We had such a lovely walk today. It looked dark outside, but when we were walking we spotted tiny patches of blue sky that blew over almost before we got the camera out. It’s easy, isn’t it, to stay indoors during the winter thinking that the great outside doesn’t look inviting? However, when you make the effort to pull on the walking boots, wrap up warm and grab the camera it feels so good to have fresh air, and get away from the central heating!

The beautifully landscaped Stoke Poges Memorial Gardens have free car parking. Beware though because the gates automatically lock at 4.30 p.m. at this time of year. There is also a small car park for St. Giles church (beside the memorial gardens) but despite the sign on the gate saying it was open until dusk, it was actually shut.

We joined the footpath beside the pretty St. Giles church which took us through Gray’s Field where you will quickly spot the huge monument to honour Thomas Gray, a resident of Stoke Poges in the 18th C. His poem, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, was completed in 1751 and is said to reference the area. The poem mentions the ploughman who perhaps was heading to the Plough pub in Wexham Street.

We had intended to continue on a circular walk taking us through many a kissing gate and open fields towards Wexham Street, but the sky darkened and we hurried back to the car. I agree, a little rain never hurt anyone, but with a sore throat already I wasn’t taking any chances.

If you want to head somewhere afterwards for a warming drink and a bite to eat there’s a new café which has just opened at Pinewood Nurseries (adjacent to Wexham Park hospital). The nurseries are family run and their farm shop is full of Buckinghamshire produce. Plus, they have lots of interesting things for the garden (hint hint, it is almost Christmas!).

Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

“The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea, The ploughman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me.”

Thomas Gray, 1751

Stoke Poges Memorial Gardens, Church Lane, Stoke Poges SL2 4NZ

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