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Footpath Clearance

                     Something to consider for the New Year

The Path Patrol Volunteers continue to be engaged on monthly activities, replacing stiles with kissing gates, clearing vegetation, installing bridges made of sleepers - thanks go to HCC’s Johnathan Tinkler who organises

these work parties, helped by among others, members Tony & John.

This work usually takes place on the 2nd Thursday of every month and benefits all those who enjoy the Hampshire countryside, including, of course, our club.

If you feel that you could help in some way, please contact Johnathan Tinkler at johnathan.tinkler@gmail.com

Isle of Arran holiday May 2016

Far too early on a Wednesday in May, over 20 Basingstoke Ramblers converged on Gatwick Airport for a flight + coach + ferry + coach, to arrive at the Kinloch Hotel on the Isle of Arran off the West coast of Scotland.

En route another dozen members met us via other routes. All of us were prepared for the worst the weather and the midges could do, but our mighty leader Bruce had over-ruled both and we were set for a glorious week, with weather far better than in Basingstoke.

Each evening from the hotel we saw this stunning sunset, above, looking West across the Kintyre peninsula. Each morning the excellent café and shop supplied us with filled rolls and everything we needed, and the walk either started from the hotel, or the 0915 bus around the North Island, or the 0930 bus around the South Island – or people did their own thing. Only on one day did we experience rain – the Giant clearly didn’t like us viewing his grave, right. The next day we entered King’s Cave (where Robert the Bruce supposedly met the spider) and thence to the standing stones on Machrie Moor. Up in the Clauchland Hills we looked down on the Holy Island and the later trip to Holy Island was a special highlight of the week. The ferry only just got us there as the tide retreated, and we were trapped on this beautiful island, the 6th century home of St Molaise but now a Buddhist retreat, until the tide was high-enough for the ferry to rescue us, just in time for the bus home!

Another day some intrepid members made it to the top of Goat Fell (874m), having heard a lecture on the infamous 1889 murder (or was it?). Brodick Castle gave opportunities for a more-gentle stroll (with tea and cake, and pipers). On the final day we circumnavigated the Cock of Arran (quite a climb, and so hot), with just enough time for a drink at the distillery at the end.

We saw seals on the rocks, deer on the golf-course, much birdlife, heard cuckoos, and so much peace and quiet.

A wonderful week, brilliantly organised by Bruce. Arran exceeded all expectations for its beauty and weather - probably all would love to return but doubt we’d get such weather next time! The hotel looked after us well (though the door-cards were frustrating) and the evenings were very sociable and relaxing. And the locals put up with us filling their buses. An excellent 2016 BASRAM holiday.

Thanks again to Bruce and Norma for all their hard work.

Avebury Coach Walk September 2016

We started off in cloudy, yet mild weather from Basingstoke and then enjoyed a pleasant drive to the start of the walk north of Avebury whilst also trying to find a toilet that was open on a Sunday morning. Eventually we made an unscheduled stop in Avebury itself where, thankfully for me anyway, the facilities were open! On to the walk start at Broad Hinton and by now the weather had improved with plenty of sunshine and blue skies. After a mile of flat walking we then tackled “The Hill”

Our efforts were rewarded though by the great view from the top. The only flying thing we saw at this point was a drone, but we did see the round patch of green left, after harvest, from a crop circle in the field below. Refreshed and recovered we then set off along the gently undulating Ridgeway. We had views on both sides and on the ‘Avebury’ side the slight haze created lovely pastel shades on the distant hills. The walk to our lunch stop was uneventful, apart from stepping aside for some motorbikes. Lunch was taken overlooking the dry valley in Fyfield Down (a National Nature Reserve), some of us making use of the Sarsen stones as seats. By now, the weather was getting cooler as we retraced our steps back to the Ridgeway. Here we went our separate ways, those who had decided to take the shorter route set off along the Herepath down into Avebury to spend the rest of the time we had exploring the village and surrounding World Heritage Site. The rest of us carried on to the end of the Ridgeway at Overton Hill, where we crossed the A4 to the Sanctuary and then on to the West Kennett Long Barrow. Apart from the Barrow itself, we also had an excellent view of Silbury Hill from there. Then it was back across the A4, past Silbury Hill and back to Avebury via the car park and refreshments!!

