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Scrap Book

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To give you an idea of what our walks are like, we have put together a scrapbook featuring some of the walks that we've done so far.

We have been walking since July 2012 and our ever-growing scrapbook is divided into quarterly volumes:

YearJanuary to MarchApril to JuneJuly to SeptemberOctober to December
2012 Vol. 1 Vol. 2
2013Vol. 3 Vol. 4 Vol. 5 Vol. 6
2014Vol. 7 Vol. 8 Vol. 9 Vol. 10
2015Vol. 11 Vol. 12 Vol. 13 Vol. 14
2016Vol. 15 Vol. 16 Vol. 17 Vol. 18
2017Vol. 19 Vol. 20 Vol. 21 Vol. 22
2018Vol. 23 Vol. 24 Vol. 25 Vol. 26

We also have a scrapbook page for the Walking Holidays we've been on.

Volume 26 - October to December 2018

Walk 352 - Finchampstead Ridges and Eversley

There were just 4 of us for the walk on the morning of Sunday 14th October. Something to do with the pouring rain that greeted us at Simons Wood car park in Finchampstead and was forecast to last all day. Nonetheless, undeterred, the hardy souls set out with the early conversation focussed on the relative efficiency or otherwise of our wet weather gear. The leaders very quickly made a note to re-waterproof their equipment...

The walk started across Finchampstead Ridges before ascending to Wick Hill and on to Finchampstead Church. The shortest coffee break ever at the Church then saw us on our way down to the hedge-lined path towards the Tally Ho pub, re-tracing the steps of walk 350 a couple of weeks earlier.

Heading east through Fleethill Farm, we arrived at Eversley Cricket Club for welcome shelter and a break for lunch. The rain had eased off by now, thank goodness. A short diversion was necessitated shortly after leaving Eversley when we discovered the watercourse by Cross Green which had been only a trickle a fortnight before, had turned into a major river which had flooded its banks and blocked the footpath.

The remainder of the route was relatively dry overhead and easy walking. We headed into Moor Green Nature Reserve and followed the Blackwater River to the Outdoor Centre and then northwards up Beech Hill back to our starting point. Lots of chat about baths and cups of tea on this last stretch. Despite the weather, it was an enjoyable walk and we all had a great sense of achievement at the end.

Sorry, no photographs - it was too wet - but you can see our route on Google Maps.

Thank you to Colin and Sue for leading this wet walk and to Colin for writing it up.

Walk 353 - Sonning Common and Henley-on-Thames

Duckingham Palace
We passed Duckingham Palace on our way through Sonning Common.

We were much more lucky with the weather on Sunday 21st October when Mike led his walk. Sixteen of us, a mix of regulars, newbies and visitors from other groups, met up under the clear blue sky in Sonning Common.

Leaving the village, heading up Widmore Lane, we passed Widmore Pond with it's royal duck-house Duckingham Palace in amongst a floating carpet of autumn leaves. Stopping briefly to take off fleeces that were no longer necessary, we were soon crossing fields of crops and then of horses, stopping to say hello to a friendly equine local.

Equine encounter
Stopping to say hello to one of the locals.

Heading toward Henley-on-Thames, we passed through a recently constructed and rather up-market housing estate. Skirting the edge of Henley, we turned north-west and back into countryside, through the valley of Lower Hernes. Then there was a bit of up-hill as we made our way toward Rotherfield Greys.

At the top of the hill, we stopped for our picnic lunch, with a good view across the valley we'd just walked through. The sky was still a clear blue and the sun felt warm on our backs as we ate our packed lunches. After lunch it was a short walk to The Maltsters Arms in Rotherfield Greys.

Rotherfield Greys
Leaving Rotherfield Greys, fully refreshed from the Maltsters Arms.

Here we stopped off for refreshments and drank them in their beer garden. There were plenty of other people sitting outside, as it was such a nice day.

Fully refreshed, we set off again, heading south-west, through Crowsley Park Woods. Then down-hill into Stony Bottom where we passed Sedgehill Spring, which is protected by an ornate brick structure featuring a stone carving of an elephant.

It was up-hill again, back into Sonning Common. A little bit of road walking was required to get us back to the main road, from where we had started. See our route on Google Maps.

Thank you to Mike for leading the walk.

Walk 354 - Silchester and Pamber Forest

Calleva Atrebatum
Stopping at the North Gate of Calleva Atrebatum.

On Sunday 28th October, seventeen of us met up in the English Heritage car park near Silchester for an easy 6½ mile walk. There was a good mix of regulars, not-so-regulars, visitors from other groups and a couple of newcomers. We set off on a footpath that took us down to the remains of the city of the Roman town of Calleva Atrebatum.

