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Image by Loraine

WALKERS: Loraine, Lin, Carol, Phillipa, Marian and Anne (non member) and Teddy (Loraine's dog)

There is nowhere on earth better than an English Bluebell wood in Spring, and certainly this walk did not disappoint.

We parked at the Royal Oak Inn car park (with their permission) and walked under the railway arch, turning right almost immediately by the small cemetery to take an upward track leading to the top of the downs.  On the way, we spotted some cowslips growing on the bank.

Reaching a metal gate, we continued across an open grassy field to the next gate that lead through a small wooded area that then opened out to rough grassland edged by the wood.  Soon after we entered back into the woods known as Ebsbury Copse, following a narrow track that met a crossroads of paths where we turned left. We admired bluebells on the way, wild strawberry flowers and a large patch of wild garlic. We also looked at some very ancient beech trees marvelling at the beauty of their twisting shapes.  

Ignoring a wide track on our right, we took the second right hand track that soon opened out to a clearing in the wood where wonderful purple orchids were growing in profusion. Here we also found a few wood anemones as well as wild spurge flowering amongst the orchids.

With the clearing on our right we carried on a few yards where we were greeted with an amazing 'sea' of the deepest blue bluebells; a breath-taking sight not to be missed.

Having feasted our eyes, we turned back around to the clearing turning left to skirt it, then turning right to follow the track back down.  We turned left then kept on this track, that eventually narrowed, but led us to a gate opening out onto the downland with magnificent views of the surrounding countryside.  We walked diagonally across the field through the middle of a small copse and the grassy humps of what was once a settlement to rejoin the track back down to the Royal Oak.

The walk was just over three miles, and took us one and threequarter hours of which much time was taken just standing and staring at the natural beauty around us.

WI WALK - THURSDAY, 18th MAY, 2017


Image by LoraineWe parked at the Five Rivers Leisure centre from where we took the tarmac path that leads to Stratford Sub Castle.  Along the way, we saw girls from the South Wilts Grammar School playing on their sports field and  admired the allotments further along.

On reaching the road, we turned right and ahead of us was the path called the Portway that we followed towards Old Castle.  Luckily it wasn't too slippery or wet after downpours from the day before and the path was lined with pretty Queen Anne's Lace, as well as less friendly stinging nettles!

At the end of the Portway is a monument dedicated to William Pitt, and here we turned left through a gate, and then right to walk up the side of a field where pretty pink clover was growing, until we reached another gate.  This lead to an open recreation field where somebody had planted a drift of beautiful wild flowers, that we stopped to admire and were pleased that somebody had thoughtfully sowed them there.

At the top of the field we turned left onto a path that led to the outer rings of Old Castle, or Old Sarum is it is also called.  We admired the view across to the towering spire of the cathedral and continued right along the outer rings with views across the farmland.

There were a lot of rabbits, including baby ones along the way, and we also spotted a Great Spotted Woodpecker that was interested in finding insects in an old log on the ground.

We also noticed towards the end of our walk around the rings a patch of wild flowers that we didn't recognise - perhaps we will find it in our reference books though a quick glance in one didn't reveal it's name.

We returned via the Portway again with just a few raindrops sprinkling our way, that thankfully didn't come to any more than that and the skies remained just overcast.

The walk took a leisurely two hours and was three miles long.

SWANS WIImage by Loraine

Our June meeting, on the first of the month ushered in summer with a really interesting, entertaining and informative Speaker. Jane Foley teaches Tai Chi, and after talking to us about the history, uses and benefits of Tai Chi, she gave us a short and graceful demonstration. Those of us who wished to, were then encouraged to have a go ourselves, under her expert and friendly guidance. We all found the experience rewarding and the subject fascinating with several of us considering taking it up. It certainly gave us food for thought.  Talking of food, after our exercise, we all looked forward to, and enjoyed a truly delicious tea with a variety of tempting delicacies that we certainly appreciated.

Last month, a most interesting outing was arranged for us. Several members went to the Milestones Museum near Basingstoke for a gentle stroll back in time – some items definitely before our time, but plenty that we recognized from our childhood too!  It was a great day out, enjoyed by all.  Some of us have also been on our delightful group walk (where we exercise our tongues as well as our legs!) and our monthly creative group keeps nimble fingers busy over a friendly chat, whilst our enthusiastic scrabble group goes from strength to strength.

Our July meeting is our Summer Lunch Outing, which should be fun, but we normally meet at South Newton and Wishford village hall on the first Thursday of each month at 2.00pm.  If you are interested in joining us, you would be given a warm welcome.  For more information telephone Loraine on 743577.