Everyone was back on the coach on time and we had an uneventful drive home, apart from being cut up by a driver in Newbury, thankfully Chris, our coach driver had his wits about him.

Thanks to Bruce for the photos – if anyone else took photos I would love to see them & maybe we could put some on the website if all OK with that. Thanks also to Barbara for her guidance and advice. And last but by no means least I had heard a lot about our driver Chris, but he far exceeded expectations – he was a star!


And then there is mud …..

….... and rain

Bath break 7th to 12th May

Having all arrived safely on Sunday afternoon in fine weather (something which was set to continue for the rest of the week) we met Graham & Sue (our hosts & walk leaders) and then went for the first of our nightly 3 course meals excited at the prospect of the next day’s trip to Bath and, indeed, the rest of the week.

After a good breakfast the next day, those of us doing the walk into Bath walked the short distance to the canal from the hotel & then we made our way westwards towards Bath, stopping for the occasional view, point of interest and wildlife, some of which was very tame indeed To put this photo into perspective we were all standing only about 10 yards from this heron and some of us thought it was plastic until it decided to fly off!

After our drinks stop (& more tame ducks), whilst some  continued into Bath along the canal, the rest of us tackled “the hill” – it was now fairly hot and, thankfully as we got about half way up it was under the shade of the trees. We recovered at the top & then continued along the Bath skyline walk to Sham Castle where we had lunch & a great view over Bath. After lunch we walked down into Bath where we did our own thing before catching the bus back to the hotel. Those not doing the longer walk had taken the bus into Bath & had done a 4 mile circular walk around the City Centre.


Tuesday was the morning of road closures, we couldn’t turn left out of the hotel driveway, and when we got to the outskirts of Castle Combe, where both walks were to start from, all routes into the village had road closure signs. Eventually we negotiated these and made it to the car park and both groups (short and long walkers) ended up having a lovely day in this beautiful area, and the weather was even hotter than yesterday. The group met up again back in Castle Combe, before making our weary way up the long dragging hill to the car park. No road closures on way home, hurray!! Meanwhile, some who didn’t walk with us today had gone to the spectacular Dyrham Park, just north of Bath.

Wednesday was the hottest day so far and while the long walk followed the river towards Bradford-on-Avon (via Dunkirk), the short walk followed the canal into Bradford, both starting from the hotel. It was another lovely day for walking. Both groups returned to the hotel along the canal negotiating the Avoncliffe aqueduct along the way & seeing another very trusting duck family on the towpath side.

On Thursday – both walks were to start from car parks on the Longleat estate, short walkers got to their starting point OK, however some of long walkers got a bit lost, but, eventually found their starting point, and some didn’t make it all – it turned out that the post code for the CP was wrong …. by about 3.5 miles!! Anyway both walks finally got going and a good walk was had by all, highlight was the viewpoint known as Heaven’s

Gate, looking right out over Longleat House and lakes.

Today the weather was much cooler, especially when sun went in and the views weren’t as good as it was much hazier, still yet another lovely walk though.

Back at hotel for the last night and looking forward to our 3 course meal, the usual swede and carrots and which way would the potatoes be cooked tonight!

It had been a great holiday in a lovely area, each day the walks had been very different and the hotel was good as well. So we said our cheerios on Friday and wended our way home via various different routes, some stopped at Avebury, some stopped at Stourhead, and others just took a leisurely drive through the glorious spring countryside.

My memories of the holiday will include the good company, the tame wildlife, the wild garlic, the lovely countryside and last, but not least, the toast machine!!

All in all an excellent holiday was had by all.

