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Bluebell walks close to Oakley

Another 4 woods for you to enjoy:

Summerdown Great Deane Wood

Malshanger & Great Deane Woods [a 4.3 mile loop with wonderful views]

Warren Bottom Copse [aka 'Welly Boot Corner'!]

Wootton St Lawrence


Walk 5/ Map 4: Summerdown Great Deane Wood

Start Point: what3words ‘thinker.topped.rainwater

Distance: 3 miles. This is a walk ‘out-then-back’ route, with 2 short deviations: 1) Turn left (up section 2 on the map) the track to enjoy both bluebells and path banks of primroses and the white star-faces of wood anemones and 2) continue straight across the track into Lower Thrift Wood, following the footpath. This  section is unusual in that it's a working hazel coppiced woodland where the bluebells are especially fine. If you want to walk further then take an OS map with you [FYI, the path joins the Wayfarer’s and continues up into Hannington so you can really stretch your legs if you want to!]

To Note:

-    please park close to lay-by edge as the farm track is actively used.

-    alert! high wildlife presence around the wood edge, with plenty of hares in the fields!

Map 4: Summerdown Great Deane Wood

Walk 6 / Map 5: Malshanger and Great Deane Woods [long loop]

Start Point: What3Words ‘given.strikers.fairly

Distance: this is the long loop as it’s 4.33 miles in total! But it’s worth it, as there are so many long distance views to enjoy. Find a sunny dry spot and sit down to enjoy a drink’n snack, whilst you take in the distant views :-)

 To Note:

-    high wildlife presence on alongside Great Dean Woods.

-    there is a short quiet lane section between Malshanger and start of Great Deane Woods

Map 5 - Malshanger & Great Deane Woods

Walk 7: Warren Bottom Copse [Welly Boot Corner Walk]

No route map, as this walk offers so many options, please refer to your OS map.

Start Point: what3words ‘exploring.trembles.control

Distance: variable! If you want a short walk of 3/4 mile then follow footpath to top of hill, enjoy the view and return. If you feel fit and want to enjoy some magnificent views, then take your OS map and plot a circular route around Hannington and Ibworth and … but make sure you take water and bring a snack as those hills undulate and will test your fitness!

To Note:

-    please park right off the road on the grass verge area as this walk starts right on a right hand corner and the road is narrow

-    the footpath has a fun name: ‘Welly Boot Corner’, hence the nickname for this walk!

-    Alert! These are active pheasant short woods.

Walk 8 / Map 6: Wootton St Lawrence

Start Point: What3Words ‘sound.sudden.grain

Distance: 2.6 miles

Age / Fitness Suitability: average

 To Note:

-    in one of the first fields there are often grazing sheep. At this time of year there could be lambs so suggest you keep your dog on a lead until you get beyond this field.

-    St Lawrence’s Church is a most beautiful church full of history of the local Bigg-Wither family and Charles Butler [the father of Beekeepers]. In non-Covid times this church is opened up each day. So do check the notice on the gate to see if it might be open. It is a place of beauty, has deep history and a place of prayer… spending some reflective time in this most beautiful church is well worth it.

Bigg-Wither Manydown estate family link, family home of Manydown estate for more than 100 years from 1650-1871:

Note the Jane Austen Link [see extract below route map 6] Charles Butler_’Father of English Beekeepers’ link:

Map 6 - Wootton St Lawrence Loop

Jane Austen nearly became a Wither-Biggs!

“As gentry and noble families often do, at the end of the 18th century the Withers found themselves short of a direct male heir. Manydown Park subsequently then passed to a cousin, the Reverend Lovelace Bigg. To keep the Wither association alive, the men of the Bigg family altered their surname to Bigg-Wither – a name which, for the Jane Austen fans among us, may hold some significance. The social bustle of Manydown was ample fodder for the vivid imagination of the ambitious writer and likely informed many a moment in her books. It was also the site where Austens first and only marriage proposal was made by the young Harris Bigg-Wither. While initially accepting his entreaty for her hand, Jane changed her mind the following morning and hasty retreat was bid from Manydown by Jane, her sister Cassandra, and their confused and disgruntled brother, James. Harris would later inherit the estate himself and passed it onto his son, the last of the Withers at Manydown Park. It was then sold in 1871 to Sir Edward Bates”.