Thank you to walk leader Paul and his helpers for a lovely 9-mile walk starting at St Mary's Church, Eversley.
Paul's walk report
It is 200 years since the birth of Charles Kingsley who was the rector at this church for thirty years, so as we started our walk through the churchyard we admired the huge wellingtonia tree which was planted by his daughter at his funeral. We continued across the fields to reach Lyndridge where we were met by several llamas, or possibly alpacas, who seemed to take a keen interest in us.
The slightly realligned footpath took us above the new fruit growing area complete with artificial pond. We carried on through the pine forest and Heath Warren until crossing the road next to the St Neot’s school playing fields. We headed north to leave the plantation to join the Blackwater Valley path at the New Mill.
After leaving the lanes and turning off into the fields we continued past Jouldings Farm and in the fields beyond we were entertained by a magnificent display by over a dozen red kites who banked and soared in the skies above. Reaching Thatchers Ford where the Roman road the Devil's Highway crosses the river, we noted the recent tree planting near the footbridge and the increased access in the fields on the north side.
Over the seventh and last stile, a walk through a field took us back into the Bramshill plantation. We had now covered five miles and a short walk took us beside a pond where we stopped for refreshments. A couple of swans and a solitary coot showed no interest in us.
After this break we continued on with a mix of large forestry tracks and some narrow paths through Fox Warren. There is only one waymarked footpath through the plantation and we joined it for a short while. We also passed through a primrose patch which unfortunately was unrecognised by some at the back of the group!
Crossing back across the Bramshill road we turned to follow a bridleway before the Old Plough Keeper's cottage. The path took us alongside another pond before climbing up to meet the Welsh Drive. Here on one side of the path is the site of the bronze age bowl barrow of Cudbury Clump tumulus. On the other side is the Park Pale boundary of Bramshill Park. This combination of mounds and ditches allowed deer to jump into the park but prevented them from jumping out.
We continued on the Welsh Drive, once the route of cattle and sheep herders on their way to Blackwater Fair, before descending a narrow track to the very picturesque Arlett's Cottage and Bungalow. Here the quiet road took us back past the church rectory to the church car park. We had completed nine miles.
We hope to see you in June.