This year’s Summer Picnic was held on Wednesday 14th June at Longparish Village Hall. The weather was warm (very) & we had a pleasant 5 mile walk beforehand - except for one field edge where the crop had covered the path making it, what would be classed as ‘difficult’. We then had a sumptuous

repast waiting for us back at the Hall, plenty enough for 2nds! By now it was fairly sunny so no worry about showers.

All in all the walk and the comestibles were up to their usual high standard.

Thanks to John & Laura for organising the hall & to Pauline for co-ordinating the food

Summer Picnic June 2017

Roy Dillaway’s bridge

For those of you who may be doing a walk around this area, as at May 2017 ‘Roy Dillaway’s bridge’ remains in good shape. It’s located at grid reference 661591, just off the Bramley to Sherfield-on-Loddon road.

The Grange 6th September

Silchester and Pamber Forest walk 30th August

Whilst carrying out final checks on a walk route it would be normal to be very upset to discover two very large excavations on a public footpath. However, this was not the case on a footpath at Little London while doing a recce in preparation for the walk on 30th August.

During the summer break Reading University Archaeology department run a hands-on training exercise for students and this year it happened to be in a field in Little London (nr Tadley) which was crossed by the footpath we were hoping to use on our walk.

So, on the day of our ramble, member of staff Dan Wheeler, gave a very comprehensive and fascinating resume of the

aims of the dig, and, what they had discovered so far, including the remains of a Roman kiln from the period around 60 AD. It made for an interesting surprise addition to our ramble.

David (Photos by Robin)

Coach Walk Sunday 10th September

We started at 8.30am from the Leisure Centre driven by star driver, Chris, and made stately progress to Fovant where Neil and the 10 milers headed off to the mountains and the sensible ones started the day with a short walk to view the badges carved into the hillside.

 Thanks to Wikipedia we learned the history of the regimental badges and identified each one.

We then returned to the coach for the short journey to the start of the walk proper in Swallowcliffe. The weather at this time was cloudy with sunshine and not too cold. We crossed fields and climbed up through high pine trees. As we crossed between two ploughed fields, we stopped to watch two large hares having a boxing match! Neither appeared to be injured and they both raced off down the field.

We reached Old Wardour Castle where we stopped for lunch. Some walkers went into the castle grounds whilst others remained in the area outside the walls. Those who ventured inside went into the grotto, the beautiful banqueting hall (where wedding ceremonies are held) and the ruins of the castle where it is possible to climb up 3 stories to the roof for some more views of the surrounding countryside, and, we could see New Wardour Castle in the distance. After lunch the rain came – it wasn’t too heavy but it was persistent! However the terrain was now mainly flat.

We walked round the New Castle, now turned into apartments, one of which is owned by Jasper Conran (the fashion designer). We didn’t see him but the building is very nice - the main staircase was featured in the film ‘Billy Elliot’.

We then carried on over streams and up and over a high embankment crossing the railway line. We walked through fields, streams and a flooded gateway to finally arrive in the bustling metropolis of Tisbury, with its busy street and vast array of closed shops. We all managed to find a cup of tea and returned to the coach for our homeward journey.

Everyone had a good day, despite the weather, no-one was killed on the railway and Neil didn’t fall over.


Those of us on the long walk also had great views of the Badges, albeit from farther away, but we took a different route to get to Old Wardour Castle. We went via Sutton Mandeville where we had a drinks stop in the church graveyard which contains a very unusual sundial. We got to Old Wardour for lunch just before those on the short walk were leaving, and as with the other group, some people went in to the grounds whilst some stayed outside to eat their lunch. We then followed the same route into Tisbury as the other group – over the railway, past some lovely cottages, through the bamboo, across the spring and along the horrible smelling footpath down into the lower town. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to enjoy any of the highlights Tisbury had to offer and went straight to the railway station where the coach was waiting for us, along with the very smug short walkers who’d got back in time to get refreshments, one of whom promised me a cake but then forgot to buy it for me!!

