Previous Walks

Details of some of the previous walks undertaken by the group are given below.
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JULY 2024
Our eight mile July walk on Friday 12th started at the Cat and Custard Pot pub in Shipton Moyne. The pretty and flat route took us through many summery fields and over countless stiles past Westonbirt House and School (where we relaxed for a coffee break at their golf course), around the Highgrove Estate (too many trees to see His Majesty), and then through some of the enormous historic well-kept Estcourt Estate which has been there since the 14th Century and is now accommodation for a broodmare stud. We detoured to admire St Mary’s Church, Tetbury, and at the end enjoyed refreshments back at the pub in its sunny garden.

JUNE 2024
Our pretty June 14th walk featured a bit of hill climbing and an exploration of the Somerset Coal Canal. Although we did have some heavy rain it was briefer than forecast. Pete Bird led the walk and gave us fascinating facts about the canal, its flights of locks, and other historic features on the way. We had a spirited discussion about whether waterproof overtrousers were a Good Thing. Eight of us set off for the nine mile walk from Monkton Combe. We followed Midford Brook and the disused canal, admired Midford Castle, and then climbed the incline alongside the historic flight of locks through Engine Wood. After passing The Wheatsheaf pub in Combe Hay we started our return by looking for bats in the tunnel under the railway and climbing up to South Stoke. We stopped at the church there with its impressive Norman archway and stories of St James the Greater to whom it is dedicated. We then carried on to Tucking Mill and Monkton Combe via the disused railway and on the way in a hedgerow saw the largest orchid any of us had seen locally (probably a Common Spotted Orchid). The Wheelwrights Arms welcomed us for refreshments.

MAY 2024
A fantastic walk on a glorious day in May up to the Lansdowne monument above Cherhill for panoramic views of our Wiltshire landscape, White Horse and ancient pathways, including the Wansdyke. There were eleven of us on 10th May reminding ourselves of what sunshine was after the drab winter. We walked around Morgan’s Hill and descended to Calstone Wellington before climbing to Oldbury Castle and the Lansdowne monument for lunch. We followed the Wessex Ridgeway and historic Wansdyke back to the car park near Morgan’s Hill nature reserve, where we admired with surprise the flowering orchids. Many of us then gathered at The Pewsham for a cooling drink. Thanks to Toni for the walk.

APRIL 2024
Seventeen of us set off for our 12th April walk with Spring in our steps, enjoying warm sunshine in contrast to recent days, and glad to see that much of the mud on the route had dried up. Our route took us from Holt to Boughton Gifford and Great Chalfield and back. The seven mile walk was imaginative and very pretty: with spring blossom and Bluebells in the hedgerows, and largely flat. It is always a treat to admire Great Chalfield Manor. The cheery group returned to the Glove Factory in Holt where the Wild Herb Field Kitchen provided welcome refreshments.

MARCH 2024
Nine of us enjoyed our 8th March nine mile walk from the Charlcombe Inn, Lansdowne. It’s a lovely walking area and the weather was milder than it had been, although on the higher ground we felt a cold wind! We walked first towards Beckford’s Tower and admired the gold pinnacle (which was the only bit of the ongoing renovations that we could see) and then descended to Weston. Joining the Cotswold Way for a while we then had a coffee stop on top of Kelston Round Hill: there was a bit of mist which reduced the amazing views that can be had over towards the Mendips and the River Severn however the Avon valley was clearly in view. After another impressive viewpoint at Prospect Stile, on the edge of the race course, we had lunch at the pretty church in North Stoke. Many of us enjoyed a drink in the pub afterwards.

February 2024
Our February walk started from Bathford. We quickly noticed extended flooding from the rain over the last couple of days and Pete our leader was aware of a footbridge that had been washed away near Dundas on the Avon.  Happily his knowledge of the area allowed him to modify the route so we still had an enjoyable walk, although a bit longer than originally intended!
We walked to Batheaston to avoid the flooded meadows and then over the toll bridge, along the canal, and up the disused tramway to Bathampton Down.  Descending to picturesque Dundas Aqueduct we enjoyed lunch there, after which we climbed through pretty Warleigh Wood before descending from near Browne’s Folly back to our cars. The walk – nearly ten miles in the end – was tiring for most of the eleven of us and was slowed by the amount of slippery mud around and for many The Crown in Bathford was a welcome sight!

