miles to be here?”. The rest of us kept going around the fields and arrive at Charley’s final resting place. It is a place of contemplation and maybe some sorrow but also of great beauty, looking out over the fields where he would run, roam, laze and watch the world go by, all in the shadow of the Shropshire Hills.
“Who’s that at the door?” – action stations and all hands to the pump time. Charley must have known something was up for, as soon as the unknown package was removed from the truck, a wonderful double rainbow appeared over the house with one end landing close by Charley’s last resting place. To see the look upon the faces of Charley’s M&D when the bench was removed from the crate, of joy mixed with reminiscence of some long held thoughts, was strangely comforting to us all. The culmination of a plan to honour Charley had borne fruit, and the fruit was mellow and welcomed. Griff explored the bench quizzically. Boot strolled in his nonchalant fashion toward the bench. Charley’s M&D sat upon the bench and looked at the rainbow stretching over the house and toward the fields and hills.
A suitable tribute, a timely reminder and a place of contemplation. All considered, it was a good day. I could return home content. I am not sure that we made Charley’s M&D cry, but I hope we made their hearts feel full of the love of their friends.
What a week of walks and shenanigans. Sunday started with a great walk around the local lanes and fields. I love all the smells and sniffs, as well as all the rabbit warrens I can stick my nose into.
Having returned home and eaten my breakfast, it was straightaway into the car and we drove north through winding roads and lanes, then across the Grand Union Canal to a place called Dunstable Downs. There were many people there, enjoying the walks and sights on a warm late summer day with the wind blowing breezily through my ears. I was getting excited about visiting the woods and hill tops I could see. However we seemed to be heading toward the Visitor Centre. I had a lovely surprise when I saw Raffa Beagle and her mum waiting for us. Raffa lives in Liverpool and was visiting locally for the day. We walked and woofed with each other whilst scenting the longer grass and admiring the views. Of course we were both asked if we would like strokes and belly rubs which were not turned down. We found a great hill to sit atop and watch the gliders take off and land. It was great fun all day, however we were sad when Raffa had to leave to go home again.
Monday through to Thursday I was able to drag one or the other pawrent around the fields or lanes locally. I even got to meet some Alpaca who live on a farm near me. I don’t go near them as one of them was attacked last year by an off lead dog.
Today was another adventure, this time to Ashridge Estate and Northchurch Common. We had driven past on our way to Dunstable on Sunday but this time we stopped and I got to experience all the sounds, sights and scents of the woods and long grass. We dexplored for about 2 hours and it was great fun to see somewhere new and get all the lovely scents in my nose. I saw squirrels leaping from tree to tree and would have enjoyed chasing them, had I not been shackled to my humum. It was fun wandering about not really knowing where you would end up. Its not big enough to get completely lost in the woods, but the scents and sights would keep me occupied for some considerable time.
It was quite windy which was welcomed as the scents were blown quickly into my nose and my ears flapped happily in the breeze.
We left after a couple of hours and I expected to return home. However we continued our adventure to the Tring Brewery for some “supplies”. I got to meet Ronnie the Lurcher cross whilst my humans made purchases. There was only one thing left to do when I got home. I had to run around my garden arooing at squirrels and making a noisy nuisance of myself.