The sun came out for the drive home and Chris took us via Salisbury City centre (as he had done in the morning) to make use of the facilities, although apparently these were somewhat ‘limited’.

Mention goes to Chris, our driver, who was great as ever and when asked about retirement said he didn’t think he would – Hooray!

Also mention to Tricia for leading the short walk & doing the admin side of it with Mervyn’s Coaches.


Thanks for photos to Bruce, Jenny and Pat

Christmas Lunch December 2017

About 40 ramblers attended this year’s Xmas lunch held at The Falcon, in Rotherwick on 6th December, a good time was had by all. This was preceded by a short circular walk led by Brian & Sally, which was very pleasant & had a surprisingly low mud factor!

As well as the meal back at the pub, we were also treated to one of Jan’s fiendish quizzes and the raffle which was very disappointing for me personally as this year I didn’t win anything.

We were then given hymn sheets and sang a few carols to the accompaniment of Brian sat near the bar tinkling his ivories!!

Thanks to Alex for organising the meal, Ruth for sorting the raffle, Jan for the quiz, Brian & Sally for leading the walk and to Brian for the music.

Basram Sunday walks 2017-2018

Looking back, in 2017 the total Sunday walk distance was recorded as 426 miles.

Very many thanks to the 18 different leaders/couples who planned, reconnoitred and led a wide variety of walks, near and far.

Looking ahead to 2018 can we match or even exceed not only that distance but also that number of leaders? New walk ideas are always welcome, but then, it is also good to re-walk past routes; the weather, the scenery, the people etc. are never the same on any two walks.

For 2018 we are now planning to walk the local 75 mile Brenda Parker Way in stages.

For those who don't remember (or know) her from past walks, the late (Dr) Brenda Parker was a government scientific expert on aircraft materials who was extremely active locally in establishing and running Ramblers groups and maintaining Rights of Way, and the Brenda Parker Way which runs from Aldershot to Andover (via Bramley, Silchester, Kingsclere, Highclere) was created in her honour.

To complete the whole route we will undertake a series of linear walks using public transport, or possibly by car sharing. We will start on Sundays (probably from 1st April) but may switch to some Saturdays where there are no Sunday buses!

Volunteer leaders are welcome, as are any ideas for circular routes based on the Way. Or has anyone already walked the whole route and has advice?

Thank You from the Sunday walks co-ordinator

A.G.M. Friday 2nd Febreuary 2018

This year’s AGM took place at The Carnival Hall where approximately 60 members attended. Robin was the Chairman for the meeting. The club is looking healthy with 211 members, including 21 new members and we have had another good year with regards to the Walks Calendar, away trips, the annual St Michael’s Hospice Woodland Walk, club dinners and the coach trip walk.

Robin thanked everyone who has contributed in all roles they have taken on, because without the members volunteering, the club cannot operate.

The remainder of the meeting was straightforward and then a break was taken for refreshments. At this point mention must be given to Richard who came to the rescue when we found that we didn’t have enough equipment to boil the water so he rushed home & brought back his own kettle to help with making the drinks – you can’t have a proper meeting without a cup of tea/coffee – it’s the rules!

After everyone’s thirst was slaked, Bob Clarke gave us a very entertaining talk about the 19th century Basingstoke Borough Police force. It was started in 1836 and was controlled by the town’s Watch Committee. However, it would seem that the majority of the initial group of police officers were dismissed for being drunk whilst on duty!! One officer was even found sleeping in a privy in the back garden of a local resident! The force lasted until 1889 when it came under the control of the main Hampshire Police body.

That was the first part of Bob’s talk, the second part concerned the famous (infamous) Cork Legged Swindler who was a lady of ‘dubious morals’ who lived on her wits all over the country. She travelled around leaving unpaid bills and angry landlords wherever she went. She even ventured abroad to carry on her nefarious activities. Eventually, however, she was caught and put into prison. Bob was a very funny speaker and everyone enjoyed the evening.