Just bimbling around Hunton Bridge…..

Well we haven’t been idle for these past few days, still wandering around, finding bits of countryside, where we can and marvelling at how all the villages have almost merged into one big sprawl, factories and hospitals have been turned into fashionable apartments and traffic – well don’t get me started on that!

Some highs of our week:

A random ‘Triffid’ of a tree in Leavesden Country Park (formerly hospital grounds).

A wood carving and the footpath.

Abbots Langley village – mostly unchanged and looking quite handsome, though now serving a vastly greater population.

The Grove, perched up above the surrounding immaculate golf course and the canal.

St Paul’s Church still sitting pretty at Langlebury, though now squashed beside a very busy intersection.

A deer, calmly grazing in a field, deep in a valley on the way to Bucks Hill that has so far avoided the urban sprawl, with the M25 a distant rumble.

The edge of Chipperfield Common.

We also managed a quick trip back up to the Wirral to visit family catching Hoylake with it’s Christmas lights and a beach run in the rain for Poppydog!

Two thoughts of the day:

I am loving this opportunity to catch up with some very dear friends who I have not seen for ages – we have talked and then some!

I am enjoying my stay here but shall be quite content to go back on living in my ‘bubble’!

A couple of damp miserable days in Hertfordshire…..

Well we haven’t got any of the wildness, just a tad miserable, still as any dog walker knows ‘life doesn’t stop for a bit of wet stuff!’ Yesterday we returned to the canal and this time walked northwards towards Watford, sheltering from a particularly harsh bit of rain under Hunton Bridge.

This is a quieter section of the canal, still within earshot of traffic noise but mostly surrounded by parkland or farmland.

As per, nobody about (they are all in their cars driving aimlessly around!), mindyou it is raining!

We walked by Grove Mill, now trendy houses, nestling in the trees.

And soon we were in Cassiobury Park, a large area of open parkland and woodland. We opted for the woodland walk to give Poppydog a good run around off lead with the trees affording a bit of shelter from the rain.

Before returning to the canal and embarking on the home run!

A pleasant albeit damp 8 mile stroll.

Today, just a relatively short 4 mile walk, with a couple of good ‘off roading’ opportunities for Poppydog. I was curious to wander around the area that used to be Leavesden Aerodrome but is now a village as well as the site for Warner Bros. studios and the Harry Potter Tour.

Ending up at Gypsy Lane for a nice tranquil walk back home.

As we know Poppydog likes to look at the window, well she was having to tippy toe on her hind legs, until Dad came up with this idea !💡 She is now one happy hound!

Two thoughts of the day:

When I see all the new builds and that most have atleast two cars, I can begin to comprehend where all this extra traffic comes from!!

Why oh why do the little ‘Oiks’ think it is cool to graffiti every signpost and bridge along the canal banks with their ‘streetname’ (clever huh?) or something incomprehensible? My favourite will always be ‘Give Peas a Chance’ on a bridge crossing the M25 just near here!

After a horrible journey we are now ‘daan sowf’….

Yesterday we took the caravan up to just outside Blackpool for it’s winter sojourn and we headed down to stay with my Dad for a few weeks in Hertfordshire. We always try to travel on a Sunday as there is usually less traffic but…. where are they all going? The M6 was either stationary or rambling along between 30 and 40 mph all 6 or 8 lanes of it – why and where? And the M1 wasn’t a whole heap better! A 4 hour journey easily turned into a 6 hour one – my saving grace? One, Poppydog was brilliant and two, dinner was on the table when we finally rocked up just before 9pm!

Still today is another day and in fact a jolly nice one too! So off we went for a walk along the canal, only half a mile from home and we are on the towpath at Hunton Bridge heading north.

Under Hunton Bridge looking south.

It is very tranquil down here, though you can never quite escape the sound of traffic, trains and construction, you can manage to zone them out and concentrate on the birds, trees and occasional passing narrow boat.

As we arrived into the built up area surrounding Kings Langley, this rather novel longboat cockpit is quite a feature, don’t you think?

This is how I imagine narrow boats to be – pretty and clearly loved.

