Wednesday, 16 September 2015

A Walk Up The Ridgeway

The weather has been pretty miserable here in West Berkshire for the past few days and I've been off work poorly too. I've barely had the energy to get out of bed, but I'm a big believer in "fresh air does you good", so yesterday I donned the wellies, warm clothes and a rain coat and took Barry for a 3.5 mile walk which he loved even if I struggled. I do feel much better today so there's something to be said for forcing yourself to shake off the germs and persevere (that's what we were made to do as kids!).

I tried a different route yesterday as I wanted to learn a different loop to do to keep Barry interested as he likes change just as much as I do. I was sure to still go past his favourite little stream (which is in fact the River Pang, eventually flowing to the Thames) so he could have a swim. He's obsessed with water and especially likes chasing anything on the top of the water, i.e. dandelion fluff!

Barry having a dip and a slo-mo shake!
We then carried on along the route, crossed the road and continued up a by-way and onto The Ridgeway, which is also a by-way (restricted during the winter months). It's times like this when I wish I still had a horse because it was beautiful up there and I'd have loved to canter along admiring the view while Barry tried to keep up. One day I'll have a horse again (I hope). It was sunny when we reached the Ridgeway, if a little windy, but there were lots of walkers and mountain bikers around making the most of this ancient road. Sadly no horses to be seen but Barry sniffed out and had a chew on some horse 'parcels' along the track; I assume for sustenance or just because he enjoys eating anything and everything (he has an insatiable appetite for doormats - we no longer have one in our hallway as I'm fed up of picking up all the bristly bits and buying new mats!).
The view behind us of the fields that surround our village - sky a bit too bright in this pic.
I can imagine that the view from up on the Ridgeway at any time of year is  spectacular as you can see for miles. I'm sure these hills are pretty unsubstantial to some of you but to a girl who's grown up in Flat Cambridgeshire and the Fens these are remarkable! I do love Cambridge countryside, especially the Fens though and try to visit some of the RSPB reserves each time I'm back that way.
Panorama from the Ridgeway (a sand and stone track at this stage).

There were beautiful wildflowers along the way too and despite these chilly mornings and driving rain it reminds us that it isn't quite Autumn/Winter just yet (though it feels it!).

We were also followed most of the way around by Buzzards and Red Kites, which I frequently spotted soaring above us.

We then left the Ridgeway trail and headed down a bridleway that leads back to our village. This bridleway runs alongside Summerdown Stables' gallops; the racing stables run by trainer Hugh Morrison. Sadly no horses were out exercising as I'd have loved to see that, but I will pop there again sometime, or the next village to ours also houses Mick Channon's racing stables and gallops. The horses certainly must get a workout galloping up the Ridgeway. It took us an hour to do our 3.5 mile walk and I think it tired Barry out for about five minutes. It was certainly good to get fresh air and clear my mind, which I have a very hard time clearing a lot of the time!
We had a fairly quiet weekend anyway as I wasn't feeling great and after all the recent bedroom furniture/decorating purchases we needed a quiet weekend at home to rein it in a little. I cooked a lovely roast lamb leg on Sunday for us both and made a delicious shepherds pie with the leftovers on Monday night, not to mention a few portions for the freezer. I always buy a big joint when on special offer as they always work out great value for money for us two, because I usually manage at least 3 meals out of a joint.
I did also have to give the Buddleia a bit of a prune out the front of our house as it was growing over the walkway and we kept getting soaked each time we brushed past it. I did keep the flowering branches and they're happily sat on my kitchen windowsill in a vase. You'll see in the photo below that Jack also got to christen his new hedge trimmers and give the privet a good haircut. The privet had grown totally wild since we moved in and had reached the bathroom window above the kitchen! It's much tidier now and we have a bigger driveway again, plus I'm sure the haircut will give the privet a new lease of life.

Here's a link to more info about the Ridgeway, if anyone's interested
Have a good week everyone :-)


  1. Oh Barry is so cute, Rocky hound is scared of water - he runs back inside the house if I put the hose on outside. I'd love to take him for a walk by the sea but I think it will be too much for him. It sounds like such a lovely walk to take x

    1. Hi Jo, I think Barry is a bit unique in terms of his breed and love of water, I thought it was only Labradors who were water-obsessed! How's Rocky hound? Hope you're feeling better! x

  2. Your new header of the Ridgeway immediately caught my eye. It looks a beautiful location. Tavi too loves water but only paddles at the moment. I enjoyed the video of Barry! Sarah x

    1. Hi Sarah, sorry for the delay in replying I've been on holiday. It's definitely worth a visit to part of the Ridgeway if you can, beautiful views! x