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]

Thursday 30 June 2016

Burton Hill and Hegdon Hill

Thursday 30 June

Burton Hill (SO395488; 294m)


When Mick sent me his customary ‘Good Morning’ text at five to six this morning he was audibly surprised, when I phoned him straight back, to realise (from my huffing and puffing) that I was already on my way up my first hill. And I’d had a half-hour drive to get there too.

Why the masochistically early start this time? Well, the parking area I’d identified looked perfectly big enough for a car, but a bit tight for Colin, so I figured that if I was going to partially obstruct a gateway, I’d best do it very early in the morning when I could almost guarantee that no-one would want access.


Actually, I was barely across the gateway at all.

Through the gateway where I’d parked were a couple of permissive paths…


…but I’m not sure they weren’t confined to the area of the field, as at the top boundary I found a double-strand, permanent electric fence. With Mick still on the phone I took off my pack and commando-rolled under it. He also got a commentary as I got stung by a nettle as I found my way through the hedgerow beyond, which landed me on a public right of way which would lead me to the top. At that point, Mick rang off to go and prepare himself for his final day at work, and I made my way up a very slippery path.

With the top of this hill being relatively flat, and with any slight raises hidden by the whole area being thoroughly covered in brambles, I can’t say for certain that I stood on the highest ground. However, I did have a good tramp around (stopping every now and then to remove thorns from the knees of my trousers) before climbing up onto the fallen branch that you can see in this next snap…


…which was clearly higher than any of the ground. Thus calling the job a goodun, down I went. It was a short outing, at just 1.3 miles with 500’ of ascent.

Hegdon Hill (SO585539; 255m)


It’s possible to drive to within a minute’s walk of the top of Hegdon Hill, but I’d planned a 3.5 mile circular walk from Pencombe, using the Three Rivers Ride long distance route for my outward leg, with a lane walk for my return. Then I got to Pencombe and, over breakfast and a cup of tea, decided that I couldn’t face wading through yet more wet greenery. I still walked, I just opted for tarmac in both directions.

What I hadn’t considered, in my wet-greenery-avoidance decision, was that the summit of this hill sits on the inside boundary of a crop field, meaning that I didn’t escape wading through the wet, long grass of the field margin. In fact, by the time I took the selfie below, my shoes were full of water and my trousers were sodden to mid-thigh:


Fortunately, the trig point (visible mid-shot) isn’t the highest point of this hill, so there was no issue of crop-trampling. The summit is right on the fence-line, just where I’m standing. 

Getting back to Pencombe (2.9 miles, 300’), I was so amused by the parking situation, with Colin completely blocked in (it was school drop-off time), that I took this photo:


A minute later, as I was unlacing my shoes, a woman appeared and started questioning me as to why I was taking photographs. I assumed that she thought I was going to complain about the parking, but no, she thought I might have caught a child in my snap. I insisted on showing her the photo to prove that not a single child was included and she went away happy (with the comment that I wouldn’t be going anywhere for a while; good job it wasn’t my intention to move straight away, as it was a while before my exit was cleared*). I went away a little sadder about what a suspicious (and would I be wrong to say overprotective?) world we live in.

And that was that - the end of this little trip. Next it’s back to the Pyrenees for us, picking up the GR10 from where we left it last July.

(*It would have been perfectly possible for those people blocking me in to have parked without obstructing anyone, but they would have had to walk, oooh, maybe 50 yards further.)


  1. Ooo, the Pyrenees! Should be good :-)

  2. Yes; Ive also had that business photographing a stone circle on Dartmoor when a snake of school kids were a couple of hundred yards away, and I was challenged by their leader. If I had been a perv I would have been hidden behind a rock with a telephoto/zoom not wandering aboutiin the open with a 20lb rucksack and all the trappings of backpacking.

  3. As far as I could tell the summit of Seeger Hill was on the road. There is a trig point hidden in an electricity sub-station with high fencing and totally covered in brambles and trees which didn't seem to be any higher and would have been almost impossible to visit anyway. I too found locating the highest point on Burton Hill uncertain. There is a trig point, but that is perhaps one or two hundred yards away from the higher ground.

    1. If you look at my penultimate photo, the trig point is most definitely in the crop field adjacent to the compound, not in the compound itself. As for the location of the high point, I go with whatever is the stated high point in the official hill list, which is currently the fence line, 10m from the trig.

      I'm not sure whether I should mention that Seager Hill (SO 61364 38950) is a completely different Marilyn to Hegdon Hill (SO 58528 53924). You haven't accidentally missed Seager Hill out, have you?!

    2. Phew! Just checked your blog and you have been up Seager Hill as well!

  4. Oh dear! - Hegdon Hill (not Seager), looks like I was only a few yards from it - I did walk up the lane a bit. Anyway, I don't think I'll be going back there. I'm off to Penzance on Wednesday - watch the blog.