I regard myself as being very lucky living where I do, there are so many lovely places to walk and explore very close to home either walking from the door or a few minutes drive away.
I have been out and about with Tilly and trying out the different walks. We have the three hills of Hambledon, Hod and Okeford/Bell hill and they are all different. Hambledon and Hod are now owned and managed by the National Trust while Okeford/Bell hill farmland is owned privately with the woods being managed by the forestry commission.
There is easy access to these areas and lots of paths to explore. To get on Hambledon and Hod you have to climb from the base while Okeford is a little easier with a car park at the top although if you are feeling energetic you can walk from the bottom of the hill.
There is always plenty to see on the hills, whether it is the beautiful views, which are different every time you walk them or the wildlife and flowers on the hills. Hod and Hambledon are chalk grasslands and are managed with grazing sheep in the winter and cattle in the summer so the flowers and butterflies are in abundance. I must get up there and take some pictures! Many Orchids flourish on the hills and soon the Glow worms will be looking for a mate after dusk. There is always plenty of birdlife with to many to mention but you can see the rarer Yellow Hammers with Skylarks singing in the sky, Cuckoos plus lots more including Red Kites, Hobbies and Kestrels.
I went up on Okeford/Bell hill one morning when it was stormy there were heavy showers moving through the Blackmore Vale but I was lucky to miss them on the hills, at times the sun broke through in the valley.
The weather turned very hot from the 17th June so I got up even earlier than usual, before 5am to give Tilly a cooler walk by 7am the heat was already beginning to build. I’m very glad I did as on one of the days I went up Okeford Hill and when I left home there was mist in the river valley. I walked across the slopes of the hill in the open and took some images of the mist in the River Stour valley and Blackmore Vale, most of all I just enjoyed the view.
Of course my companion Tilly is with me she enjoys all the sniffs wherever we go!
Another early morning and this time up on Hambledon Hill, the weather was different with the sun struggling to get through the haze. As I was heading for the hill the sun was just coming up at the base of the hill. it was still a fabulous morning and once again a lovely walk and there is always my breakfast and cup of tea waiting at the end!