Walk #10 – East Hagbourne Rambers
Sunday the 13th of May. May is often the loveliest month for rambling and today was no exception: it was sunny with a few, scattered clouds and dry – quite a change from the previous week.
15 of us set out for a ramble that we had never before tried. That’s not exactly correct as the route we used has been done before, but this time we did it in reverse. You might call the route “Ladygrove Farm”.
Doing this walk in reverse means heading into Didcot via the extension of the embankment, known locally as the ‘linear park’, crossing into the Ladygrove Estate and emerging at Hopkins Bridge on the ring road. It’s amazing how sudden the transition is from urban Didcot to rural Oxfordshire just by crossing the A4130 at that point!
We followed field-edge paths to reach the house at Ladygrove Farm and the footpath takes us right through their front garden and out their driveway. At this point we crossed the B4016 and made our way up the gentle slope to the top of Down Hill, at the rear of the Hadden Hill Golf Course. We stopped to admire the view back over Didcot and then turned south to walk over Hadden Hill, recrossing the A4130 and crossing over the GWR mainline to emerge at the South Moreton road that heads towards Fulscot.
There is a footpath beside this road but a thoughtless farmer has planted a crop directly across the path which makes it extremely difficult to use. However, because the road is travelled by cars doing more than 60-mph, we decided to persevere and stick to the correct route. That was neither easy nor pleasant and an objection has already been filed with the County Council. Will it do any good?
The return to East Hagbourne is via Fulscot Manor and the ‘diagonal path’ that leads into the village. We completed out journey on Fieldside and then the Causeway which leads back to Main Road and Upper Cross. 7⅓-miles in 2¾-hours. The walkers seemed to agree that doing it this way ‘round was preferable as it put the urban part at the beginning, leaving the pleasant part for the end.