Taking the footpath that runs along the top of the wall, stopping at the North Gate to look at the ruins and its information board, we continued until we reached East Gate. Here we stopped to look at the Roman Amphitheatre.

The Amphitheatre
The Roman Amphitheatre at Calleva Atrebatum.

Next we passed the 12th century church of St Mary the Virgin, which is believed to have been built on the site of a Roman temple. There was a service taking place, so we passed straight through the grounds and into Manor Farm, where we saw some Alpacas grazing in a field.

Striking off through the centre of the site of the Roman town, we stopped to look at another information board, with an artists impression of what the place may have looked like in Roman times. In previous years, we've seen archaeologists from Reading University working away in these fields, but they've all gone now.

Early Bridge Copse
Passing through Early Bridge Copse on our way to Pamber Forest.

Leaving Calleva Atrebatum through the West Gate, we headed south, through Dicker's Copse, then south-west along quiet lanes to Early Bridge Copse and into Pamber Forest. We found an arrangement of logs to sit on for our picnic lunch stop before heading further into the forest.

Then we picked up the Brenda Parker Way, parts of which feature in many of our walks. This we followed through the forest until it emerged in Silchester village, by the Calleva Arms pub.

At this point, some of the group decided to head back to the car park along the Brenda Parker Way while the rest of us popped in for a swift drink before following on. See our route on Google Maps.

Walk 355 - Pangbourne and Whitchurch-on-Thames

Hattonhill Shaw
A bit of up-hill from the Thames Path near Hattonhill Shaw.

On Sunday 4th November, eighteen of us met up in Pangbourne on an overcast but dry autumnal day. We set off up Station Road, crossing over as we passed under the railway bridge and taking the alley way to Whitchurch Bridge.

Crossing the bridge, we followed the Thames Path as it passed the church and joined the High Street. We stayed on this National Trail as it left the main road and followed the Hartslock Bridleway.

After leaving the bridleway, the Thames Path took a steep downhill then uphill and entered Hartslock Wood. The path followed the Thames from on high on the steep bank.

Great Chalk Wood
The Autumn colours of Great Chalk Wood.

Just as the path had descended to river level, we left it and headed up a small but steep hill near Hattonhill Shaw. We stopped at the top of the hill to admire the view and to have some cake made by one of our walk leaders. Very nice!

Down the other side of this hill, we joined a lane that led us up another steep slope to Upper Gatehampton Farm. Next was a footpath leading us into Great Chalk Wood.

It's easy to lose your bearings in woodland and we had to make a slight course correction to join the path taking us through Bottom Farm and Blackbird's Bottom. Who thinks up these names?

Poppy Life Boat
A life-boat covered in poppies in Whitchurch.

We stopped for our picnic lunch in woodland near a farm shop at Cray's Pond. A mixture of quiet lanes and footpaths took us through Great Oaks, Cold Harbour and Beech Wood. Passing Beech Farm and Stonycroft Plantation, we were heading back into Whitchurch.

Following the main road, we passed a life-boat covered in poppies. Obviously to commemorate the centenary of the armistice. Now retracing our steps, we passed the church again and crossed the bridge back into Pangbourne.

The walk finished outside The George, where some of us popped in for refreshment while others went straight back to the car park. See our route on Google Maps.

Thank you to Ann and Kathy for leading this walk.

Walk 356 - Lardon Chase and Hartslock Nature Reserve

The Thames 1
A view of the Thames from Hartslock Nature Reserve.

Sunday 11th November was a gloriously sunny autumnal day; just perfect for our 9-mile hill and valley walk. Our party of twelve comprised nine regular members plus three locally-based walkers from the Goring ramblers.

Leaving the car park at the top of Streatley Hill, we immediately crossed Lardon Chase, taking time to admire the stunning views across the Thames to the Chilitern Hills, whilst dodging the grazing cattle. We descended Lough Down to reach the outskirts of Streatley where the group respectfully held two minutes’ silence for Armistice Day.

Picnic Spot
Our picnic lunch spot in Hartslock Nature Reserve.

We crossed the Thames into Goring High Street, then over the main railway line to pick up the Chiltern Way before heading eastwards across the large Sheepcot Recreation Field. It was here we had a short coffee stop before ascending our first hill up into Great Chalk Wood, full of autumn colours.

A short downhill stretch followed towards Gatehampton before reaching Hartslock Nature Reserve and a steep stepped climb to its summit. The sunshine and wonderful views up and down the Thames made this the ideal stop for a relaxed lunch.

The Thames 2
Another view of the Thames from Hartslock Nature Reserve.

The second half of the walk started by following the muddy Thames Path back to Goring. We crossed the river back into Streatley and headed south through Common Wood to reach the National Trust land known as the Holies. A somewhat testing hill followed - with yet more grazing cattle - to get us back to the high ground on top of Streatley Hill with more glorious views, this time towards Reading.

