Sixteen walkers set out from the pavilion this morning in damp overcast weather. We passed through the village and down Station Road to Millers Lane, and from the end of the tarmac we followed the long stone wall all the way through to the last stretch of the lane up to Souldern. They continued on the usual route up to Foxhill and the alpaca field but because of my recent injury I returned to Aynho. I was certainly fit enough to rejoin all the walkers for the lunch at the Cartwright Hotel where we celebrated the sixth anniversary of the Aynho Health Walks. This had been organised by Kathy White and we all enjoyed the friendly, efficient service and the lovely food that the staff provided. A fitting way to celebrate our six years of walks.
We welcomed Lydia who is new to our walks to join the ten of us who set off down Portway on this bright cold morning. The ground crunched under our feet but the areas in the sun soon softened into more muddy stretches. We continued towards Souldern, enjoying the wonderful views in the clear skies and bright sunshine. The sheep did not scatter as we passed them and turned up through the fields towards Wharf Lane. It was not an icy road as we were now in full sunshine. We crossed the motorway and continued down to Souldern Wharf. The water-meadows at this end had become large blue lakes but the towpath was pleasant for walking and the colours of the reflections on the still waters were beautiful. At Aynho Wharf we left the canal and returned to Millers Lane via Lower Aynho Grounds. After passing under the motorway and entering the next field we were captivated by the deer silhouetted against the skyline at the top of the hill. We skirted round the ford and followed the track back to the village. Dawn had left everything ready for our refreshments although only four of us stayed. The other walks did not take place today so numbers were down. 6.2 miles.
What a contrast to last week, nineteen of us set off this week, almost three times last week’s walkers, and the frozen snow covered fields and ice covered tracks have turned to vast lakes of water and thick clingy mud. We walked and skidded down Green Lane and turned along the valley track. We navigated round or wellied through the great tracts of water before taking the field edge to the bridge across the stream and continuing towards Charlton. The path across the field to the old stone pits was very muddy, but the pits themselves were still grassy. Not so the next field, more mud. We reached the road down through the village and were relieved of mud and puddles for a while. The path up to Rainsborough Camp was mostly grassy but there was some mud. The ridge walk is still closed off so we finished the walk along the Charlton Road. The pavilion was very busy as Dawn’s refreshments were much needed. 5.2 miles.
Seven Long walkers set off this morning as the thaw took hold. The Portway path was a mixture of mud and slush, as was the field below, but the sun was bright and the views a real pleasure as we continued across the next field, over the stream and across to Upper Aynho Grounds. The drive up to the Old Barn was busy, no doubt for an event but we continued past the buildings and down through the woods and up the other side into Warren Farm. No sign of stock as we reached Mill Lane but in the field behind Croughton there were some winter coated horses. We passed through the village, avoiding the dustcart and crossed the fields to Cut-Throat Corner, Camp Farm, Rainsborough Camp and on to the Charlton Road. Back at the pavilion Dawn had few takers for her refreshments as so few walkers had braved the conditions. 6.4 miles.
Six intrepid walkers and Reggie set out on the walk today. Soon the rain was heavy, hoods were up and wellies sloshing down Green Lane. The stream was not over the track at the ford, much to our amazement. By the time we had climbed to Souldern the rain had stopped. We took the path from Wharf Lane through to the far end of the village passing forlorn looking horses. By the time we were on the way up to Nancy Bowles Wood and the alpaca field blue streaks were appearing in the sky. We continued out to the Fritwell Road and walked back into Souldern Village. We passed the church and just before the sewage works it was clear that something was to be built in the field. As we continued up the Portway path the sun came out and by the time we arrived back in the pavilion we were in bright sunshine. 5.4 miles.
On a cold frosty morning eighteen of us set out in the sunshine down Green Lane, at the approach to Lower Walton Grounds we turned right and followed the track along the valley. We crunched the ice on the many large puddles until we left the track and entered the next field. We continued along field edges until we reached the various paths into Charlton. As usual we climbed to the old stone pits and walked through towards the school. On the way we passed the herd of long horned cows, not seen there for many months. They chose to stay in the sun and watched us from afar. We continued down through the village and back up through the Rainsborough Camp. As the path at the top of the ridge is closed off at Green Lane we took the bridleway down to Charlton Road and walked back to the Pavilion along the road. On such a cold day we were delighted by a friendly welcome and a warm drink. The mince pies were nice too. 5.2 miles.
We set off through the village and down Station Road to Millers Lane in bright sunshine but a strong cold wind. At the ford the water was over the track, although very shallow, for the first time since last winter. All 14 walkers managed to cross it without too many problems and continued over the bridge and along the edge of the stream all the way to the railway bridge near the Great Western Arms. By now heavy cloud had come over us and as we entered the tow-path rain blew into our faces. By the time we reached Souldern Wharf it was heavier and seemed to cut into us. It soon stopped however, and as we crossed the motorway there was another glimpse of sunshine. Once in Souldern Village the sun was out again so we soon dried out. We crossed the fields to the Portway path and got back to the pavilion where Lee and his wife offered the usual delicious refreshments with their own lively style. 6.2 miles.
It was misty but dry as thirteen of us set of through the village and down Station Road to Millers lane. Two stags watched us from the deer park. The ford was completely dry and the stream low beneath the track but on the ascent into Souldern the Autumn leaves lay thick on the newly laid concrete. We took the path from Wharf Lane skirting the Manor. In the second field the horses stood, with their coats on. One rolled around in front of us before standing and approaching in hope of treats. On the track beyond, a late hedge cutter was in operation and in a garden on the winding footpath between houses primroses were blooming. On the track up to Foxhill more golden leaves were scattered and the alpacas kept their distance. We reached the road and returned to Souldern and took the route past the church and onto the Portway path. WE were soon back at the pavilion where Dawn is now well established with soup and bacon butties. 5.5 miles.
What a difference a day makes. The overcast and drizzly weather did not put 17 walkers off this morning even though the change from yesterday was complete. We set off down Green Lane and at the bottom we took the track towards Charlton. The path in the next field was ploughed up so we followed the field edge and crossed the footbridge into the next field. All the fields were ploughed along this path so we continued round the field edges to the old stone pits. Once across those we came across a herd of curious cows but they made no attempt to approach us. From here we walked down through the village and took the path up towards Rainsborough Camp. More cows here but they did not approach either. We were soon walking along the ridge back to the pavilion and Dawn’s welcome refreshments. Good to see more people enjoying them today. 5.5 miles.
It was a damp and misty Autumn morning so it was a pleasant surprise to find thirteen walkers keen to set off. We crossed to the Portway path in the direction of Souldern. At the bottom of the field as we passed into the rising field ahead we were surprised to find that after years as pasture for sheep and cows it was now ploughed for planting. Fortunately it was not too muddy as yet. Our route continued across the fields to Wharf Lane and down to the canal. The water was very still and almost mirror like in its reflections. Only when we reached Aynho Wharf did we see a long boat cruising towards us. Two swans stood on the bank waiting for it to pass. We left the canal there and after passing over and under the railway bridges we took the track back under the motorway to the ford. The ford was still not under water so we crossed it easily and walked back up Millers Lane to the village.
Sadly Dawn’s wonderful refreshments had been neglected this week although there was a wide selection available.6.5 miles