Walk 229 - Tilford, Crooksbury Hill and Waverley Abbey
Stopping on Crooksbury Hill to admire the view.
On Saturday 25th June, Sue repeated a walk that she had led for us a couple of years ago. This walk is slightly outside our usual area being in Farnham, Surrey, but is not too difficult to get to. Five of us met up by the green in Tilford where the walk started.
The sun shone as we walked along Tilford Street, the main road through the village and then branched off along a footpath heading towards Normanswood. Next we joined a green lane leading to Charleshill and from there we passed through the sandy woodland of Crooksbury Common. After ascending Crooksbury Hill, we stopped to admire the view and have our picnic lunch.
Just as we finished our packed lunches, the rain started. We descended Crooksbury Hill and crossed the earthworks of Soldiers Ring on our way to The Sands, a small village with a pub.
Standing outside Mother Ludlam's Cave.
The rain stopped and the sun came out as we reached The Barley Mow pub and we decided to sit in the beer garden with our drinks. Sun glasses and hats went on just in time for the sun to fade into rain. As we decamped into the pub, it began to hail.
The downpour had conveniently stopped by the time we'd finished our drinks, so we continued along Sand Road, past Farnham Golf Club, and then joined the North Downs Way. This we followed until the intersection with the Greensand Way, which took us alongside the River Wey on a path sheltered by tall trees.
Sheltering from the rain in the ruins of Waverley Abbey.
Along the way, we stopped to look at Mother Ludlam's Cave - a sandstone cave with an ornate stone entrance, now gated. After peering into the dark interior, we continued along the Greensand Way until we reached Waverley Mill Bridge, to be met by an ominous rumble of thunder.
We walked through a field alongside the River Wey to see the remains of Waverley Abbey, the first Cistercian abbey in England, founded in 1128. The rain started in earnest as we found shelter under what remained of the vaulted ceiling of the lay brothers' refectory.
The thunder and rain eased up after a short wait, so we ventured out of our shelter and explored the rest of the abbey before making our way through the rain-soaked fields back to Waverley Mill Bridge. Rejoining the Greensand Way, we followed it through Sheephatch Copse and eventually back to Tilford, where we had started our walk. See our route on Bing Maps.
By now the sun was shining again, so the waterproofs came off and the sunshades went on, in time for the journey home. Unsurprisingly there were some very deep puddles on the roads back!
Walk 228 - Holyport Figure-of-Eight
On Saturday 18th June, seven of us completed a 10 mile figure of eight walk around Holyport Green. Weather started grey luckily a smattering of rain did not diminish the spirit of the walk and by the afternoon it had brightened up and the sun came out.
The 5½ mile morning walk started at Holyport Street, taking in meadows onto Stroud Farm Lane through rapeseed fields towards Fifield named after the five fields we passed through. We walked the paths along numerous manicured polo fields. Our path passed a large private estate which boasted at least one full sized train along with its own signal and track on its lawn along with various discarded carriages scattered around the garden.
Posing for a photo on the Holyport figure-of-eight walk.
The last part of our walk took us along Gays Lane past John Gay House onto a footpath known locally as Click Clack, which is reputed to be haunted, before heading back down to Holyport. Our leisurely lunch was back on the green overlooking The George pub.
The afternoon’s 4½ mile meander through tranquil countryside ranged from paddocks to more trimmed polo grounds. The walk took us through Stud Green onto Rolls Lane over the A330 heading through lush meadows towards Touchen End.
Then along a tree lined bridleway called Blackbird Lane. Numerous blackbird pie ditties kept us amused as we headed along Primrose Lane passing gardens filled with roses climbing up the houses. We skirted alongside a small holding with alpacas, goats and ducks on the way towards Moneyrow Green. Bartletts Lane followed taking us back to Holyport Green. The walk concluded with a well-deserved drink in the garden of the Belgian Arms overlooking the picturesque village duck pond.
Except for a couple of odd wet paths we encountered little mud and the walk proved to be a good relatively flat ramble through unspoilt quiet countryside.
Thank you to Phil and Tina for leading the walk, writing it up and providing the photo.
Walk 227 - Turville, Marlow Common and Fingest
What is this strange bushy creature - and who has it eaten?
On Saturday 11th June, Phil and Tina led their first walk for us. Eight of us turned up in Turville on a grey and humid morning. For a short while we thought we had more than eight but it turned out to be another group of walkers starting from the same location.
