Walking The Ridgeway and Photographing Avebury

Tuesday, 28 June

11.00 Stopped at Morrison’s in Hinkley. From there down the old route (which is so slow) to East Ilsey where we turned off into the village.  Past the Ridgeway on the edge of the village on through Crompton and eventually to Streatley. Had a really enjoyable walk around the village and the lock.  Had a look in the church and was most impressed by the state of its upkeep - new floor thoughout, beautifully clean walls and ceilings, new pews and choir stalls throughout and new Yamaha Grand piano on specially made casters with a cover.  Obviously a wealthy congregation.

From there to the Uffington White Horse, Dragon Hill and Uffington Castle. Walked from the car park up to the top of the Castle. We had, even at this point, achieved an ambition from a long time ago of walking on The Ridgeway.

Wednesday, 29 June

To Silbury Hill and Avebury where I we saw a field of Flax almost in full bloom

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Travelled back via the A4361 to Chiseldon and then back to the hotel at 11.00.  Made sandwiches, put boots on etc.  Left the hotel at 11.30 and set off up the road.  Followed The Ridgeway to the mark 269 between the two clumps of trees on the map, past Barbury Castle.  Picnic at Smeathe’s Ridge, Lunch at Barbury Castle. On the Satmap we walked 5 miles out and 5 miles back.

Sat and had a picnic at Smeathe’s Ridge.  Saw woman riding by on one horse leading two others.  They were big horses!  Such control.  

horses on ridgeway


Met her again later and she asked if we were bird watchers.  She said she had seen a buzzard and a red kite higher up the hill.

Lunch at Barbury Castle.  Just after that we met a woman jogger who came past us again as she made a return journey.  She stopped for a long chat.  She was from Wotton Basset.  Explained Wood Town and Bassett as a family name.

Changed route as we came near the church and walked past it and the huge manor house.

Thursday, 30 June
3.45 Both awake and thinking of getting up but decided to leave it until the alarm went at 4.15.
4.15 Half a cup of tea, dressed and off to Silbury Hill and Avebury.  

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Fabulous mist, empty roads and arrived at Avebury in plenty of time to catch the sunrise.
Stopped at Silbury Hill on the way through and the first thing I learned was that at that time of day (4.50) there is not enough light for the camera to be hand held.  So you must have a tripod.  I took one shot on auto to see what happened and it turned the flash on and that, in turn, produced an amazing ‘lucky’ shot.
Unfortunately, the mist meant that auto focus did not work and so I had to focus manually which, when I came to look at the photos, did not work for most of the time.  Having looked through the 121 photos my overall impression looking on the laptop is that I have not done well enough.  Maybe there are half a dozen shots that are worth looking at again.
6.10 Back to the hotel and there was nobody about.  Couple of cups of tea and download the photos.
9.30 Off to Rockley and then up to Hackpen Hill where we walked along the Ridgeway for a bit looking for the horse but it was a hundred or so feet below where we had parked the car.
10.45 From there to Marlborough where we shopped and had coffee at Waitrose.  From there to Overton Hill where we parked and at 12.15 walked directly North along The Ridgeway to 725 (Northing) – 2.51 miles, then we turned round and walked back a short distance to sit on some rocks to eat lunch.
3.30 Back to the car and change of boots, then on to Avebury, toilets, postcards, cup of tea and the museums.  Then visited East Kennet.  Back to the hotel by 5.30.


Friday, 1 July
4.15 Up, but no tea today
4.26 Left the hotel for Avebury.  Saw a Roe Deer climbing off the road and into the hedge just along the A346 before reaching Southend.  Saw lots of rabbits.  It did not look as though there was going to be much mist but it turned out that there was more at Avebury than elsewhere.  There was another photographer there when we arrived.  Took some shots from the same position as yesterday and then walked around the rim to the Here Path or Green Street and back to the same position as yesterday.  Used the p setting for the first time since joining the club.  It is a very quick way of getting the f number and time to balance although you can’t stop down when using it.  However, I remembered about the f22 and starburst and tried that.  F36 produced an amazing star.  I like it but I might not when I become a bit more sophisticated.  A couple more photographers arrived.  As it happened, although there was less mist I found it easier to shoot today because I was more confident about what I was doing.

A man in green wellies and a flat cap walked past me right at the beginning and did not speak.  I watched him walk into the field of cows and they came up to him and nuzzled beside him and they all walked off into the distance together. The sheep followed a similar pattern to yesterday in that they got up from under the trees walked around the stones and then some went along the rim.

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Another really successful early morning stint.  The bird song was cacophonous and it left us with the impression that we had entered another world that exists but we rarely see.
6.00 Back for cups of tea, photo downloading and this.
Picked up fuel in Chiseldon and then set off along the spring line. Warnborough,  Bishopstone, Ashbury, Wantage, Farnborough and then the Ilseys,  Streatley, Goring,
We followed as closely as roads will allow to The Ridgeway along the B4507 to Wantage and then B4494 to Farnborough the B4009 and the B488.

Stopped for coffee at The Springs Hotel and Golf Club.  Stopped for lunch at Ivinghoe having
2.20 Left Ivinghoe and followed the A5 to Hinkley and then back the old route.  
Arrived home at 5.00 precisely.