Today I’m sharing another of our local lockdown adventures as we’ve been exploring footpaths on our doorstep – Stratton Audley. We are lucky to have a number of villages that really are within walking distance. Many that we’ve only ever driven through or past without taking any account of. Stratton Audley is a little different in that I had a work colleague from many years ago that lived there, so it’s a village I had visited long before I met the OH. It was also the meeting point for our NCT classes back in 2009. But it’s not somewhere we’ve visited since, until the lockdown when I started looking at accessible walks from our doorstep.
This particular circular walk covers 11kms and took us about 2 and a half hours to complete as we walked around the outskirts of Launton to Stratton Audley and then completed the Caversfield walk in reserve that I’ve mentioned previously.
We first completed this walk in May 2020 when we’d hot scorching temperatures, a very different experience from this year! The OS Map app I use made it easy for me to plot our route and is great for giving guidance on where paths are when they aren’t so visible on the ground. Also helps to settle any argument on which direction to take!
Although as you can see from these photos, the ground was parched and the pathways were easy to follow. A hollowed-out tree gave us a moment to pause and discuss what might have happened to this tree and when. It was still very much alive too which amazed us all.
As we walked from field from to field it was interesting to see the difference in planting and of course, we had our stick carrier leading the way.
My favourite was definitely the field we nicknamed the ‘green mile’.
Spring brings with it colour once again and the hedgerows were coming to life. We were so thankful for colour and the reassurance that nature just carries on regardless of the global pandemic that was causing so much disruption for us humans.
We went from open fields to a secluded avenue of trees and hedgerows and all we could hear was birdsong. It was such a tranquil spot as we spent time exploring footpaths on our doorstep as we headed towards Stratton Audley.
At the end of this section of the walk, we crossed a stile and passed by horses in a field.
Before heading back out into open countryside.
At this point in the walk, it was very tempting to carry on straight ahead as there are footpaths heading off in all directions but we stuck to our original plan, took a pathway to our left and kept heading towards Stratton Audley.
The sun was shining and each field brought with it a different view and the discovery of little foot bridges or stiles to keep my son entertained.
Before we knew it we’d arrived in the village of Stratton Audley and enjoyed our picnic lunch whilst sitting on one of the benches.
We also discovered that a very long time ago there had been a castle in the village close to the field we’d just walked through. None of us had had any idea of its existence.
After we’d finished our lunch it was time to leave the village through a footpath close to the village church.
We had intended to walk around the quarry on the outskirts of the village but all of the access points to the footpaths were fenced off (I’m guessing for safety purposes) so we ended up walking a slightly different route back to the main Buckingham Road. It did mean that we got to see some beehives along the way though.
And my son took a moment to have a rest.
Before he spotted this beautiful Peacock butterfly just sitting on the road, basking in the sunshine.
As we reached the main road, we could see the footpath for the Caversfield loop walk we’ve done before on the opposite side of the main road, so we decided to extend our walk, but we could have turned left along the Buckingham Road and continued back towards town instead if we’d liked.
Exploring footpaths on our doorstep to Stratton Audley offers varied scenery, stiles, footbridges and a little bit of history too. It’s a lovely walk and one we’ve enjoyed completing a few more times over the last year.
The next walk I’ll be sharing takes in a viaduct that you can see from the M40 motorway, something I’ve seen countless times over the years but never known where I could see it close up. All that was to change.
What hidden gems have you discovered over the last year?