Walk: A circular walk through some very pretty Wiltshire countryside
Distance: Six miles
Accommodation: Will’s parents
Date: 12 September
Walked with: Will and Emily the dog
Pubs: The George is nearby in Longbridge Deverill
I’m frequently told by Will when surveying the latest spectacular landscape we happen to be passing through (the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District, the Andes…)that ‘Yes, it’s nice and everything, but it’s not as pretty as Wiltshire.’
Luckily for me, we do get down to the splendour of south west Wiltshire’s AONB (area of outstanding natural beauty to you and I) every couple of months to visit Will’s family and Emily the dog. And you know what? It actually is very, very pretty down there. If it was part of a national park I’m sure there would be walkers and cyclists crawling all over it, but it isn’t and they don’t.
This trip down was particularly exciting because Dexter the puppy has joined the family fold. He couldn’t come with us on our walk today but I have great hopes for him in the future. Poor Emily was so knackered by the time we got halfway through today’s short pre-lunch walk that we had to call for someone to come and pick her up. I don’t think we’ve broken her but her time for lengthy walks may well have passed. Poor Em.
Anyway, this walk took us out of Monkton Deverill, and gradually up the hillside and past some Wiltshire barns (they have rounded roofs, don’t you know) until we hit Summerslade Down. Lovely views all around, and it was here that we somehow missed the footpath we were supposed to take. Never mind, we ended up on a very nice farm track which took us down past the watercress farm and 17th century Hill Deverill Manor – http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/getcom.php?id=143 – the Ludlow family who originally lived there included a General who was one of the signatories for the death warrant of King Charles I – gosh, Roundheads!
Once Emily had been picked up by her taxi home, we headed straight across the road and a gentle climb up took us up what the OS map described as a road used as path – a very nice footpath that was probably a road of sorts hundreds of years ago but which is now a tree-lined oasis of calm. Whatever it used to be, our friend Ms.O.S. told us we were passing the site of a medieval village. In some parts of the world you can feel like you’re standing somewhere no one has ever been before – even though you’re not of course – but in England it’s more as if you’re walking on layer upon layer of history, even when you can’t see anything.
The final mile or so back took us along one of those footpaths you wouldn’t realise was there unless you had a map or local knowledge to help you out – I found the bit where we walked through someone’s back garden a little disconcerting…
No pub to end the walk today, but we had something much better to go to – Sunday dinner at Will’s parents! It was delicious Lucy, thank you – and it was very exciting to see my first ever Chicken Brick too http://101things.wordpress.com/2006/08/16/chicken-in-a-brick-with-gravy
On Friday I’m off to Scottish-land for a week to walk the West Highland Way. I’m sure it’ll be pretty and all, but the question is, will it be as pretty as Wiltshire? Hmmm…