Sunday, 27 June 2010


Ashford Hill meadows

My last walk was at Bettex in the Alps with views of Mont Blanc. Time for a return to normality! I last did versions of this walk around Brimpton in April 2007 and September 2007. Looking at them now the posts seem quite minimal.

The walk begins at the Pineapple pub in Brimton Common and you soon reach Wasing Wood.

The path then skirts the wood - a very pleasant track - and reaches Wasing Place. It is not quite clear from the photo, but the pediment unusually covers five bays. The original house was built 1770-73 but was destroyed during the second world war. The house you see today was built from the old materials. The stables are apparently original.

Leaving the gates of Wasing Park, you follow the road for a short way, turning left, right, left and then turn into another part of the Wasing Estate beside the delightful Shalford Lake. I was immediately greeted by a number of Marbled White butterflies. Frustratingly, none would land for a photo.

From here, you walk along field paths, cross a road and arrive at Brimpton via a housing estate. After passing the church, you emerge into open fields where a blue-flowered crop is growing. Further blue petals litter the ground between the plants.

This turns out to be flax (also known as linseed), an ancient crop, once grown for weaving, but now for the oil made from its seeds.

You descend to reach Hyde End Road and follow this until you reach the tiny river Enborne, which you then follow through meadows. You then head south through woods and then fields to arrive at Ashford Hill, having now passed into Hampshire.

Now you go through the Ashford Hill Meadows nature reserve. I lost my way in the final section of the walk back to the Pineapple. I knew I had made a mistake and tried to make a correction - unfortunately I was wrong about which mistake and didn't recognise where the correction was not quite right either. Still, I will learn the lessons!

From: 50 walks in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire (AA).

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

Sunny, hot (mid 20s).

Distance: officially 6 miles, but I did more.

Rating: three and half stars.

Flowers of the day

I saw these two lovely orchids just near each other by Shalford Lake. The first one I haven't been able to identify.

But the second is a Pyramidal orchid.

Butterfly of the day

The real butterfly of the day was a White Admiral, but it wouldn't stay still long enough to be photographed. There were also innumerable Meadow Browns, some Ringlets and Small Tortoiseshells and the Marbled Whites mentioned above.

The distinctive patterned wing markings of this Large Skipper are very clear in this photo.

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