Banburyshire Rambles Photo-Journal

Paul Mobbs’ photographic record of his walks around ‘Banburyshire’ and ‘The Irondowns’, and occasionally, as part of his work around Britain, the areas beyond.

‘Last Chance (HS)To See’ – Scene 31:

‘Berry Close Hill, Culworth’

The scene of rolling hills viewed from the edge of Culworth is about to be remodelled, with a large viaduct and embankment that will divide it from the neighbouring parish of Thorpe Mandeville

11th April 2019

This is the top of the regional ridge-line; the watershed between the catchment of The Thames and The Wash. With the land gradually falling away to either side, putting any large engineered structure through this landscape was never going to be inconspicuous – certainly compared to the (disused) Great Central Railway which winds around the bottom of the village.

Culworth is another one of those places that represents ‘the edge’ of my little world; the boundary of where I might comfortable walk to from town, and back again in a day. The paths that form the apogee of those long elliptical orbits out from the town are all going to be remodelled by HS2; this area especially so.

At the foot of the uphill track that becomes Berry Hill Close stands a rusting bridge; the remains of the connecting line between the Great Western Railway at Banbury and the Great Central Railway at nearby Culworth Junction.

Softened by nature over the intervening sixty years since its closure, yes; but the scale of the engineering between these two railways could not be more stark. This bridge can scarcely accommodate a modern farm machine; while the bridges of HS2 could easily span a house as they try and bridge the steep-sided valleys the cut into the local hills.

The recently refurbished rooves of Culworth Grounds farm shine in the morning sunlight. Beyond, Thorpe Mandeville drapes over the top of the tree-covered hill. In between the Lower Thorpe viaduct will climb above the ridges of those rooves of Culworth Grounds on its way over the hill towards Greatworth.

Panorama south from Berry Hill

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