Walk 363 - Sherfield-on-Loddon and Rotherwick
Fourteen of us, including a few visitors from local groups, met up for the first walk of the year on a dry but dull Sunday morning. Leaving the car park in Sherfield-on-Loddon, we headed up the old Reading Road and crossed the busy A33 to begin following the River Loddon.
Shortly after passing the weir at Longbridge Mill, we left the river to join the Brenda Parker Way. Named after a once very active Ramblers campaigner, this long-distance path was opened in 2011, three years after her death. The 78 mile route stretches between Andover and Aldershot, and sections of it have featured in several of our walks.
After passing through a few fields on the outskirts of Hartley Wespall, the route began to follow the Lyde River, a tributary to the River Loddon. We crossed the Lyde River by Mill Farm, continuing on the Brenda Parker Way as it alternated between following the Loddon and the Lyde.
Leaving the two rivers, the route took us through farmland until we reached the church at Rotherwick. Here we left the Brenda Parker Way and followed a route of my own devising.
Skirting the top of Tylney Park golf course, we were soon crossing farmland again on a well-defined and fenced path. Here we saw a number of Galloway cattle, casually observing us as they munched on their lunch of hay. Soon it was our turn for lunch, stopping for a picnic on the edge of a large empty field a bit further on.
After lunch, we continued our way through fields and woodland until we reached Church End. A bit of road walking took us the the A33, which we crossed and entered the grounds of St Leonard's Church at Sherfield Court. Following the footpath through the church grounds, we emerged into more farmland.
Passing a terrace of narrow fields containing horses, we were greeted by a couple of young women who were cheerfully shovelling up the horse manure. Soon we were crossing Sherfield Green on our way back to the car park. See our route on Google Maps. Quite a few of us stayed on after the walk for a drink at the Four Horseshoes pub before heading home.
Thank you to Denise and Keith for taking the photos while I got on with leading the walk.