The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Walbury Hill

Friday 23 Jan image

Walbury Hill, lying to the south west of Newbury, happened to be conveniently near to our route to the south coast today and, being a Marilyn, there was no question of not detouring to visit it. This is another Marilyn-bagging trip after all.

The obvious place to park for this hill would be in one of the two car parks which lie within a 10-minute walk of the summit. To have done that would have given a rather uninteresting outing as it's not a stunning hill top; it's a sheep field on a plateau large enough to mean there are few views, as the surrounding land is largely flat and low-lying.

Fortunately, my route choice wasn't the 20-minute outing from a nearby car park. Instead, from a nearby village, we took a 7.6-mile out-and-back, with the main feature being the walk along a long escarpment, which provides an excellent viewpoint onto the lowlands. It's just a shame, on an otherwise perfect, sunny day, that the views were so curtailed by a heavy haze.

The haze didn't stop us admiring the plentiful population of red kites in the area and it seems that some of them had a good feast during our outing; a pheasant sitting on the path looking very sorry for itself on our outward leg was just a freshly stripped carcasse, surrounded by feathers, on our return.

By the time we were within minutes of being back at Colin, the day had warmed up such that the very top of the mud was starting to defrost. Earlier, along a green lane and up on the escarpment, we had been thankful for the 'crisp' conditions, which had frozen solid the extensive muddy wallows. It could have been heavy going (and dirty) on a different day.

The only downsides of the longer route was that it put us in heavier traffic for the final section of our journey south and meant that we arrived in the dark. I'm eager to see our surroundings in the morning, as we're in an area with which I am not familiar, so as I sit and type this I have no idea what lies outside waiting for us.

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  1. Here is the record of my visit:

    21st April 2013
    The first Marilyn today, Walbury Hill (SU 373 616), had the most extensive 360 degree view I have seen outside Scotland, but because the summit is a vast, gently rounded area it is not possible to convey the drama with my limited photographic skill. I did take a video, but even that does not do justice:

    1. Having just looked at your video, I now appreciate that it wasn't the lie of the land preventing the views, but entirely the fault of the haze. It looks like you had particularly clear weather for that one.

      If I ever find myself passing again, on a better day (which I have to acknowledge as reasonably unlikely, since I only recall having passed that way once before), then I would be tempted to nip back up to see that view!