The other day we hopped on the train out to our favourite
close-to-London village. Originally we had intended to skip clear to the
other side of the river and go down south aways, but a very lazy start
put the kibosh on our best laid plans. Instead we ended up north west in Denham Village, Buckinghamshire, and sodden with mud.
In a hamlet full of quaint cottages, a plethora of pubs
around a quintessential village green and the tolling bell of the local
church, Denham Village is – a bloggers favourite discovery – a genuinely hidden gem. Friends
years ago introduced us to this sleepy little place, and we’ve returned
time after time. We’re talking Saturday afternoons in the sunshine, BBQs on the canal,
riotous dinners and countless football disappointments.
Denham Village is one of those lovely places where strangers say good morning and their dogs stop everyone they pass for a pat. As we pretended to make plans for the rest of the day, our feet took over and we simply followed along behind.
Even the graffiti is ridiculously cute.
On our sweaty, grimy, return to civilisation, I took a few notes to remember for the next time my wanderlust takes over my pre-frontal cortex.
Pre-game any unintentional treks by ordering a Green Man Pub starter and turning it into brunch dish.
Peeking at a strangers wedding isn’t weird if you pretend to be smelling the flowers.
Ivy covered cottages, check. Wobbly roof lines, check. Dutch style brick homes, check.
Intriguing South American style totem poles in the British countryside, check. Sunshine, er, not to be seen.
Stopping for a cup of tea beside a picturesque canal lock and making your husband carefully clamber to the other side to take a photo is a good life choice.
So is stopping in for a cuppa.
You may christen a dam the Niagara Falls of England.
Bear in mind that the first couple of miles will be a fun wander through leafy boughs and on stone tracks. Once hitting the midpoint of a 4 mile trail that you didn’t mean to venture onto, the track will turn into a mudpath that requires tactical navigation and a fair amount of swearing.
Jeans are a good life choice, saving your ankles from nettles.
Wear adventure appropriate footwear. Not flats – they don’t survive oozing mud very well. (This part of the track was fairly firm and suitable for taking shofies…)
There are quite good fishing spots if you
a) arrange a license beforehand
b) turn up with more than a handbag and a camera
c) like fishing.
Ensure that there is a luxury golf course to emerge onto when the track gets properly boggy. Stomp through the undergrowth onto the edge of the course as immaculately dressed sportsmen shake their heads.
Watch out for errant gold balls.
When explaining this to your friends, bear in mind that ‘forest’ is stretching even writers license slightly.
Your self-titled ‘townie’ husband will shake his head at you, but your soul will get a hit of green that it needed.
It only takes 20 minutes on the train to get back in central London, and you can guarantee to bags a seats across from a perfectly coiffed, wedding bound, selfie taking, makeup caked party…
Just remember, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.