Wednesday 15th May 2019
Lately I’ve been “going places” – walking somewhere, be it following the route of HS2 or looking for megaliths. I realise how much I miss just leaving the house and taking whichever path ‘seems to look most interesting’. A walk to, ‘nowhere’. Or, as that great character once said when trying to divine the way, “It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
Banbury, Bretch Hill, North Newington, Broughton, Crouch Hill, Banbury – 13.3km/8¼ miles, 205 metres/670ft, 3 hours
Thursday 2nd May 2019
On the third, and unexpectedly final day, I wander around a neolithic quarry before descending across the downs into the Kennet valley. All begins well, but then the rucksack issues develop as the morning wears on. By late morning I have to make a big decision before I get to Marlborough to re-stock.
Berwick Bassett Dewpond, The Ridgeway, Fyfield Down & NNR, Clatford Down, Clatford Bottom, Manton, Marlborough – 12.7km/8 miles, 105 metres/340ft, 6 hours
Wednesday 1st May 2019
May Day! Or since sunset last night, Beltane. I arise early as a result of a yellowhammer, wanting it's vegan breakfast, bellowing its lungs out from the top of my tent. I watch the dawn while making breakfast. Then I zig-zag across the ancient landscape around Avebury to find some of the lesser-known prehistoric sites that the car- or bus-borne visitors rarely see. By the afternoon though, the weather is on the change.
Knoll Down, Windmill Hill, Avebury Trusloe, West Kennet Long Barrow, East Kennet, West Kennet, Avebury, Avebury Down, The Ridgeway, Berwick Bassett Dewpond – 19.1km/11⅘ miles, 295 metres/960ft, 9 hours
Tuesday 30th April 2019
For Beltane last year I did a day-long walk in West Oxfordshire to document its prehistoric sites. This year the idea is slightly more protracted: wild camp for four days across the downs; stopping only twice for water in Avebury and Marlborough; and all along the route, photographing as many of the lesser-known prehistoric sites as possible. I take a train to Swindon, then bus to Devizes, which I leave, on this first day, to follow the escarpment of the west end of the North Wessex Downs.
Devizes, Roundway Hill, Beacon Hill, Wansdyke, Morgan’s Hill, Bishops Cannings Barrows, Cherhill Hill, Old Bath Road, Knoll Down – 16.6km/10⅓ miles, 330 metres/1,080ft, 6 hours
Thursday 18th April 2019
It’s not a good day for photography. It’s humid. After leaving Chipping Warden it becomes apparent that visibility is only a mile at most. No matter. If last week’s walk was about following HS2 through the undulating hills of South Northamptonshire, this week I’m going to follow the Ironstone escarpment, where HS2 will emerge via a tunnel and embankment to cross the relatively flat plain of Warwickshire beyond.
Chipping Warden, Aston le Walls, Appletree, The Boddingtons, The Priors, Hellidon, Charwelton – 22.9km/14¼ miles, 300 metres/1,000ft, 6⅔ hours
Thursday 11th April 2019
HS2 is bugging me again. I’ve a few gaps to fill in my photographic reconnaissance of the route before construction begins. Now that the bird nesting season has commenced I want to get out and complete my documentation of the route before the end of the nesting season in the Summer.
Wardington, Edgcote Hill, Danesmoor, Culworth, Sulgrave, Stuchbury, Halse, Brackley – 19.5km/12⅛ miles, 215m/700ft, 6 hours
Wednesday 20th March 2019
Due to eye problems, from the end of November to the beginning of February I spent most of the time laid flat on my. During that time I went on a lot of walks… in my head. Those walks would often come back to the same spot – my favourite local megalith, The Hawk Stone. Given today’s auspicious astronomical events it seems a good day to visit it in person, and take care of another ‘anomaly’ along the way.
Chipping Norton, Churchill Standing Stone, Besbury Bowl Barrow, Churchill standing stones, Sarsden Wayfaring Cross, The Roundabout, Lyneham Long Barrow, Chadlington, Dean, The Hawk Stone, Chadlington Downs – 21.7km/13½ miles, 350m/1,150ft, 6¼ hours