Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Whiteshard Bottom

Along the valley from Whiteshard Bottom

Unlike most circular walks this one started neither at a pub nor in a village. Instead the point of departure was a byway off a minor road (parking on the verge). The tree-lined byway is apparently part of an old route from Aldbourne to Marlborough.

When the byway reaches Whiteshard Bottom you take a left and follow a field edge path south-east along the bottom of a valley. The right hand side is mostly hedged. We soon discovered a most interesting feature: either side of this hedge a purple crop had been planted. It looked rather like thistle or ragwort.

We couldn't identify it on the day, but here is a close up. Our research suggests Green Manure Crop (Phacelia Tanacetifolia).

Further along the right hand hedge became a more solid wood.

This pleasant winding path ended at a minor road which we crossed to then make a steep climb on the other side. This field also had a section of the mysterious purple plants.

Another field brought us to a logging track. We had enjoyed seeing a lot of butterflies on the route and a couple of late Brimstones here brought our total for the day to 15, the best so far this year. Credit must go to the local farmer for allowing lots of set-asides and wild areas outside the fields.

We continued along the track, now in open country, and passed three mysterious white containers, like giant worms. A sign warned of toxicity, but we couldn't work out what lay within.

Now there were fine views to the south-west towards Martinsell Hill, the highest point on the downs at 289 metres.

At the end of this track, we turned left onto a minor road, then right through light woodland and along another road to reach our starting point.

Conditions: warm and sunny.

From: 100 walks in Wiltshire.

Map: Explorer 157 (Marlborough & Savernake Forest).

Distance: 5 miles.

Rating: three stars. A very pleasant and amazingly rural walk: we passed one house and some farm buildings, and saw one other house on the distant horizon.


SuperExtra said...

Tall purple plant is Viper's Bugloss?

PH said...

Thanks for the suggestion. I agree that Vipers Bugloss is pretty similar. Our research suggests Green Manure Crop (Phacelia Tanacetifolia)and I've updated the post accordingly.