Welcome to our little home on the net. We are Steve & Rosemary and live in Buckinghamshire, UK. This is a blog of our life, sometimes interesting, but mainly boring. It is very picture orientated as Steve loves to take pictures, especially of wildlife. Sometimes he has his arm twisted by Rosemary and takes the odd snap of a weed.
Beating The Bounds
16th May 2023
Beating the Bounds is a tradition where members of a parish walk around their parish boundary. In the case of Grendon Underwood this is around 15 miles. The walk is performed once every 7 years, and has a number of strange customs. Crosses are chopped into the bark of prominent trees on the boundary, failing a tree, a cross is cut into the soil.. Children are supposed to have their bottoms smacked with a spade at these locations. This is to remind them of where the boundaries are. In our woke society this becomes men and women having their turns at being beaten. Thankfully the police were not around, with their new arrest powers what would they have made of us, carrying spades ands axes along and across the HS2 line.
I have done the walk once before, twenty one years ago, in 2002., Yes I have pictures and a write up on this blog, Beating the Grendon Underwood Bounds 2002.
As you can see there were a couple of detours which added to the distance. Nesting birds neccesitated us to walk around the perimeter of the BBOWT nature reserve and not along the Tetchwick Brook. Because of newly laid concrete by HS2 we had to take a detour around the incinerator to cross HS2.
The day was an ideal walking day. No rain, a breeze and not too hot. The ground was wet underfoot, the recent sunny weather had not yet dried the land out,
We started the walk at Gallow’s Bridge, walking around the perimeter of the reserve, being led by the BBOWT warden, Ilona. (As I said, the walk along the bounday of Tetchwick Brook not being allowed because of nesting birds.)
There were a further couple of short detours from the route before we reached Edgcott, these because of unsympathetic landowners.
We stopped at Prune Farm for tea and cakes and then headed onwards to the Energy from Waste incinerator and HS2. A large detour around the incinerator, because of newly laid concrete, back on track we headed to Finemere Hill House for our packed lunches. Lovely views, but spolit by the Incinerator and the workings of HS2.
After lunch we headed on down the hill and across HS2, almost on the correct path. In all these crossinsg we were helped by four HS2 employees to ensure we didn’t tie ourselves to the trees. After that, we were back in wild Buckinghamshire walking through Grendon and Doddershall woods, stopping to view the King Tree. We met up with the Waddesddon boundary walkers at Ham Home Wood. Another welcome stop was in store for us, beer and sandwiches at Canaletto. The sandwiches kept on coming!
Now the final couple of miles and we were back at Gallow’s Bridge. in all we walked 25.4km, taking 9 hours and 20 minutes. We started at around 51 meters, and rose to a maximum altitude of 135 meters.
Google Map of the Walk
Link to the Google Map.
OS Map of the Walk
This is useful view, you can see where we strayed from the parish boundary. There is one tracking error in the route. I some how turned off the tracker as we exited Doddershall woods, and failed to reenable it untilwe had walked a 100 meters along the road. The Google maps track is correct.
Beating the Bounds Gallery
The Fox Cubs
26th May 2023
This week’s fox cub video was a success. The battery did not fail, and I was able to capture footage of three cubs playing and exploring their immediate surroudnings. I moved the camera partway through the week to a lower vantage point, which allowed me to get better shots of the cubs.
There were originally two vixens and six cubs, but this week I saw only three cubs and no vixens. I believe one vixen has moved home. Towards the end of the week, only one cub remained by the den. I believe the other two cubs have begun to explore a larger area. Last year, they were often seen sleeping under the willow trees. There are also many other large holes on this side of the earth mound and the other sides of the mound.
I am eager to receive my new camera trap. The model I ordered is currently on back order, but I am hopeful that it will arrive soon. In the meantime, I will continue to monitor the fox cubs with my current camera.
I am also pleased to report that the rabbits have returned to the area. They were seen exploring the fox den several times this week. I believe the cubs are not a threat to the rabbits. Too small, or ignorant, to hunt?
The Fox Cubs
19th May 2023
The video of the fox cubs this week was cut short due to camera battery failure. The batteries were depleted quickly due to the high activity during the night. Unfortunately, most of the night-time footage was discarded in favour of the daylight scenes. We have six fox cubs in total, with two vixens and four and two cubs respectively (we think). Although we have seen all six cubs together, only five are visible in this video. Four of them play together while the other two are slightly smaller with darker fur and can be seen together. A fox cub was spotted sunning itself on top of the compost heap. We suspect there may be more fox cubs in the compost heap and we need another camera trap to investigate.
The Fox Cubs
12th May 2023
The Fox Cubs continue to grow and flourish. This week I haven’t seen the whole litter of six together, but the younger pair and the older quartet are often active. The older ones still nurse from their mother, who tries to wean them off by bringing them small prey. They pounce on her and suckle whenever they can.
They enjoy wrestling and biting each other. They also venture out in the daylight, playing and making noises.
Six Fox Cubs and Two Vixens
5th May 2023
We seem to have a family of six fox cubs and two mothers. One mother has four cubs of her own, and the other has two younger ones. In the first scene, you can see all six cubs frolicking together.