Details of Previous walks
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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!
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 Walk
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.
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.
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.
Box to Browne’s Folly, Monkton Farleigh and South Wraxall
New Years Day 22