WHACKO - Thurs 18th April 2019

Leader: Roger Skerman

21 walkers, 15 miles

Very foggy at the start, so no views from Ampthill Park and it was impossible to see Houghton House from the Greensand Ridge path - but the sun soon burned through and it became a wonderful sunny day. Bluebells in the woods, plenty of sunshine, lovely countryside. Lots of paths we knew, but linked by paths we didn't know.  The ladies displayed their superior knowledge of local hostelries by solving the WHACKO conundrum at clue 1, which came after clue 2. 

Our afternoon break was at the Jack Crawley Memorial Barn at Flitton (see below: Dave Sedgley's report in our Spring 2017 Newsletter).

It was a very enjoyable day, thank you Roger and Margaret.

M's photos and map are here https://www.flickr.com/photos/60620372@N07/albums/72157677781776517

and from DFH:




The course of the River Flit has been shaped by more than 100 million years of history. Through this landscape we can learn about our own history – discovering how people moved about and why they chose to make their homes here. People have lived in the Flit Valley for nearly 10,000 years. We know this because of the stone tools they left behind. Today the Flit Valley is largely arable landscape with towns and villages surrounded by a patchwork of fields. But many important areas of wildlife habitat still survive here. Some of the most important wetlands in Bedfordshire survive along the river. There are flower-rich meadows, ancient woodlands where trees have grown since the Middle Ages, and heaths that developed on poor Greensand soils exhausted by medieval agriculture.

There is an important geological relationship between the Greensand Ridge and the wetlands in the Flit Valley, as many of those wetlands are fed by springs bubbling out under the Greensand. The Flit Valley wetlands include the Wildife Trust’s Flitwick Moor: a unique complex of peaty fen, mire, wet woodland and meadows bisected by the river and many drains and ditches, plus a string of smaller wet woodlands and meadows.

Last June Baroness Young of Old Scone – president of the Wildlife Trust covering Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire – opened a new discovery centre on Flitton Moor. The centre is named after a local artist, Jack Crawley who died two years ago aged 92. Jack worked most of his life as a technical illustrator and was regarded as one of the best in the country. He travelled the country with friends on his vintage motor bikes, doing superb water-colours. And he was also a Spitfire pilot during the 2nd World War. The discovery centre has information on the whole of the Flit Valley, from its source near Chalton up to Shefford. The display shows a wealth of historical and geological information as well as detailing twenty wildlife sites in the valley.

Please do pay a visit to the barn. It can be accessed from Brook Lane in Flitton, or from the path which follows the river from Joe’s Close and Mill Lane, in Greenfield.

For more information contact me.
David Sedgley
01525 714961