Walks following the chalk downlands of south Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire on or near the Chiltern Way north of the Thames.Checkendon and Stoke Row
Woodcote and Goring
Stoke Row; Nettlebed and Bix
Cookley Green; Watlington; Stonor and Warburg
Rotherfield Peppard and Henley
Woodcote and Exlade Street
Cookley Green and Russells Water
Stokenchurch and Ibstone
Swyncombe and Ewelme
Whitchurch Hill and Crays Pond
Watlington and Britwell Salome
Mapledurham and Goring Heath
Turville and Fingest
Sonning Common and Kidmore End
Russells Water and Pishill
The weather is warming up again after some welcome rain on Monday. This walk was Another 'filling in' exercise covering some villages I have driven through many times but never walked through. Here is a Google map of the 14 mile walk:
View Bix - Stoke Row in a larger map
First to set the scene - a golden elephant.
So, this can be nowhere else but Maharajah's Well at Stoke Row. The 'usual' late Spring flowers were out, and foxgloves just starting to flower (Digitalis purpurea).
I saw more than my fair share of these creatures, yapping and barking at every turn. More than any other walk so far.
The humble clover was extremely widespread.
My walk took me through a good deal of mainly beech woodland. Already the ground cover is very limited now that the bluebells are over and all the leaves are out.
Nettlebed Church was interesting, a few good monuments, and some great 'modern' stained glass. The East Window was endowed by the Fleming family who made their money from investment banking. They have an even more famous grandson Ian Fleming (of James Bond fame).
Even though the window has loads of butterflies, the only vaguely co-operative butterfly I saw was a Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) and a very ancient Peacock.
From Nettlebed I headed towards the Warburg Nature Reserve, on my way there I spotted a family of Great Tits (Parus major), the parents were teaching the fledglings how to stay away from trouble. I saw quite a few tits of various species. I also heard a tawny owl.
One of the main reasons for this walk was to hope to see some orchids, for which Warburg is famous. I didn't spot the fly orchids I had been promised, but for the first time I saw Twayblades (Listera ovata) in flower. Quite a challenge to spot as the flowering spike is green.
In the same location I was happy to find six or so spikes of a new orchid to me. This is the rarer Greater Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera chlorantha).
A posting wouldn't be complete without a beetle, even though I always struggle to identify them. These two, once again in amorous embrace were on Wild Garlic flowers.
On the fringes of the reserve was an idyllic looking cottage/shed.
Surprisingly Warburg did not have many 'common' orchids, I found only two fairly miserable specimens of Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii).
The wrong season for fungi, I know, and I am not sure which one this one is, if it was yellow I would guess Chicken of the Woods but it wasn't.
A couple of flowers to end on. The first looks like yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor).
Who can resist the allure of the rose, even when in its simplest wild form : dog rose (Rosa Canina).