We set off on the Chiltern Way heading south-west but we didn't follow it for long, turning off and heading south-east through Poynatts Wood to Poynatts Farm at Skirmett. Walking through this little hamlet, we passed The Frog pub and continued on a well-established footpath heading south towards Hambleden. On the way we passed a strange, man-eating, hedge-like creature, with the boots of a recent victim poking out of its mouth!
Walking through a wheat field near Cherry Tree Farm.
Just before entering Hambleden village, we turned off and headed up Pheasant's Hill. Steep at first, it soon levelled off and the route took us across fields and through woodland to Woodend Farm. Here we stopped at a grassy spot by the edge of a field to have our picnic lunch.
Suitably refreshed, we turned south into Homefield Wood and joined Shakespeare's Way. This we followed until reaching Davenport Wood, where we left it for another section of the Chiltern Way, taking us to Bovingdon Green near Marlow. We were now about half way round our fifteen mile route and the rain was still holding off, despite the abundance of dark clouds.
Climbing the hill at Mundaydean.
Next we descended to Mundaydean Lane and then made the long ascent to Copy Farm at Copy Green before descending again to Shillingridge Wood. We continued through Moor Wood and Moor Common, eventually reaching the tiny village of Fingest. Here we re-joined the Chiltern Way, following it back into Turville. See our route on Bing Maps.
It was about 5pm when the walk finished but most of us had time to stop for a drink at the Bull and Butcher pub. For a first walk, the leaders were quite ambitious with this long and complex route, but they carried it off flawlessly, putting some more experienced leaders to shame. Well done Phil and Tina!
Walk 223 - Wick Hill and Longwater Lane
Walking through Wick Hill.
Seventeen people went on our walk on Sunday 22nd May, which included a few newcomers and visitors from other groups. We set off from the car park at the junction of Nine Mile Ride and Finchampstead Road and soon turned off the main road into a Wick Hill Lane. The lane gradually became a footpath, which took us to Wick Hill and then south to North Court Farm.
Crossing the B3348, we followed Dell Road as it descended to the bottom of Finchampstead Ridges, an area of outstanding natural beauty currently owned by the National Trust. Weaving our way through the woodland, we emerged from The Ridges and made our way down to Moor Green Nature Reserve.
An overgrown path through Moor Green Nature Reserve.
We walked passed the lakes and gravel extraction equipment, then through overgrown paths until we reached Finchampstead Sports Club, stopping on the way to look as an historic signpost, parts of which are made from a yew tree that dates back to the time of King Henry VII. We stopped for our picnic lunch, sitting on some benches where we could see a cricket match taking place.
After lunch we continued north along a footpath uphill to the Saxon church of St James. Here we stopped to look at a young oak tree planted in 2002 to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee. This replaced an oak that was planted there in 1887 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
Parts of this signpost date back to the 16th Century.
We didn't stop for a drink at the nearby Queen's Oak pub as we were going to have a tea stop later on the walk. (We don't always have a pub stop on every walk.) Continuing north along footpaths, we reached Nine Mile Ride, which we crossed to enter California Country Park. We followed a route around Longmoor Lake and then stopped off at the café for tea and cake. (Some of us had ice creams instead.)
Finally we left the park and followed Nine Mile Ride back to the car park where we had started, having walked about 8 miles. See our route on Bing Maps. The weather forecast had predicted a grey day but we'd had sunny intervals all through the walk.
Walk 222 - Basingstoke Canal Figure-of-eight
Wilk's Water. Back a bit. Back a bit more. A bit more... Woah!
On Saturday 14th May, twelve of us met up in the free car park at Odiham Wharf for a figure-of-eight walk. (This being a walk where the route passes the start location about half way through, allowing people to stop after a short walk or continue for the full walk.)
We set off along the Basingstoke Canal tow path heading east, passing under the A287 Odiham bypass and stopping off to look at Wilk's Water, a picturesque pond by the side of the canal. While we were looking around, we were joined by one of our members who had arrived late after getting slightly lost on the way to the car park. Now we were thirteen strong.
Tundry Pond in Dogmersfield Park.
Continuing on the tow path we passed under many old bridges as the canal wove its way through woodland and fields. We stopped when we got to Barley Mow Bridge, to take a swig of water and maybe have a snack. When I led this walk a couple of years ago, we had to leave the canal at this point as there had been a land-slip blocking the canal and its tow path.
