The theme for A Foot in the Chilterns Nordic walking this month is Snowdrops and we have been lucky to find them on almost every walk so far in varying stages of development from just pushing up through the ground to fully flowering. They really are a sign that winter is nearly over with their graceful and generous flowers in numerous different varieties.
Churchyards in particular often offer carpets of snowdrops and locally we have included St Botolph’s Swyncombe http://www.st-botolphs-swyncombe.info/events/news/ who open their church at weekends in February, serving teas and selling cakes and home produce – it is a major source of income for the church and people travel for miles to view this spectacle.
We walked from Ewelme http://www.oxfordshirevillages.co.uk/southoxonvillages/ewelme.html a pretty village which is also familiar to us Nordic Walkers for the annual Chiltern Chase in June http://www.chilternchase.org.uk/ which welcomes us as competitors and is always a friendly event with a wonderful atmosphere and so far for us the sun has always shone!
Ewelme is a favourite film location and Paradise Postponed, Les Miserables and Misomer Murders are among films that have used this village. Jerome K Jerome author of 3 men in a boat is buried in the church graveyard. It has iconic almshouses and brick and flint houses and the historic watercress beds once a thriving business are now run by the Chiltern Society and open to visitors providing education and conservation https://chilternsociety.org.uk/our-sites/ewelme-watercress-beds/
Dunsden Church parishioners have been planting snowdrops in the churchyard for a number of years and though not as well established as Swyncombe they open in February with tours of the church and churchyard and information about Wilfred Owen amongst the things to see and do http://owenindunsden.org Our walk crossed from Berkshire to Oxfordshire and back again, passing the Loddon Brewery https://loddonbrewery.com/brewery another filming location for Midsomer Murders which became the secondary theme to Snowdrops of February walks!
Walking through the Chilterns we frequently come across previously undiscovered gems and because this month is snowdrops everyone has been pointing out sightings of snowdrops ranging from small clumps to under tree carpets and everything in between