Eastwood Ho! - Thursday 27th February 2014

Map of route word (369KB) pdf (268KB).  My GPS clocked 13.9 miles.  19 on the walk. 

Eastward Ho!
I'd originally planned to do the walk from the east, to have lunch in garden of Compasses - but couldn't find anywhere convenient to park in Shillington.
Hence the title.
After climbing the hill to the delightful Rushymead Nature Reserve in Pulloxhill we descended into the valley to morning break at Higham Gobion.  Despite the heavy rain overnight the few Cross field paths were not a wet as I had expected - though we did have one unbridged stream to cross - normally a dry ditch!
After a short section of the Shillington Shuffle route in reverse we turn north & stayed on the east side of the village to have lunch stop on a grassy bank at Bury End. - with those in the know hurrying ahead to bag the very small seat, which 5 managed to squeeze onto.
We continued north another half mile, the turned west to head for home via the well known 'Cow Bridge' with it's riddle inscription.
We had had good weather till now, but on the walk up to Upper Gravenhurst the clouds ahead gathered - and my worst fears were realised when heavy rain & hail descended on the most exposed part of the route.  The walk down the bridleway to Wrest Park was not pleasant - so everyone agreed to take a shorter route back to Greenfield than the planned one.  I did manage to lead most of the party on a secret narrow path through the trees in the new Wildlife Trust land at Flittwick Moor however.
David Sedgley

(Merrian Lancaster)