Monday, 2 March 2015

Streatley to Bury Down (The Ridgeway 8)

A dovecote in Streatley

It's a remarkably lovely day to resume The Ridgeway. We start by walking up the hill away from Streatley, where we see this fine dovecote over to the left.

Near the top of the hill we turn left onto a minor road and are soon presented with this lovely stand of trees viewed against the hills behind.

A little further on we pass Thurle Grange, fully in view through a gap torn in the hedge. We last came this way, walking in the reverse direction, in August 2008, when only the gate pillars could be seen. It is apparently a livery yard. We thought the house might be from the 1920s.

Further along the road we began to see catkins and there was much enthusiasm about teh advent of spring.

After some houses, the road gave way to a track, which is how it will continue across the North Wessex Downs.

Off to the left (south) there were grassy fields and rollings hills.

Passing to the north of the downland villages of Aldworth and Compton, we crossed a former railway line and wondered why it had not been restored as a path or cycling trail. Soon afterwards we stopped for a picnic lunch, crouching behind some bushes to get out of the headwind we had been walking into for some while.

The path now descended, with a ridge ahead which carries the busy - and noisy - A34.

After a steady climb, there was a great view back, in which The Ridgeway can be seen snaking diagonally across the landscape.

It remained only to take a slightly surprising right turn as we approached East Ilsley and follow a more grassy track to go under the A34 and continue to the car park at Bury Down.

Conditions: bright, very windy, cold.

Distance: 8.2 miles. Distance now covered 52.3 out of 86.8 miles.

Map: Explorer 170 (Abingdon, Wantage and Vale of White Horse).

Rating: four stars. Wonderful wide open country, with great views in all directions (ignoring the Didcot power station of course) and scarcely a sign of habitation.

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