January 2024
Our January walk started from Kington Langley, which was lovely as it is an area I don’t think we’ve walked before. Fifteen of us joined the route which took us through Draycot Cerne and Sutton Benger. The terrain was level yet varied  and the weather was dry which added to the enjoyment. We were surprised to discover a parsnip harvesting machine was at work in one of the fields we crossed. I don’t think any of us had seen one before, and the highlight for some was scrumping the parsnips that had been left behind in the mud! We finished at the lovely newly-opened cafe by Church Farm. Thanks to Elma for leading this and Ruth for stepping up as back marker at short notice.

New Year’s Day 2024

Richard and Toni were joined by nine intrepid ladies for our New Year’s Day walk, who were resolved to ‘Start the year as we mean to continue.’ We had planned to do a ‘ten-mile hilly walk’ and started with a steep climb from Batheaston up to Banner Down, dropped down to St Catherine’s Brook, climbed up to Ashwicke (enjoying the views) and then down again to St Catherine’s Court for lunch. It became clear that ‘Plan A’ was a bit ambitious for short daylight hours, so instead we followed the Brook back to Batheaston, thus reaching the pub in daylight! There has been a lot of rain, so there was a lot of mud (which two of our walkers chose to encounter closely) and swollen streams although I think everybody kept their feet dry. We valiantly overcame these hazards together and at the end, strangely, people said they’d enjoyed the eight-mile walk!

December 23

20 walkers braved our December walk from the Bell Inn at Lacock, probably in anticipation of the lovely Christmas Lunch we had after the walk. We were able to welcome new people to the walking group which was great. Despite the previous wet weather, the day was sunny and dry. There were flood alerts for Lacock that day but thankfully, although the River Avon was high, we were able to continue our walk over the water meadows to Reybridge and onto the Wilts and Berks Canal. The ground underfoot was very wet and muddy but remarkably, despite the slippery conditions, nobody fell over! We crossed the canal at double bridge, headed up Naish Hill with good views as we climbed. We walked through Bowden Park and down towards Bewley Common, back to the Bell where we washed off the mud and sat down to a very sociable Christmas Lunch. Despite the walk being more of a workout than usual because of the mud, we certainly all ate more than we had burned off! Hey Ho! Happy Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year from the St Barts Walkers.

 

November 23

Our November 10th walk was blessed as the rain stopped just before we set off from Burton Farm Shop for our seven miles, but we were still able to enjoy the fruits of the recent rain: giant puddles to paddle in (those with larger boots found that easier) and streams (supposedly paths?) to walk up. The walk took us through West Kington and Nettleton as we enjoyed the stunning autumn colours on the trees. At Nettleton Shrub, just off the Fosse Way, Colin pointed out the remains of the large Roman settlement there. We finished at the Farm Shop, with its enormous pieces of delicious cakes.

October 23

The warm, sunny autumn weather continued for the twelve of us on our eight-mile October walk from Box. After climbing out of the village along the Macmillan Way, we thought briefly of the Roman Empire as we crossed their ancient road, saw the newly repainted Westbury White Horse in the distance, and stopped for coffee to admire Monkton Farleigh Manor along its mile-long tree-lined avenue. We loved the colourful displays of autumn rosehips and berries in the hedgerows. After our picnic lunch by Kingsdown (and toying with exploding seed heads of Himalayan Balsam on the fringes of the golf course) we walked back down into Box enjoying the stunning views towards Colerne. Temptation then got the better of us and we extended the walk to Toast for coffee and cake.

(for details of the below walks please see St Bart’s walks by Colin 2011-2023)

March 23
Box to Browne’s Folly, Monkton Farleigh and South Wraxall

February 23

January 23

Decemeber 22

November 22

October 22

May 22

April 22

February 22

January 22

New Years Day 22

Joint walk with the Corsham Wanderers in the Lake District 2018