Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Mortimer/Silchester (Roman Amphitheatre and Foudry Brook)

The Roman Amphitheatre, Silchester

You start the walk by Mortimer church, leaving the village by a series of unmade up roads and paths. You head south along a pleasant farm track then through a wood and across fields to reach the edge of Silchester and the splendid Roman Amphitheatre. The return leg follows a track and then a small road for a while before turning off to join the bank of the Foudry Brook to return, through fields, to Mortimer. The final section passes through a small pine wood and crosses the large grass area known as the Fairground. 5 miles.

A nicely varied walk with the added interest of the remains of the Amphitheatre, although some imagination is required as there is now (as the photo shows) only an open space with a raised mound around it. The walk can be usefully extended by going on into Silchester, past the church and waling the circuit of the old roman walls. This is a real delight.

Rating: three stars.

From: Rambling for Pleasure: Around Reading second series by David Bounds for the East Berkshire Ramblers’ Association Group.

Map: Explorer 159 (Reading, Wokingham & Pangbourne).


Not very good conditions: early evening and an incipient thunderstorm. Lots of Meadow Brown butterflies took flight as I passed by. And, sadly, what I can only describe as a pile of 5 dead baby rabbits by the side of the track in one place. What on earth can have accounted for that?

The Roman Amphitheatre

A helpful sign reveals that the Amphitheatre was built between 50 and 75 AD and was used for executions, gladiatorial combats and wild beast fights. However, this exciting description is undermined by the next paragraph which says that the evidence is in fact unclear and that most of the bones recovered were of horses. The Roman name for Silchester was Calleva.

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