neustadt’s notes

with com­mu­nity stal­wart Erica Neustadt

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - PEOPLE AND PLACES -

THE summer hol­i­days are here, and while the kids can throw cares to the wind we must think how to fill the days if we don’t want our chil­dren to slump in front of the telly or be a screen bunny for the next few weeks.

So here are my ideas for some ‘Out and About around Bucks’ days.

On a swel­ter­ing, sticky day, pond­dip­ping at Den­ham Coun­try Park ticks the box. Take a net (or buy one there), a bucket, some flip-flops and a good book and sit on the bank of the River Chess with tea from the cafe as your kids ter­rorise the lo­cal guppy pop­u­la­tion.

The river flows through trees here, cre­at­ing an oa­sis of cool green even when it’s gasp­ingly hot ev­ery­where else.

It’s beau­ti­ful to walk into the Chess Val­ley from Chor­ley­wood House. Cross­ing the wa­ter meadow to­wards the river, you pass a com­mu­nity of green wood­peck­ers weav­ing through the trees. If it floats your boat, play pooh sticks from the bridge. Al­ter­na­tively, fol­low the river to the wa­ter­cress beds, buy freshly picked pep­pery cress from the farm to take home for a very English tea and ice-creams for in­stant sus­te­nance. Take swim­mers for a dip in one of the river pools.

A favourite day is spent cy­cling to Chal­font St Giles with lunch in the gar­den of the Mer­lin’s Cave. It’s fairly typ­i­cal pub fare, with friendly peo­ple and a nice place to sit. You can also hike there from Chal­font St Peter along the Mis­bourne, or across the hills from Amer­sham.

Af­ter­noon tea and pick-your-own fruit and veg at Peter­ley Manor Farm in Prest­wood gave us the nicest af­ter­noon we have had this year.

Cy­cling in Hodge­moor Woods with a packed lunch is lovely, as is a dip in the out­door pool at Che­sham.

See­ing the birds at Stock­ers Lake by Rick­mansworth Aquadrome is fab­u­lous, par­tic­u­larly if you fol­low it with a visit to the Cafe in the Park.

Pic­nick­ing by the Thames at Mar­low, watch­ing hares ca­vort through the gath­er­ing dusk in Cookham, and walk­ing up to the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang wind­mill from Turville are all old favourites.

Wen­dover Woods, Col­lege Lake, Coomb Hill. Writ­ing this, re­al­is­ing all there is to do, makes me worry that the summer hol­i­days are go­ing to be just too short...

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