with community stalwart Erica Neustadt
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...