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Scrap Book

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.

Volume 38: October to December, 2021

Walk 480 - Faccombe and the Three County Walk

The lychgate and church at Linkenholt.

Saturday 9th October started in typical Autumnal fashion, with mist and fog lingering until mid-morning, before the low sun broke through. Nine of us (including two visitors) gathered in the picturesque and privately owned village of Faccombe for a walk that promised three counties and several undulations. (I think that's Australian for hills.)

The walk started by heading west out of Faccombe to Netherton. On the way, we were passed by a procession of vehicles designed for off-road use, and a trailer full of people. The majority of the drivers and passengers were wearing green tweed hunting jackets and flat caps. It was clearly open season for pheasant shooting.

Soon we were passing through Netherton, part of the Faccombe estate, and admiring its topiary hedges. Then on to Linkenholt, where we stopped off at the church for a short break and to have a look around.

Log stack
A log stack near Hart Hill Down.

Leaving the lanes, we struck out into countryside. Descending Hart Down Hill, we followed a track through fields and woodland, and found ourselves on the Test Way. This 44 mile long-distance path follows the River Test from Walbury Hill in West Berkshire to Eling, near Southampton, in Hampshire.

We followed it for a couple of miles to Gallows Down and Combe Gibbet. Here we stopped for our picnic lunch, with views to the north, including Inkpen, Kintbury and Hungerford. After lunch we passed the wooden gibbet, which has only been used once since it was erected in 1676, but remained there afterwards as a deterrent to criminals. The path now became the Wayfarer's Walk, another long-distance path, which covers 71 miles from Walbury Hill to Emsworth on the south coast.

Test Way
The Test Way near Summer Hill.

We followed it for a couple of miles before joining the Brenda Parker Way, yet another long-distance path. This one stretches 78 miles across Hampshire, from Andover to Aldershot. Needless to say, we followed it for a couple of miles. I think there's a pattern emerging here. Anyway, it took us back to Faccombe, where we stopped at the Jack Russell pub for post-walk refreshments. See our route on Google Maps.

I'm often telling people that our walking group is a friendly one, and they certainly proved it today. Half-way round the walk, I developed an aching hip, which became quite painful towards the end of the walk. It slowed me right down. However, there was no shortage of help and advice from my fellow walkers. One person lent me her walking pole; I was also given some ibuprofen, and a drink was waiting for me when I finally reached the pub. What a nice bunch of people to go walking with!

Thank you to Ian for leading this walk and providing the photo of the lychgate.

Walk 479 - Nettlebed

Nettlebed Walk
Keith's Nettlebed Walk.

Sunday 3rd October: Undeterred by the previous day's heavy rain and fuelling uncertainty, six of us assembled in Nettlebed for this ramble around the Chilterns and were eventually blessed with some blue skies and sunshine.

Heading north-west on well-trodden byways toward the Chiltern Way and then west to join the northward march of the Ridgeway provided some broad vistas as we headed to Swyncombe House, where we admired the 11th Century church and agreed to return in February for the Snowdrop teas.

Nettlebed Walk
Keith's Nettlebed Walk.

Our lunch stop was by the pond at Russell's Water then on to Pilshill and a brief detour to admire another fine church complete with harvest-festival offerings.

The return south via the Oxfordshire Way gave us a chance to blow a bit on the slopes through imposing woodland and on to emerge at Bix Bottom and complete our hat-trick of churches at the ruins of St. James' church and its tranquil setting.

Thanks to all for their enthusiasm and good company.

Thank you to Keith from leading this walk and writing it up. Thank you to Ian for the photos.