There are a few of my favourite (free) things
HERE are some of my favourite free things to enjoy in the Chilterns during the summer months. These Mediterranean masters of mimicry, the Bee Orchid gets its name from its main pollinator – the bee – which is thought to have driven the evolution of the flowers.
To attract the pollinating bees, the plant has evolved bee-like flowers; drawing them in with the promise of love, the bees are naturally attracted to the flowers.
Sadly, the right species of bee doesn’t occur here in the UK, so Bee Orchids are self-pollinated. Spotted in any Chilterns meadow.
Explore the timeless village of Ewelme with it’s medieval almshouses, still in use today.
The best cycle route in the land – the mainly on-road Chilterns Cycleway is a circular cycle route through the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Many will find it is suitable for a leisurely one-week tour.
But there are lots of options for splitting up the route into shorter sections and exploring a bit at a time.
Follow the Hambledon Brook, just north of Henley, with red kites soaring overhead to tiny Turville – home of TV’s Vicar of Dibley and Bull and Butcher Pub.
Discover the locations for several of John Nash’s paintings near Ellesborough and Kimble on this lovely walk, scenes of many of his paintings.
Walk along the most beautiful stretch of the ThamesPath from Marlow to Cookham. Five and a half miles and shouldn’t take longer than two hours.
Seek out John Piper stained glass designs located in many local churches.
Explore the John Tweed (18691933) exhibition at the Reading Museum. He was a hugely successful artist who worked at the heart of the London art world and produced images of many leading Victorian and Edwardian figures.
His public sculptures and war memorials can be found in Britain and around the world and his promotion of Auguste Rodin led directly to Rodin’s great gift to the nation in 1914 of 18 of his sculptures for display at the V&A Museum.
The belted galloway ‘Belties’ on the Ivinghoe Beacon have quite a following!
Look for the signs of Water Voles such as burrows in the riverbank, often with a nibbled ‘lawn’ of grass around the entrance.
The best places to spot water voles are along the River Chess and Ewelme Watercress Beds Local Nature Reserve on the first Sunday of each month walk.
For more days out, visit