Take a walk in Blue Bell Woods listen to the sounds around you, of bird song and bees. Smell the flowers and the scent of Spring in the air. Every year is a new beginning and every day a blessing

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Dunstable Downs............

The town near where I grew up is what used to be called a "Market Town" ....Dunstable. It was built up around a cross road around 1109 on the old Roman Rd that was built in the very first century, the Watling Street. An abbey was built there, that survived the dissolution during Henry V111 rule and became a church called "The Priory" The funeral procession of Queen Eleanor spent the night in Dunstable on her way to Westminster Abbey and an Eleanor Cross stood there for many years. Henry had his annulment from Catherine of Aragon announced from there. Dunstable being but 30 odd miles from London had frequent royal visitors from
the Conquest onwards.
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Growing up in a small village Dunstable was the nearest town to us. It was within walking distance. We walked everywhere. Maybe a couple of miles across the fields maybe less. The path we called "Dog Kennels" was the chosen route. It was called that because our local Squire kept his horses and hounds near the village green and the path ran behind there. Anyway, we would walk through "Rabbit Lane" across a few fields to a footpath that led to Dunstable. It came out conveniently by the town center. If we walk via the road we had to walk all the way through town. It was also scenic and looked out over fields, farms and the cement work pitts. At a distance they looked like lakes. As much as I hate Fox hunting, it was a part of village life and always has been. So our village had the horses and hounds
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Having walked that far it was still a long way to go to reach the Downs. Dunstable Downs. Chalk hills that run like fingers in the southern and middle part of England. The Chiltern Hills are the official name but to us they are just Dunstable Downs. Home to Whipsnade Zoo and The London Gliding club these days.
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Its a beautiful place to walk and for kids to play. All sorts of community events take place there. For me though just a place to hang out. Take picnics and when we were teens court boys.
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Very often we would take a picnic and sit on the side of the hills enjoying the views. We could be sitting there enjoying a sandwich and watch a Wallaby hop on by. They would escape periodically from the zoo and live there in total happiness. A bit disconcerting for the picnic person who wondered who else may be wandering around. They do take the elephants for a walk sometimes, all in a row holding tails. Not to worry they are inside the fences. I think?????. Some creatures can get out the gates though they have cattle grids but...........well some deer and the smaller things that wander outside their pens, like the peacocks do make that bid for freedom, but I think they also know where the food is so.
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When we were teens our favourite dance hall was at the foot of the Downs, so often enough it was a great courting spot with great views at night. Not sure we noticed though.
The flowers and butterflys and wee beasties all a part of English Downlands.............we loved to look for as kids. A whole different way of life. Country life at one with the creatures and land around us. Loving nature and simple things. Walking and climbing all kept us fit and healthy and happy.
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Laying on the grass, watching clouds, seeing shapes in them.........picking the harebell and listening to the bees drone in the clover. Yes the simple life.


Anonymous said...

what an amazing life, what beautiful memories,

Merlesworld said...

You do paint a wonderful picture with your words of a great free childhood and teenage years full of happiness.

Michele @ The Nest at Finch Rest said...

What a nice post - it is such a pleasure to learn about new places - and what a gorgeous place from which you hail! Thanks for sharing!!

NanaDiana said...

What a wonderful glimpse of the life you used to live. When you said a Wallaby hopped by I thought you had gone over the edge until I read on and discovered they had escaped from the zoo. LOL

It seems an idyllic life-something most of us can only dream of. xo Diana