The jets flying out of Luton airport were probably heading for a less soggy destination than we had today following quite a heavy overnight rainfall. Having said that, the weather was extremely kind to us.
Setting off from Lilley, we headed towards Markham, not a lot to be said here, no bomb making factories or anything like that! Farmer Giles was happy to point out that we were not quite on track stating our map could be out of date.
An abundance of Red Kites overhead made interesting viewing as they hovered and dived. The Chilterns is one of the best places in the UK to see Red Kites, thanks to a successful re–introduction project between 1989 and 1994.
We were on part of the Icknield way walking through ancient woodland and chalk escarpment with some good views. Our coffee stop was overlooking Knocking Hoe as there was a convenient bench big enough for 4 people, especially if you were 6' tall. The site is of exceptional importance in supporting large populations of a number of moon carrot, spotted catsear, field fleawort, burnt tip orchid and pasque flower – all well and good if you know what to look for! Various downland butterflies can be seen at Knocking Hoe in summer, including common blue, chalkhill blue and brown argus.
Alan was determined to capture the autumnal colours taking many many pictures as we progressed (not on the Bunyan Trail yet but a tenuous link). Continuing along the Icknield Way we climbed Pegsdon Hill to reach the nature reserve or rather the weed reserve. Neville quite rightly stating that as the weeds were growing where intended, then by definition, they were not a weed! Some good views from up here though.
We passed the Live and Let country inn, where Alan thought the opportunity for a drink was taken on the last walk in this area, and onto the Bunyan Trail. This starts on the Chiltern Hills, which are reputed to be John Bunyan's (of Pilgrims Progress fame) delectable mountains. It continues through some of Bedfordshire's most attractive and scenic countryside taking in a variety of nostalgic places, full of interest and intrigue, connected with John Bunyan, who lived just south of Bedford in Elstow.
Lunch was taken at the top of Warden Hill overlooking Luton town. A very large puddle was blamed for slightly distracting Alan from following the map, but to be fair, it was a very big puddle. Once back to our starting point, it was a very short ride to the Linley Arms for post–walk drinks.
Report – Sue
Walk rating – Good.
Pictures by Alan
Not much to say about these pictures, they depict the autumn countryside and views.