A brief stretch of walking through the upper sections of Common Wood then saw us back to our start point. See our route on Google Maps. All in all a great walk, made all the better by the perfect weather conditions.

Thank you to Colin and Sue for leading this walk and to Colin for writing it up.

Walk 357 - Hartley Wintney and West Green

Brenda Parker Way
On the Brenda Parker Way, by the footbridge over the M3 motorway.

It was a sunny and dry day on Sunday 18th November when Denise led her Hartley Wintney and West Green walk for the second time. She had led this walk a year earlier when the weather was not so kind to us. In fact, the rain was so heavy, we decided to cut short the walk. This time we did the walk in full, and in reverse to freshen it up.

The twelve of us left the car park, crossed through Hartley Wintney Commons and into Phoenix Green, following the Brenda Parker Way (a long-distance path from Andover to Aldershot, named after a leading figure in the Ramblers Association). A footbridge took us over the M3 motorway and into Winchfield.

Alpacas in a field by Wintney Court.

We followed the Brenda Parker Way through Shapley Heath, passing under the M3 along the way. Then we crossed the A30 London Road and headed toward West Green Common, passing by Wintney Court, where we saw a number of alpacas.

On reaching West Green Common, we stopped in the woodland to eat our packed lunches. Some of us popped in to the National Trust gift shop at West Green House, while we were there.

McAlpine Monument
Monument built by Lord McAlpine.

After lunch, we took a brief diversion from the Brenda Parker Way to look at the Lord McAlpine monument - an elaborately designed 50 foot high column bearing a Latin inscription, which translates to: "This monument was built with a great deal of money which otherwise someday would have been given into the hands of the public revenue."

Soon after leaving West Green, we also left the Brenda Parker Way to head north, crossing White Knights Farm and into the tiny hamlet of Dipley.

Dipley Mill
Dipley Mill on the River Whitewater.

Here we took a slight detour to Dipley Bridge to have a look at the picturesque mill that stands on the River Whitewater. This ancient flour mill was listed in the Doomsday Book (circa 1086).

From here, we headed up to Hazeley Heath, where we followed unmarked paths and tracks through the heathland and woodland to the large pond by Crabtree Lodge. Finally, we followed a well-worn footpath through the heath and into Hartley Wintney, where we had started. See our route on Google Maps.

Thank you to Denise for leading this walk.

Walk 358 - Maidenhead Thicket, aka The Turkey Walk

An emu at the Berkshire College of Agriculture.

On Sunday 25th, back by popular demand, we repeated the Turkey Walk. There were sixteen of us on the walk, which was on a very cloudy, but fortunately dry day.

Starting from the NT car park at Maidenhead Thicket, we set off through wooded areas and footpaths towards Stubbings Farm and Burchetts Green. Next stop was the Berkshire College of Agriculture to see horses, emu and wallabies. We we're unable to spot the pole cat or red squirrels on this occasion.

High Wood over Hurley
View from High Wood over Hurley.

The college leads to further farmland, taking us up to High Wood, with good views over Hurley and surrounding countryside.

Our first stop was on the River Thames at Hurley Lock for a drinks break and sampling of home-made gingerbread Christmas cookies, plus opportunity to use the conveniences. Back on the trail, our walk along the river had crossings both at Hurley and back over the wooden bridge at Temple Lock, providing much interest and good views of life along the Thames.

Red Kite Warning
A warning notice about Red Kites stealing food.

We continued on good paths rebuilt over the last year into Marlow, with a short diversion on the small footbridge on entering the park, as it's being replaced. We had our lunch stop in the park which provides many benches, café and conveniences.

Despite our warning to members of the rogue kite, we found Julie and Chris had been targeted again! Quite incredible considering it was their voice that led to signs being placed to warn people of red kites stealing food!

Leaving Marlow over the road bridge, we headed for the steep climb up Winter Hill and on to Copas Turkey Farm. Family run and established 1957, this free range farm is always a place of great interest and amusement!

Copas Turkey Farm
An emu at the Berkshire College of Agriculture.

We learn from a brochure there are turkey, goose and chicken on the farm, sold prepared in a variety of ways. For those so inclined there is a Turkey Cam, so next year you can watch the birds roam 24/7 from July to November!

After the farm our path led to Cookham Common then down Winter Road through woods and over Marlow Road onto Pinkneys Green. Keeping to the edge of the green, we reached a footpath that leads back to the Thicket, passing under the motorway first then back over on a footbridge to the car park and our starting point.

Thank you to Ann and Kathy for leading this walk, writing it up and providing the photos.

See Volume 25See Holidays scrapbookThis is Volume 26