As my brother and I climbed through the second barbed wire fence of the day, trailing along half the family behind us, I think my grandparents definitely questioned why exactly they had decided to join us on this walk. A walk that was quickly turning out to be more of a hike through the undergrowth.
The days before had been somewhat gloomy and so, with family visiting from Australia, a break in the clouds had led us all to the decision that we needed to get out and enjoy the good weather while it lasted. We had settled on a walk through Brickhill Woods and had managed to convince our aunt, uncle, cousins, and grandparents to tag along.
Lulled into thinking that we would be going on a leisurely stroll along the paths, it had taken my brother all of two seconds to steer us all off track and along what he described as “a far more interesting route”. And I will give him that. It was more interesting. In a run the risk of thorns in your hair, a potential broken ankle, and ripped clothing on the barbed wire kind of way.
Unsure on what ‘it’ was, we continued on at a faster pace until we caught up with him and my cousins, reaching the top of the hill to find them swinging from the trees on a rope swing. Their laughter echoing around the woods.
Not ones to let the actual kids have all the fun, us adults took it in turns to throw ourselves onto the swing too. Feet in the air, holding on for dear life and hoping that the branch would take our weight, we played just like we all once had when we were children too. Pushing each other higher, making each other scream with a mixture of delight and fear.
Back on the marked trails, we were all glad of the saying ‘what goes up, must come down’ as it meant the rest of the journey saw us heading downwards to the base of the trees.
Which of course led to one race to the bottom of a particularly steep slope, during which I was convinced that I was going to die multiple times as my feet felt as though they were travelling at well over 100mph, and I had little faith that I was going to be able to come to a stop at the bottom without tumbling onto all fours.
The rest of the walk went somewhat smoother than the uphill journey towards the swing and it gave me time to reflect on why these woods are so popular with locals.
Located between Woburn Sands, Bow Brickhill and Aspley Guise, Aspley Woods are filled with miles of bridleways and marked trails, along with challenging cycle tracks, making them a good choice for cyclists, horse riders (permits required) and walkers who are looking for a place to step away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Not to mention that with many of the pathways on high ground, the views across Woburn and Milton Keynes are enough to convince anyone to take a trip into the woods for a bit of peace and quiet.
Getting to Aspley Woods
The car park is situated off Longslade Lane, between the A5130 Woburn - Woburn Sands and Bow Brickhill road.