We had eleven walkers today and we all enjoyed the sunshine. Our walk took us along the ridge towards the Iron Age camp at Rainsborough. The views across the valley were spectacular in the sunshine. Those at the front of the group saw two deer speed off down the hill and out of sight. We passed through Camp Farm and noted the new deep drainage ditch created alongside the bridleway. The track was very soft and wet underfoot.walking up into Croughton. We passed through the village and crossed into the lane opposite the school and from there into the churchyard, rich in snowdrops. We checked that the old television set dumped in the hollow trunk of the ancient yew was still there and joked with some nearby workmen. We walked between some very interested horses through to Mill Lane and across the fast flowing ford and continued through to Upper Aynho Grounds. No deer here today just rabbits. Over the B4100 and across to the Souldern to Aynho path was reasonably free of mud but the final stretch up the field to the Portway path and the tunnel was very wet indeed. In fact it was a flood with water still coursing down the field to feed it. Back at the Pavilion Sue served coffee and we all enjoyed the cakes from Hazel, Lis and Carol. Claire has backed out of running the cafe so our hopes rest on Kay from Nibbles in Brackley. Let us hope she can manage to organise things to enable her to look after us. Meanwhile huge thanks to Sue who has put so much work into keeping things going
||Through the Woods
It was still raining when we set off but nevertheless nine of us braved the weather and were wonderfully rewarded half an hour later as the sun came out. We had a truly Spring like morning for the rest of the walk. We set off through the village and down Station Road and Millers Lane. We avoided the ford down at the mill as we could hear it gushing across the track, and headed along the foot path towards the motorway. The ground was slippery with mud and water underfoot but it didn’t cling to the boots. A very large tree had crashed across the path in the recent storms so we had to walk well into the body of the field to get round it. Once under the motorway we were soon back at Station Road and walked past the Great Western and on to the tow path. After a few hundred yards we came across a long boat that had broken away from its mooring at the bow end. It had swung across the canal completely blocking it. Unfortunately it was moored on the far side so there was nothing we could do to restore the bow mooring. There was no canal traffic during our time along the towparh so we couldn’t warn anyone. We left the canal and walked up Wash Lane and were amazed when our Biodiversity man, Les, spotted a skylark. It was singing happily and hovering high above a very soggy field. On the edge of Souldern we turned down Millers Lane and took the footpath down to the small stream, over the bridge and up the hill along the wall. We saw a buzzard and had an excellent viw of a red kite just above us. A man was working on restoring the dry stone wall and those at the back stopped for a chat. Back at the pavilion Sue was waiting with coffee and some delicious cakes that some of the walkers had provided. Our walk was 6.8 miles and hard going at times because of the slippery ground. The coffee and cake was extremely welcome.
We had a good turnout today as people seized the chance of a morning out between the storms. There was also good news about the catering after the walks as it looks like we shall have a new caterer serving us from next month. In the meantime we’ll rely on Sue Hales and the volunteer cake providers. We set off through the village down Blacksmiths Hill to Skittle Alley through into the Square and Little Lane to Station Road and Millers Lane. The Ford at Souldern Mill was full and fast flowing so we skirted the wood and crossed the footbridge. A large tree had broken off and fallen onto a shed in the the Mill Garden but did not seem to have damaged it too much. The climb up to Souldern provided an excellent test of fitness which everyone passed. We crossed a couple of fields sparking an interest in two horses who came to have a closer look. Passing through the village we walked up towards Nancy Bowles Wood and joined the path that curves round by Fox Hill. The sun was bright and warm as long as we kept out of the wind. Once back through Souldern Village and down towards the Sewage Works water was pumping out from beneath a stone slab and pouring down the concrete track. it eventually found its way into the stream where water cress was growing. The sheep in the next fields were a lot calmer that two weeks ago when the off lead dog was chasing them. The wettest squelchy mud was at the bottom of the field next to the recently felled wood and it made the climb up to the tunnel path quite tiring. Once there the snow drops in Rylands were lovely. Back at the pavilion we all enjoyed coffee and the homemade scones donated by a talented lady cook. Twelve fit walkers had covered 5.4 miles in just under two hours.
Six walkers braved the muddy conditions today and fortunately no one slipped over. We set off along Green Lane which was very wet and muddy as soon as we left the tarmac. We walked down to Lower Walton Grounds inside the field parallel to the lane. As we approached the buildings we turned left and followed the lane towards Charlton and then passed through the fields. The stream flowed strongly beside us. We climbed up to walk through the old stone pits towards the top end of Charlton Village. Two workmenn who were taking a tea break from resetting a stone wall gave us a wave..
We emerged opposite the school in Charlton and walked down through the village, pausing to admire the waterfall between the lakes in the grounds of Charlton Lodge on our left as the road entered a sharp bend. Through the fields to Rainsborough Camp we came across the leg of a cloven hoofed creature. We thought it was probably a monkjack. As we entered the final stretch along the ridge the rain threatened and by the time we reached Green Lane again it was raining steadily. It was particularly pleasing to reach the pavilion and sit at the table with a steaming cup of coffee and a slice of delicious cake. It looks as though we will have to rely on volunteers for refreshments and setting up and clearing away for the foreseeable future, but if the quality of cakes is maintained that will be some compensation. Many thanks to the walkers who made the cakes and to Sue for serving us and masterminding the setting up and clearing away.
The forecast was so bad that we did not expect many long walkers today and this proved correct. Two brave ladies joined the three walk leaders on a very muddy walk. There was no further rain or sleet and the wind was light. We set off down Portway and continued down the fields towards Souldern. as we approached the grassy field where the sheep graze we saw a dog off the lead racing towards the sheep. They soon fled up the field in panic. By the time we had crossed the field ans passed through the kissing gate the Alsatian was waiting for us and greeted us in a friendly fashion. We tried to see its tag but it was rather resistent. it ran ahead of us into Mr Dealey’s field and was soon over the ridge rounding up all his sheep. We felt powerless and angry as the ewes were likely to be near to lambing. I learned later the farmer had caught the dog and was waiting for the owner to collect it.
We continued up to the B4100 and crossed into Upper Aynho Grounds where we saw a group of seven fallow deer. They ran towards the drive, saw us turned and charged off towards the woods. When we reached the woods the ground was very wet and treacherous underfoot. We crossed the empty grazing field at Warren Farm and returned to the pavilion along the back lane to Cut Throat Corner and then along the Charlton Road. Total distance 4.8 miles. We enjoyed the walk and the coffee and cakes waiting at the pavilion when we got back.