I had a meeting with a client over in the Warfield direction this morning so Hooves and I used it as an excuse to explore some reasonably local yet unchartered territory, and so we headed for a dog walk in Warfield Woods, Hare Hatch. It was one of those early Autumn mornings that look most unappealing when you look out of your window, only to find when you step outside that it is still and mild, and that the sun is trying to push through the light cloud. It was in short a surprisingly lovely morning.
We followed a series of well-marked footpaths, some of which are part of the Chilterns Way, through freshly ploughed fields and verdant woodland…and we found ourselves a proper doggy walk. Hoorah!
We parked in a very rough and ready lay-by along Blakes Road, Hare Hatch. (map) It’s on the left just after Tag Lane, if Tag Lane is on your left. Once parked you simply back track a few yards to find the entrance to the footpath on the opposite side of the road. (streetview) If you follow this path you’ll find you have options: we continued on past the gates of a new house (these are on your left) to a sign-posted crossroads and it really is up to you which way you choose to go as the footpaths meander in and out of the woodland and across fields. We turned left and found ourselves skirting the edge of a huge field full of new golden stubble. After a while, and before we reached the corner of the field a sign sent us the the right and we skirted this field on until we reached a quiet lane (Highfield Road). We cut across this road in a sort of right, then immediately left manoeuver, and we disappeared into the greenery and through an old gate, and we then skirted the next field, and onto the next where we walked diagonally across following the well-trodden muddy trail through what must be crops in the summer months.
We cut across a small green, bearing sort of diagonally to the left hand corner and climbed over the stile onto Highfield Road, which is the road we had just crossed. After following the lane for a short distance to the left we took a path, with a very old kissing gate, which disappered into the greenery, off and up to the left. This runs alongside the lane for a short distance and we quickly popped out in the open in a large, green field. Cutting across the field we entered the woodland and this is where you can pick up the Chiltern Way. It was muddy and cool under the canopy of the trees…Hooves loved it!
As we entered the woodland we headed towards the right, but there are lots of options here. Following our route will bring you out on Highfield Road (again!). We turned right and after a very short distance we came to a signpost on the opposite side of the road pointing us into more woodland. We followed the track (with the fence on our left) and after a while we will saw two trees on our right with a white arrow painted onto each of them showing us that the trail passes between them, and moves away from the fence, bearing up and to the right. We followed this path through the woods and at the top of the incline, and guided by yet another sign, we turned right down the hill. After a while, when the trail is getting quite ‘rooty’ it bears right, and we forked off to the left through an old gate and crossed a more open area of rough grass and brambles. At the end of this area we realied we were back on our original path so we turned right and walked back to Blakes Lane and the car.
We spent around an hour and fifteen minutes on our walk and traveled between three and four miles, but there are so many different paths and tracks through the woodland and the fields that you could mix it up quite a bit to extend your walk. It’s so quiet and green you feel like you are miles away from the car and the traffic, but when you finish your walk and find yourself back at the car you realise you haven’t gone too far at all! Hoover was off-lead for all of the walk apart from when we were crossing the lane…and we didn’t see or hear a single car…just other dogs out with their humans. It’s a perfect walk for dogs that want to run free and sniff at will…