This route up the Bybrook Valley is far enough away that when the time for the walk comes around once a month, it seems a novelty all over again, but near enough to home that it's easy to slot in to family life. Apart from in June, that is, when our busy schedule and hay fever got in the way.
Last week we set off after school on a very hot Friday afternoon for what I'm calling the Junely walk; our June walk completed in July, so that we don't break the year's cycle.
There are things that surprise me every month. Each time I think that surely there won't be very much change since the last walk and that this will be the month when it won't be worth taking any photos. Nature doesn't change that quickly does it? And every month I'm proved wrong. In May everything was so lush and green, that I thought it couldn't possibly get any more summery, and that that was how it would be now, for ever, or at least until Autumn.
But of course nothing stays the same. The plants have grown even more. The grass is even greener. The wildlife is different. The light has changed. Shadows are falling at new angles.
And every month also, I'm certain that the rest of the family will be completely fed up with my bright, monthly walk idea and I'll be setting off alone.
Chance would be a fine thing!
We even had new recruits for this walk. Two extra boys lugging a large bottle of cloudy lemonade, came with us to play in the river.
Having broken the rules and missed out the official June walk, we could dispense with the usual route and cut straight to the chase. It was so hot that the river beckoned whilst the three mile walk around the valley didn't, and we headed directly for the water.
In this weather, if like us, you don't live near the sea then I can't recommend a trip to the nearest river enough! I could think of nowhere else I would rather have been that evening than right there, sitting under the shade of a tree, watching the dappled sunlight play on the shallow water and the damselflies dance above the rippling flow, listening to the boys splashing and moving large stones around purposefully whilst the girl paddled at the water's edge. And we had it all to ourselves. Who needs the two hour journey to the coast?! Not us!
If you want to compare notes with previous months' walks click here: January, February, March, April and May).