But to be honest many of them look well in need of some serious TLC if not outright scrapping and why oh why do they keep so muck junk? This one on the left was rotten, with much peeling paint and piles of junk left rotting on the roof, whereas the one on the right was beautifully painted and tidy.

Apsley Mill was a very trendy looking little marina, where houseboat living is probably combined with a daily commute to the city!

We stopped for refreshments at the Sunnyside Cafe before reaching our destination of Hemel Hempstead – well you can just make out the iconic Kodak House across the green.

On the way back we took time to watch a couple of boats passing through a lock and take a closer look at this shiny beauty!

Much of this canal side has been attractively regenerated over the years on sites that would previously have housed large factories or mills.

A very pleasant 10 mile round trip – we will sleep soundly tonight!

Two thoughts of the day:

Maybe after our round coast trip we should explore the middle of the country by narrow boat?

I still cannot comprehend the amount of traffic we experienced yesterday – I guess we have been living the good life in Cornwall for the past 13 years and more recently traveling around the more remote coastline and had just not realised how much busier it has become!!

A lovely dune walk from Ainsdale….

A frosty start to an otherwise mostly grey day though we did see a lovely late afternoon sun so all is good. I was planning to start packing up today, but in the end I just thought about and decided to enjoy a lovely walk through the dunes at Ainsdale instead!

There was not a puff of breeze and not a soul in sight on the beach, for an eerie moment, I wondered if I had missed something and shouldn’t actually be on the beach!

Apart from someone demanding some action!

Not so sweet now huh? I gave in and down onto the beach we went for some tennis ball throwing and chasing.

As the tide was a long way out the shipwreck of the Star of Hope was very exposed and we wandered out to take a closer look.

The Star of Hope ran aground in 1883 on her way, laden with cotton, to Liverpool. Fortunately her crew found refuge on the Crosby Lightship. The wreck has remained hidden by the sand banks until just before last Christmas, so we are lucky to have seen her.

We continued our walk back to Ainsdale along the beach, Poppydog chasing the ball and me, enjoying the lowering sun.

A now content and quiet hound!

Two thoughts of the day:

We are heading south on Sunday, to stay in landlocked Hertfordshire for a few weeks, visiting my Dad, brother and friends – we shall miss our beach walks!

Can you believe we have been away for 10 months? It has passed so quickly!

Fleetwood, our most northern destination this year….

A bit of rain during the night but the day was dry, grey and with a chilly breeze so ok. We drove up to Fleetwood, which in fact, though only 29 miles away took well over an hour and an hour and a half on our return! That has been the only downside of this area – the traffic- way too much of it! We seem to have been able to avoid traffic since Newport (May) and there shouldn’t be too much when we get up into the woods of Scotland – yippee! Also I’m not sure where all the traffic was going as they certainly weren’t in Fleetwood!

We wandered along the beach from Rossall Point, where we got to last week towards Fleetwood.

The main beach here is Marine Beach, mostly sandy but enough Poppydog sized stones to keep someone happy!

This then becomes Ferry Beach (with a passenger ferry across the river Wyre to Knots-end-on-sea) where the sea meets the estuary (unsafe for bathing should you be tempted!).

At the end of Ferry Beach, on the promenade is this beautiful sculpture ‘Welcome Home’ by Anita Lafford in honour of the many past and present fishermen of Fleetwood.

And the diminutive Beach Lighthouse, standing just 10m high.

As the beach and promenade ran out to make way for the Docks we headed inland to look at the Pharos Lighthouse which unusually sits in the middle of a residential street (Pharos Street!) and stands some 28m in height. For boats navigating the sandbanks of Morecambe Bay the two Lighthouses need to be aligned (one on top of the other) to safely enter the Wyre Estuary.

Here you can see the Beach Lighthouse in the distance to the right.

We also walked up to have a look at Pagoda style Summerhouse built on the Mount (the highest sand dune), which is probably a nice place to sit and take in the view, but it is cold and time to make our way back!

A pleasant enough 5 mile round trip, but I certainly wouldn’t negotiate all that traffic again to make a return trip!

Two thoughts of the day:

I think we have done a pretty thorough walk of this stretch of coastline.

From Bude to Fleetwood – what a wonderful journey through 2018 – only 340 miles in the car but it has taken us 10 months and lots of fabulous beaches to get here.