Tag name:walking

A real white horse (Sep 2017)

The white horse at Uffington, taken on Sunday from about a couple of miles away - hence the rubbish resolution!

Today I visited the white horse at Uffington as part of a morning walk that covered the nearby Dragon Hill, the White Horse and Wayland Smithy before returning via Compton Beauchamp enroute back to Uffington.
The walk took about 8 miles and just over three hours (part of the reason for the slow speed was the 500 feet climb onto the ridgeway!

The White Horse, as seen from above

Walking to Wales (Sep 2017)

Yesterday I did a walk from Severn Beach to Chepstow via the old Severn Bridge (the newer one (M4) doesn't have a walkway/cycleway on it). This is a walk that is only recommended on days without much wind as you're quite exposed once on the Severn bridge crossing. Also worth noting that you're actually not in Wales until halfway across the Wye Bridge (which crosses the River Wye).

View (looking North) from the eastern end of the Severn Bridge. Most of the view is actually England, although the hills in the distance next to the bridge in the West (left of the image) are Welsh.

Blaise Castle (Mar 2017)

Yesterday I upgraded my castle visit by taking a day trip out to Blaise Castle. This kind of trip is very possible to do when there's no trouble on the trains (I need to change at Bristol Temple Meads onto the Severn Beach line, so if there's a long delay on the line between Romsey and Bristol, I end up having to change plans).

Blaise CastleBlaise Castle is another folly - in this case a three sided castle like folly on a hill that overlooks both Bristol and with views, allegedly, out to South Wales (with the haze around Bristol yesterday there was no chance of that). The grounds of the Blaise Estate are managed by Bristol City Centre and, while overrun with dog walkers, is very much worth the trip.

Bath Castle (Mar 2017)

Today I did a walk from Bath to Bradford on Avon via Bath Castle. I had originally planned to do a circular walk from the book On Foot in Bath by Andrew Swift, but changed course halfway through. The first part of the route, following the book takes you up to the hills east of the city and you arrive at:

Front view of sham castle

This is a nice view of the front - but you should be a bit suspicious as this more side view reveals:

Side view of Sham Castle

This is actually Sham Castle, built in the late 1700s apparently by the builder of Prior Park 1, even if it's not actually visible from Prior Park! (It is visible from Bath itself if you know where to look (the city is, of course, much more built up than it would have been when Sham Castle was built).

After visiting the castle, I continued on the walk as described in the book until reaching Combe Down. There, since it was close to Monkton Combe, I decided to divert off of the described route and headed off in the direction of Dundas Aqueduct and the Kennet and Avon Canal.

I was glad I did, since I managed to get to the Aqueduct via a new route which wends its way to the canal from the hills and allowing me the following view of the Aqueduct:
A view of Dundas Aqueduct looking east from above


  1. which is somewhere else around Bath that I'd definitely recommend visiting, though it wasn't on my route today

Emsworth to Langstone and back (Mar 2017)

View from Langstone Harbour

Yesterday myself, Sue, Matthew and Brian arranged to take a walk from Emsworth to Langstone Harbour attempting to do a figure of eight so that we got two stretches along the shore line while still stopping for coffee and lunch along the way. The day started overcast but, as can be seen from the picture above, the weather steadily improved.

As can be seen from the outline of the route we took below, some sections were repeated. Partially that's my fault (in my youth I used live close to the western end of this map and hence just repeated the walking route I was used to) and partially because there wasn't a particularly interesting alternative!

According to my pedometer, my step count for yesterday was 23389 steps for a (corrected) distance of 10⅓ miles.

Outline of the route taken(Map created using uMap, so the map is © OpenStreetMap contributors 2017)

Over 6 miles a day (Oct 2016)

I keep a track of what my pedometer says I've walked (actually I first multiply its claim by 5/6 - Walking 80 chains in the Combe Down tunnel gives a distance of 1.2 miles according to the pedometer, but 80 chains is only one mile...). I then keep a 100 day running total so that I can see how well I'm doing against the 10,000 step target (which, for me seems to be about 4.4 adjusted miles). Over the last few weeks that total has been hovering at around 590 miles, but on Friday the total reached 600.2 miles!

Today, though, it will drop significantly back below that level (101 days ago was a 16 mile walk, and today is a quiet day at home) and given my seasonal trends it's likely to be on a steadily falling total until the spring. Since breaking 600 miles in a hundred days is a significant psychological milestone.

Bath to Bristol (Oct 2016)

One of my minor goals has been to successfully walk all the way from Bath Spa to Bristol Temple Meads. My previous attempts have usually involved the Bristol to Bath cycle route (which follows the old Midland Railway from Bath Green Park via Bitton). This route, while flat like most routes that use old railway lines, is a bit long. The SUSTRANS web site claims it's 13 miles, but I think a more reasonable estimate is 14-15 miles based on my experience - though to be fair I've always been forced to break it in the middle at Bitton and detour to Keynsham station (which is a significant-ish detour).