After our short stop, we continued along the tow path - including the recently repaired section - until we reached Blacksmith's Bridge. We crossed the bridge and left the canal behind as we entered Dogmersfield Park. We sat on the grass by Tundry Pond to have our picnic lunch.
A cow cleaning her calf in Dogmersfield Park.
After lunch we followed a footpath through Dogmersfield Park and down to Dogmersfield Lake. On the way we saw some large highland cattle and a stag standing perfectly still under a tree. It stayed so still for so long that we began to suspect it wasn't quite what it seemed. In fact it was a wooden sculpture!
We entered the muddy woodland of Forest Park. This was the muddiest part of the walk but it didn't last long before we left the woodland for an open field leading to the tiny hamlet of Broad Oak. Passing through, we were back on the canal tow path again, retracing our steps back to the car park. With the first loop of the figure-of-eight done, only one member departed.
Stopping to look at the remains of Odiham Castle.
The second half of the walk took us further west on the canal before leaving it for Lodge Farm and then The Derby Inn for a drink. After a pleasant rest in the beer garden, we continued our walk, now following the River Whitewater instead of the canal. We made our way through North Warnborough, crossing the Whitewater at a ford before rejoining the canal at Odiham Castle (also known as King John's Castle).
After a wander round the remains, we continued on the canal, over the aqueduct (blink and you'll miss it) and on to Greywell. On the way we saw various aquatic birds, including a number of mallard ducklings and a pair of swans with four cygnets.
A pair of swans with their cygnets by the Basingstoke Canal.
We left the canal at the entrance of the Greywell Tunnel. (This tunnel is closed to river traffic and is now home to various species of bat.) We walked out of Greywell and crossed a field to the edge of North Warnborough, where we rejoined the canal at a swing bridge. Crossing the swing bridge, we followed the tow-path and canal through North Warnborough and back out into the open, where we retraced our steps to the car park. See our route on Bing Maps.
It was about a quarter to five by the time we'd finished and we'd covered over 12 miles, a bit longer than the 10 miles stated in my description on the programme but nobody seemed to mind.
Walk 221 - Wayfarer's Walk and Hannington
Walking through oilseed rape on the Wayfarer's Walk.
Ten of us met up on Sunday 8th May at the White Hill car park on the Wayfarer's Walk. This long-distance footpath goes from Combe Gibbet at Walbury Hill to Emsworth on the south coast - a distance of about 70 miles. We were going to walk just four miles of it as part of our circular walk.
Setting off from the car park we immediately joined the Wayfarer's Walk, heading south-east. Walking through a bright yellow field of oilseed rape, we approached Walkeridge Farm and its little caravan site. Passing the farm and descending through woodland we entered the hamlet of North Oakley. The Wayfarer's Walk then took us out again, heading south-east through open fields.
Entering the woodland of Warren Bottom Copse.
A gentle uphill stretch took us to Freemantle Farm and then through more fields and woodlands. We said goodbye to the Wayfarer's Walk as it crossed White Lane, which we began following eastward. Reaching a crossroads, we turned north onto Hannington Road. After half a mile we left the road and took a footpath into Warren Bottom Copse.
Walking through this lovely piece of woodland, we were amazed by the sea of bluebells surrounding us. Photographs somehow don't do justice to bluebells, but it does at least give you some idea of what we saw. As the path left the woods, we stopped to eat our picnic lunch in dappled shade.
A sea of bluebells in Warren Bottom Copse.
Another mile through gently undulating fields led us to the picturesque village of Hannington, where we stopped for a drink at The Vine pub. This was most welcome as it was a particularly warm day. (The pub also sold ice-creams!) After a pleasant rest in their garden, we crossed the village green, passed the church and joined a footpath leading northward out of the village.
We took a hilly route through farmland and then turned westward into the woodland at the top of Cottington's Hill. This passed by the transmitter mast and descended through Stubbington Down before joining the Wayfarer's Walk very briefly to return to the car park. See our route on Bing Maps.
Walk 219 - Shakespeare's Way and Thames Path
Admiring the blueblells in Heath Wood.
William Shakespeare died in Stratford-upon-Avon on 23rd April 1616. Exactly 400 years later, the Berkshire Weekend Walkers led a walk that included a couple of sections of the Shakespeare's Way, a long-distance path that links Stratford-upon-Avon to the Globe Theatre in London. (A total of 146 miles.)
