Thank you to walk leader Paul and his helpers for another superb walk in this Saturday's sunshine, which we all really enjoyed.
Paul's walk report
I wasn't sure how holding a walk on Easter Saturday would affect numbers attending the third of this year's BVCT circular walks, so I was very pleased to be joined by an excellent crowd of around forty looking forward to walk on a beautiful morning.
I had advertised this walk as a bluebell walk and on my last check of the route on the previous monday the displays of flowers were not at their best. But I needn't have worried as five days of sunshine had resulted in excellent displays especially between Beech Hill and Ambarrow Lane where the woods were carpeted in a blue.
We had started from the Simon's Wood car park on the Finchampstead Ridges and crossing the road and after a slight climb took us to the path under some very impressive beech trees. After admiring the bluebells we descended down through the fields to Horseshoe Lake. We took the slightly less used route to the west of the lake to join the Blackwater River path.
We followed the river spotting not only more bluebells but other spring flowers including alkanet, stitchwort, celandines, campions and woodruff among many others. We noted the changes the gravel extraction process had made to the Manor Farm site and had now started on the Chandlers Farm side on the west of the river. A new lake with a circular island on the Manor Farm area gave clues as to how this area will be restored. Indeed how these areas can look after gravel extraction is evidenced across the Longwater Road where in a delightful spot between the river and a new pond we stopped for refreshments. We stood or sat on the grass banks refreshed by tea or coffee and cake while we watched several coots and swans on the pond. A heron and a red kite were spotted as was a greylag goose which flew over quite low, probably to land on the river nearer to Fleethill Farm.
We moved on around the pond looking at other ponds created near Fleet Copse to continue past the Catherine of Aragon plinth - commemorating where Henry VII learnt she had arrived in England while he was on a hunting party from Dogmersfield Hall - to turn back past the relatively new allotment sites to re-cross the road. We followed the Lower Sandhurst road untroubled by any traffic except a group of cyclists all dressed up in team kit who seemed intent on breaking speed records and weren't going to slow for any walkers in their path. We turned up Dell Road and crossed through the woods to Spout Pond. We briefly paused here before climbing up to the top of the ridges where we stopped to sit on the benches, regain our breath and appreciate the view.
From here it was just a short stroll of a couple of hundred yards under the huge Wellingtonia trees, back to the car park just before the promised one o'clock return time.
Thank you to everyone who came along especially Angus and Marilyn for getting the refreshments on site and to Mike and Keith for their help and patience at the back.
We hope to see you in May.