Walk #9 – East Hagbourne Rambers
Sunday the 8th of April, Easter. Cloudy, windy and cool, but 15 folks still assembled for our monthly ramble.
Our start, as always, was at Upper Cross. Given the near-drought conditions, we decided to pursue a number of footpaths that would normally be unusable at this time of year: we started with Church Lane. This took us south to Moor Lane, another path normally deep in mud but on Sunday, although full of ruts, was dry as a bone. We followed Moor Lane to the east to the footpath that runs south to Blewbury. However, this time, we did not go all of the way into that village but rather turned west at the next major crossing – Common Lane. (A substantial tree has fallen that blocks Common Lane – almost – and another is about to fall. We will alert the Highway Authority.) Common Lane is little used by the Village Ramble because it passes through Frog Alley Farm, an intersection normally renowned for its bottomless stretches of mud. Not at the moment! We easily passed through this totally derelict farm and then turned south-west. At the next intersection we turned right and then left on the footpath that skirts the edge of Upton bringing us to the London Road (A417).
We crossed the A417 (with care!) and then took the Hollow Way, past Upton lodge, the large tree house (much expanded in the last year) and the castellated folly! At the fork in the road we took the left hand path towards Saltbox, further along this path we turned left and followed the path that runs just below ‘New Buildings’. From this vantage point, we stopped to admire the views to the North and East and a few of us tried to identify the houses of East Hagbourne some two-miles away. A new barn was identified on the southern edge of the village but nary a house could be seen (too many trees!)
We continued the descent into Blewbury, walked briefly along Westbrook Street and again turned towards Upton along a footpath well known to those who partake of the Fun Run. Noting a much-improved crossing (a brand new culvert) of an unnamed stream, we made our way into Upton and turned right at St Mary’s church in order to head home on the footpath that runs north-east to East Hagbourne. This is a familiar route home passing Shovel Spring (totally dry!) and entering our village on School Path, passing St Andrew’s and ending at Upper Cross.
We walked the 6.4 miles in exactly 2.5 hours.