Horn Hill Hike at Colne Valley Regional Park

Another sunny Sunday and we were off to the greener pastures (literally) of Horn Hill just outside of London. We brought some friends along with us this time as we hoped to get their kids interested in hiking. We let our oldest, Fiona, navigate for us which she did beautifully without much adult involvement. Many weekends of rambling has paid off.

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Fiona carrying the map and walking with Stephen

Before heading out we downloaded the trip directions from Colne Valley’s website from their self-guided short walks. We started in Chalfont St. Peter which is around a 35-minute drive from our home in West London. The path alternated between rolling green pastures, planting fields and single track trails through the wood. I think having the ever changing scenery increases the stamina and enthusiasm of the kids. It’s a fun adventure when there are new surprises around every corner. I have also found having a snack mid-walk gives them that extra push to finish their excursion happily.

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Snack time in the field

Walking with two families allowed the kids to play pretty much the entire time. The kids enjoyed running ahead on the path racing one another and looking for the next directional marker. We tried to locate two geocaches but were unsuccessful. Bad luck with our “treasure hunting” that day. We did manage to walk with horses as we crossed through their fields. On one farm we descended through a gorgeous sea of yellow buttercups which a friendly group of donkeys called home. They were very interested in us and followed our path for some of the way. We walked along a riding school fence line and were greeted very enthusiastically by many horses. We were all able to pet them and say hello–they were very comfortable with people. As we left the horses we followed the path down a green hillside and a large bunny colony raced to the brambles for cover. Their cute white bunny tails bopping down the hill made for a lot of laughs from our 5 little people. Animal interaction, green environment and fresh air put a smile on everyone’s face. It was so good to be outside.

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Caroline with a buttercup

We missed one turn at the very end of the walk, but were quickly able to readjust and no one was bothered. Actually, it added a half mile more to our walk making it just over 4 miles with 5 kids under 10, and without one complaint about the distance!

We concluded our physical activity with a welcomed break at The Dumb Bell pub on Shire Lane in Chalfont St. Peter. We were intrigued when we read their website offering a children’s play area in the garden with a bouncy castle, a menu for kids with over 100 combinations for food and an ice cream menu.

When we arrived it was clear that the garden hadn’t been maintained in some time as the grass grew as high as the adults’ knees. The trampoline was rusty and missing some of the springs holding it together. A lot of the playground equipment was comprised of rusted relics. Still, the kids loved it all. Leave it to children to stay in the moment and make fun no matter what the circumstance. The bouncy house was deflated when we arrived but a man working there kindly inflated it for a half hour so that the kids could jump just as the rain started. Yes, wet and very happy kids!

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The menu for the kids included a main and two sides for a whopping £2.50! However, the 100 items offered in the advert turned out to be a combination of five mains and ten sides. Yes, I suppose you could make 100 different combinations?! Seems like false advertising to me and slightly disappointing with offerings of what seemed to be store bought dinosaur nuggets and fish fingers. We’ve had other pub experiences with lovely homemade food for the kids in proportion to their size. As for the ice cream selection we didn’t stay long enough to find out. It was 7pm and rain and darkness threatened. We called it a day (a perfect outing of laughter and good company) and we made our way home. Until next weekend…

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