Today, though, I decided to walk along the River Avon to Keysham using initially the towpath (which I would note would actually now be hard to use for towing barges since there are plenty of trees along the actual river's edge once you're outside of Bath). This does meet up with the cycle route, which I used only to cross the river from the North Bank to the South Bank and then followed footpaths along the South Bank (and hence largely following GWR's railway from Bath Spa).

Once at Keynsham though, I checked my phone's map (I use the maps.me app which is based on the data from openstreetmap and discovered that from there it was less than five miles to Bristol Temple Meads as the crow flies. The computed pedestrian route was six miles (which, as I'm not a crow or a car, is the route I wanted to follow).

It turned out to be pretty straight forward and followed footpaths in the main rather than roads. Usefully Bristol City have recently given most of their paths a hair cut recently, so the paths were only muddy and not completely overgrown!

I didn't stop for food - big meal was planned (and eaten) for the evening - total journey time about four hours and twenty minutes - which probably equates to about 14-15 miles (so I could have just followed the cycle path!).

Barcelona? (Sept 2016)

I've been enjoying my books giving city walks, and while the author sometimes concentrates too much on the architecture (and not quite enough on history in my opinion), it has lead me to this gem:

20160826_123725_stitch(As this image is a stitch together of a bunch of pictures I took (and have then scaled down in GIMP), I'm quite impressed with how the image has come out - the weird concrete curtains in the middle of the balcony wall is NOT an artefact of the stitching process!)

The building definitely reminds me of some of Gaudi's buildings in Barcelona - but this isn't Barcelona, it's actually Bristol!

(The same walk also led me past this pair of building, which could be from Amsterdam) 20160826_132024

Reaching Devizes (Aug 2015)

Earlier this week I took advantage of having the Portsmouth Harbour <-> Cardiff Central diverted to Swindon to travel direct to Melksham (on the single track line that joins Trowbridge to the Great Western Main Line. I did this so that could easily complete another section of the Kennet and Avon Canal, this time the section between Semington (just south of Melksham) to Devizes.

This section includes the Caen flight of locks, making for me an interesting walk and, I'm sure, for canal boaters, a fearsome challenge. Before you get to the actually the flight, and unlike the canal stretch from just above Bath to Bradford-on-Avon, you've already encountered a good half a dozen or more locks and then you meet this monster - a set of 16 locks achieving a gradient 1 in 30 or better (which is better than any incline on the main line railway).

Once I'd reached Devizes itself, it was a matter of a bus ride back to Salisbury for the journey home.

For the record, I've now walked (in sections) all the way from Bristol to Devizes:

  1. Bristol (Temple Meads) to Keynsham (14 April 2014)
  2. Keynsham to Bath (15 April 2014)
  3. Bath to Bradford-on-Avon (24 April 2014)
  4. Bradford-on-Avon to Trowbridge (11 June 2015)
  5. Trowbridge to Melksham (12 June 2014)
  6. Melksham to Devizes (26 August 2015)

(I did combine the Bath to Trowbridge sections into one on 17 August 2015, and the Keynsham to Bath section was along the cycle path on the old railway line rather than on the riverside path).

I intend to extend this to cover Avonmouth to Bristol and redo the Keynsham to Bath along the riverside at some point. Going beyond Devizes is harder - there's quite a big section to cover Devizes to Bedywn and Bedwyn is outside the "Freedom of Severn and Solent" rail rover ticket area and hence makes this trip quite a bit more expensive - still definitely a challenge worth aiming for.

Whitehaven (Aug 2015)

Aerial picture of Whitehaven

(Aerial picture by Simon Ledingham, visitcumbria.com)

I recently visited Whitehaven to meet up with Sue & Matthew as they sail their boat up to Scotland. As is usual for their travels, this wasn't the original plan (which was to meet up in Liverpool). I travelled by train, with my original plan being scuppered from the start as the train from Romsey to Southampton was delayed by just enough to allow me to miss the Southampton to Birmingham International train. Fortunately this only caused a hour or so's delay to my journey (which got distinctly less busy the further North I went).

I stayed for three nights to allow us two days of sightseeing. Tuesday was spent travelling on the Ravenglass and Eskdale narrow gauge railway and exploring around Dalegarth, which included mistaking a river edge for the path we were aiming for - my excuse is that we weren't the first to make that mistake as evidenced by the boot tracks!

Wednesday we explored around Whitehaven including the Rum Story, which was surprising large and a good museum (lots of information boards and explanations of the exhibits, my personal preferred information source since it allows me to go at my own pace and speed). We also visited Haig pit, an old coal mine (the last one to be closed locally). This was also very interesting, though has only the surface building open.

My return trip was uneventful, which shows it is possible to travel the length of England without trouble (even if the odds are lower than 100%!)