Eleven of us, including two newcomers and a dog (twelve of us if you count the dog) set off from the car park on Skirmett Road, near Mill End. We followed a footpath heading north, through open fields, towards Hambleden. Before reaching Hambleden we joined the Shakespeare's Way, heading uphill towards Rotten Row, gaining 75m (250ft) of altitude in just a quarter of a mile.
Re-joining the Shakespeare's Way in Heath Wood.
Before reaching Rotten Row, we diverted from the long-distance path and headed north and further uphill. Joining a lane taking us east, we entered Heath Wood to be greeted with a carpet of bluebells. Finally going downhill, we turned south through Heath Wood and picked up the Shakespeare's Way again.
We followed the long-distance path through Homefield Wood, open fields, Pullingshill Wood, Davenport Wood and Little House Farm. We left the Shakespeare's Way as it crossed the A4155 close to Marlow and followed Harleyford Lane down to Temple Lock. Taking advantage of the benches at Temple Lock we stopped for our picnic lunch.
Temple Lock on the River Thames.
After lunch, we crossed the Thames to the southern bank and began following the Thames Path westward. This path included a couple of bridges that took us onto an island at Hurley Lock and then back to the same side of the Thames. We followed the Thames Path for about four miles, to the hamlet of Aston, where we stopped off at The Flower Pot pub for a drink.
Suitably refreshed, we continued along the Thames Path until we reached Hambleden Lock. We crossed the lock and the weir, which took us into Mill End. It was a short walk from there back to the car park from which we had started. See our route on Bing Maps.
Walk 217 - Virginia Water and Cowarth Park
Sunday 10th April's walk saw a group of twelve head off from Ascot train station in the spring sunshine.
We followed paths and woodland tracks (including one short back track to check our route as Kathy couldn't spot the railway arch marker!) leading on to the 12th century St Michael's church, where we took a short break and viewed the 1,000 year old yew tree and local history board, and had a chat with the lady vicar. The church path then took us around the edge of Silwood Park part of London University.
Heading from Virginia Water to Cowarth Park.
Quiet roads and footpaths then led us to the edge of Virginia Waters and skirting through part of this to emerge near Cowarth Park. Walking through the estate and past polo fields we had our lunch stop by the lakeside.
Following our rest we continued on to join a bridleway and wooded copse before emerging onto roads opposite Wentworth estate and golf course. Entering the estate we meandered past palatial residences and over fairways, then following paths and light woodland headed out to a pretty housing estate. Crossing a road to take a pathway which weaved along behind houses until reaching the main road we were now in sight of Sunningdale station and the end of our walk.
Except for the odd wet bridle and woodland path we encountered little mud and good relatively flat walkways. From churches to parks and mansions made this an ever changing pleasant walk in good weather.
Thank you Kathy for leading the walk and providing this write-up.
Walk 216 - Hailey, Ibsden and the Ridgeway
Heading down to Warren Farm before the inevitable up to Warren Hill.
On Saturday 2nd April, fifteen of us (including a few visitors to the group) gathered in the sunshine outside the King William IV pub in the small village of Hailey in Oxfordshire.
We set off along the lane outside the pub until it ran out and became a track at Hill Farm. We then turned south and followed the Chiltern Way through Warren Farm, past Warrens Chase and into woodland at Berins Hill. Here we departed from the Chiltern Way to loop back through the wood and out into open fields leading to Wellplace Farm. Joining a bridleway, we headed east to Ibsden Heath.
Morrell's Bottom, on The Ridgeway.
Turning north at the heath, we passed through Homer Farm, Upper House Farm, Ridgeway Farmhouse and Timbers Farm before we reached The Ridgeway. This ancient trackway goes from Overton Hill, near Avebury, to Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire. The short section we were to include in our route was the section that follows the course of Grim's Ditch. But before following it, we stopped for our picnic lunch.
We followed The Ridgeway westerly for a couple of miles before leaving it for the Icknield Way, heading south. Before long we turned left (east) towards Woodhouse Farm, where our leader got slightly confused over the route! (It can happen to the best of us.)
Enjoying a drink at the King William IV pub after the walk.
After a bit of back-tracking, we were on course again and heading south along another section of the Chiltern Way, through Wicks Wood and Poors Farm back to Hailey village. See our route on Bing Maps.
After off-loading rucksacks, etc., most of us headed for the King William IV pub for a post-walk drink. Greg, one of our members who has been in the Berkshire Weekend Walkers since it started, was celebrating a birthday that day and had brought along a cake. This was divided up into many segments so we could all have a piece.