Sunday, 18 November 2007


Path by Chill Hill

About the walk
Walking and pubs are inextricably linked in many people’s minds. We have decided to join the majority and combine some of our Sunday walks with a pub lunch. Following my usual practice, I have bought a book …
This walk starts from the excellent George and Dragon at Swallowfield, a pub we already know as it is not far from home. The route follows some pleasant tracks to reach the Blackwater river near its confluence with the Whitewater. The 5 mile version which we took (there is a longer 6¼ mile option) then follows part of the old roman road known as the Devil’s Highway, and finally swings back to re-find the pub. Part of the walk goes around the base of Chill Hill which I walked in the summer.
Rating: 3 and half stars
From: Les Maple - Pub walks for motorists: Berkshire and Oxfordshire (Countryside books).
Map: Explorer 159 (Reading, Wokingham & Pangbourne).
This walk combined elements of other local walks and added some new paths which I have not previously walked. I do like this sense of “joining up” bits of hitherto isolated geographical understanding. Also I always enjoy seeing a landmark from a different angle. I know most of the roads around here, but it is very welcome to begin to know the paths and how they are linked. I can see the beginning of more ambitious self-designed walks.
A cold wet day, so not much going on – or perhaps we were not in the mood to notice. The highlight was a rabbit absolutely speeding across an open field, then stopping dead to presumably reassure itself that it was safe to continue, then another rapid sprint to complete the job. And on the last part of the walk we crossed a field of mint, to be assailed by its smell. A first.

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