Thirteen of us set off in warm sunshine on a new route. Thanks to David and Sheila Belcher we had permission to walk up from Station Road to Nell Bridge Farm, cross the Canal and walk back to the Wharf. We took Station Road and Millers Lane, the ford at Souldern Mill was dry, and continued on under the M40 to the railway bridge over Station Road. From there our new section began as we walked up the long track to the farm. On the way we saw countless rabbits and a flock of ducklings. The latter rushed headlong into the nearby lake. In woodland near the farm buildings a deer fled out of sight among the trees. We gathered in the farmyard so that we could all pass through the gated field together and were soon standing on a bridge overlooking the railway. We had a perfect view of the junction where the two routes separated. One via Oxford and the other to Thame and on to Marylebone. We soon crossed the canal and were impressed by the construction where the River Cherwell crossed the canal, feeding it or draining it depending on the water level. There was a minor problem here. The gate onto the towpath was very securely fixed. However we all managed to climb over it. One member slipped on the dry dusty slope and strained a leg muscle. She managed to walk as as far as the wharf but was in too much pain to continue. She sat and had a coffee at the cafe while her husband went back for the car. The canal was very busy with longboats motoring in both directions. Once back on the return route we saw a heron take off by the M40 and fly the length of the tunnel before rising above the trees. Back at the Pavilion we were glad of the usual refreshments after what finished as an eight mile walk.
Eleven of us set off on a cool, overcast morning along the Charlton Road to the Dad’s Army Hut. We took the path across the fields to Lower Walton grounds. The views were good although cloud cover gave the hills on the horizon an indistinct outline. We continued round the Cherry Tree Avenue. The cherries were small and green at this stage although some were beginning to redden. The lay-by had been freshly mown and so had the litter strewn around a few yards from the bin. Sections of tin can and plastic bottle lay all around. Across the road the bridleway was somewhat overgrown but perfectly passable and we were soon over Station Road and into Millers Lane. The ford was very shallow; it just reached the Jack Russell’s knees. We continued up into Souldern and took the path on the edge of the wood with the view across the valley to Aynho Park House. The sheep in the next two fields paid us scant attention as did the cattle at the bottom of Portway. The ground here was remarkably dry and the mud well baked. We were back at the Pavilion after an hour and forty minutes, a very good time for 5.4 miles. This made the lunch and coffee awaiting us all the more inviting, along with time for a good long chat.
There were eight of us out on the long walk today in lovely warm sunshine. It was good to see Trevor again and our guest walker, Loraine. We set off down Green Lane. Now it has been closed to traffic for a longish period the track is overgrown and the slope is a sea of yellow from the buttercups. We passed the buildings and a bonfire of rubbish at Lower Walton Grounds, crossed the stream and made our way up the ridge. Passing through the shrubbery to the next field we skirted the usual muddy section, still not dried out. Views from the top of the ridge were clear and bright. The paths through the rich green wheat crop were clearly cut. It is the easiest time of the year to follow this route. We met a local couple walking their dog who told us of other good paths, but we continued through the old stone pits and into the top of the village opposite Charlton School. From there we walked down through the village and crossed the fields to Rainsborough Camp. In the adjoining field was a large clear-cut rectangle of red poppies. They looked wonderful in the sunshine and we wondered if they had a particular significance. We walked down to the Charlton Road and on to Second Crossing in the hope that the short path which comes out beside the playing field might also have a display of poppies as it did last year. There was not a poppy in sight however. Just the strong green wheat crop. Back at the pavilion Kay and her mother were serving their lunches and cakes. Quite like old times and very welcome after the five and a half miles in the increasingly hot sunshine.
|Walking in sunshine!|