3 March 2020: Littlecote to Chilton Foliat
Start point grid reference: SU 306 703GPX file
The day was overcast but my wife and I set off on this walk from Littlecote House in the hopes that it would remain dry. We did have to don our waterproofs for ten minutes or so but otherwise the weather was just overcast. As it has been very wet recently, we deliberately chose a route that avoided the paths most likely to be waterlogged.
We started by walking up the entry drive and then turned west on to a well-made footpath. Just south of Park Coppice we took the path north-west which skirts the coppice. The spur in the GPX file at Park Coppice shows where I went wrong and we had to retrace our steps. The path down from the coppice towards Ramsbury had a fair amount of exposed chalk, which can get slippery when wet, but there were enough firm patches left to make the going safe.
The spur in Ramsbury is not due to a mistake on my part. We were too early to pop into a pub for lunch so we decided to make use of the public toilets.
The footpath going east after Whittonditch is not marked, so we initially missed it. In fact from here to the roadway south of Eastridge it is not easy to find the correct path on the ground. The nice farm track is not the right one to take, although we did follow it for a while.
The public footpath east from the Soley Farm Stud has been diverted to follow the farm track, which is straighter. It was very muddy when we made our way along it. We met the farmer coming towards us in a lightweight four-wheel drive farm vehicle. He stopped and talked to us, telling us how the recent heavy rains had made it difficult to deal with the crops. He said he was having difficulty making his way around in what was supposed to be the lightest farm vehicle on the market. We had noticed his wheels slipping as he came towards us.
From there we walked along the B4001 until we reached Chilton Foliat. Ironically, having reached Ramsbury too early for lunch, we realised we had reached Chilton Foliat too late for lunch. Instead we sat on a bench and ate some emergency rations we had brought with us.
From Chilton Foliat we crossed the river by the “Fairy Bridge”. It is easy to see why it is called that; the river looks very pretty at this point.
Once back to the road it was a straight walk west along the road and drive to Littlecote House.