On Wednesday 21 March, Fiona Brown led a well-attended circular walk which started from the Dew Drop pub, between Hurley and Burchett’s Green. After a frosty start, the morning was bright and sunny. The walk started out through the woods below Ashley Hill, where flowering Primroses, glossy Bluebell leaves and a clump of Soft Shield-fern were seen. Continuing through Warren Row, Sweet Violet and Lesser Celandine were in flower on the bank beside the road. The next path led through the woods on the north side of Bowsey Hill, which were quite wet in parts. Nuthatches and Great Tits called and Spurge-laurel and Hard Shield-fern were added to the sightings. A log had claw marks, perhaps of a Badger, and Muntjac droppings were noted. After a stretch of lane, the route continued along tracks between the manicured hedges of a stud farm. A row of apple trees were smothered in Mistletoe, while at the roadside Whitlow-grass, Hairy Bittercress and a Speedwell were in flower. Footpaths led to BBOWT’s Hurley Chalk-pit reserve. Just below the sunny chalk face, a number of clumps of Hairy Violet were in flower. Solitary bees and spiders were active on the steep slope of chalk rubble. There were heads of Carline Thistle from last year and leaves of Common Rock-rose and Salad Burnet. The route continued along trackways and across a grassy field, where there were superb views across the valley of the Thames to the Chilterns beyond. Afterwards, lunch was enjoyed at the Dew Drop Inn.
Pictures by Rob Stallard