Walk #2 – East Hagbourne Rambers
August 14th looked cloudy and cool as 14 of us started this ramble, but that’s just fine for walkers and we even saw some sunshine before we finished at 5 in the evening.
In many respects this was our Remembrance Day walk to Harwell run backwards but with one added twist: we avoided the dangerous bit of road-walking on Chilton Road between Hagbourne Hill and Upton. Read on to discover how.
We began by heading west on School Path into West Hagbourne and then north on the byway that is an extension of Main Street. This leads to The Driftway that used to lead directly into Harwell but is now, sadly, chopped off by the A34 which necessitates a detour to Didcot Road and an entrance into Harwell in that way. Almost immediately, there is a footpath on your left which we followed to the cemetery and continued straight south to the Reading Road. The Holloway is only a few steps west on the Reading Road and we followed it for access to Harwell Field.
Part way across Harwell Field we cross another byway that leads up over Hagbourne Hill and eventually to the aforementioned (and suitably dangerous) Chilton Road which shortens the return to East Hagbourne. We decided to forego this ‘shortcut’ and continued across the field (and under the A34) to Chilton. Once in Chilton we walked to Limetree Farm and then followed the familiar footpath beside the Dismantled Railway to reach Upton. It was on this stretch that we observed a combine in the process of harvesting opium poppies. In fact all of the fields in this area were planted with medicinal poppies this year and it was an amazing sight to see their cream-coloured seed heads stretching off into the distance.
The walk from Upton was across the playing field and up onto the Dismantled Railway and back off again at School Path and finally home. The walk took us exactly 3-hours and our faithful keeper-of-the-GPS indicated that it was 7.9-miles long. Interesting to learn that this much safer and more comfortable route was less than a mile longer than the alternative. To be used again!