The volunteers turned out in a good number on Wednesday for their summer walk, which started at Tring Museum and was guided by Phil Parry. The woodland walk went to Hastoe where the holloways on the escarpment are some of the deepest in the Chilterns – created by cattle movement over the centuries. The return journey passed through Dancersend, part of the renowned reserve of the Wildlife Trust for Berks. Bucks. & Oxon., one of their seventy five sites.
The obelisk in Tring Park is known locally as “Nell Gwyn’s Monument” as it is said that it was erected in honour of Charles II’s famous orange-selling mistress and the fact that the Merry Monarch is thought to have had trysts with the lady at Tring’s Mansion. The most likely reason however is that it was simply a bit of architectural extravagance by the then owner, Sir William Gore, Lord Mayor of London. It is 50′ (15m) tall and was designed by the architect James Gibbs. It dates from the early part of the 18th century, but is rather pointless today with the surrounding trees obscuring the view. When it was built it was on open downland. Tring Park was purchased in 1872 by Lionel de Rothschild as a wedding present for his son Nathaniel, who later founded the famous Zoological Museum.