Our latest escapade into the great outdoors took us to the North Hampshire village of Ashmansworth, located somewhere between Newbury to the North East and Andover to the South East. For me, it is a location that I had never been to before so it was nice to try something fresh. The village is the highest in Hampshire standing at around 240 metres above sea level.
The 12 mile trek was being led by one of our regular walk leaders over the years, Alex and he decided to make it a joint event with our neighbours from the Hampshire 20-30’s group with whom he has been walking with occasionally. It is always nice to welcome fresh faces on our walk; we also had someone trying our group for the first time. In total we had fifteen of us which is a nice number to manage. I noted that the majority of the boys including myself were dressed in blue. No, we didn’t phone each other up in the morning to discuss our fashion plans for the day!
I was not originally planning to write a blog for this walk so apologies that details of the route we took are quite vague. We gathered near the war memorial in the centre of the village observing an imaginatively cut hedge in the process. We then headed in a northerly direction and out on the Wayfarer’s Walk. This trail totals seventy miles and links Portsmouth in the south to Inkpen in the north just over and into the Berkshire border.
For the most part we were walking through splendid countryside with a number of inclines to test our muscles on what turned out to be a very warm day. The views at times were rather pleasant with a number of rolling fields greeting us. On other occasions it was a little overgrown and we had to battle through some undergrowth although the sting in the nettles was not as bad as it has been earlier in the summer. Or so I was reliably informed, I was wearing long trousers. Blue of course.
Lunch was taken observing the peaceful views of one of the valleys that we would traverse frequently. In the afternoon we hesitated for a moment as we stumbled across the Crux Easton titt wind engine located at Crux Easton. We saw that it was open to the public so we decided to make further inspection and we were then greeted by a very knowledge man. He showed us around the structure providing us with both history of the building and surrounding land and the mechanics of the machinery. We wondered upstairs where there was a small informative display. The wind engine was built in 1891 to pump water out from the well as well powering a saw and a pair of millstones producing bags of flour. The working lifespan of the structure was not long and fell out of use in the 1920’s.
This stop was unexpected but I certainly found it very rewarding. It goes to show you never know what you might come across when out and enjoying our beautiful countryside.
The trek continued at a good pace it must be said. The route concluded via the Highclear estate where we could see views of the castle before we returned to Ashmansworth and our cars. We said cheerio to the people from the Hampshire group but most of us in the Berkshire gang decided to head to a public hostelry a short drive away in Highclear. To our surprise as we sat outside enjoying our refreshing drinks and resting our weary limbs the barman came out with a plate of left over roast potatoes for us to tuck into completely free of charge! That is surely a first for our group. Needless to the say they all soon disappeared.