Local walks

Photos from walk on Thursday December 1st from Bury Down to West Ilsley & Scutchamer Knob

75 years ago, almost to the day, a JK Adams used the last of his petrol ration and drove up to the Ridgeway – maybe Bury Down, maybe Gore Hill – and contributed this piece for the Guardian Country Diary.

A Country Diary.

Berkshire, 3 December 1947


To-day, the last day for using one’s basic petrol ration, we drove in brilliant sunshine from Oxford to the Berkshire Downs. Where hedges with tall elm trees shut out the sun the night’s hoar-frost still lay on the ploughlands, but in open country the clods, caught by its rays, sparkled like jewels. A low bank of fog lay over the Vale of the White Horse and many of the hollows among the downs were lost in mist, but up on the Ridgeway the air was crystal clear and very still.


A thicket adjoining the Ridgeway at the place where we ran on to it was astir with the flutterings and callings of finches settling down to roost early, but out on the open downs scarcely a sound broke the stillness. Now and then a partridge would call and once or twice we caught the distant calls of larks flying low over the stubbles, but those were the only birds we heard, until three goldfinches flew over us uttering a faint twitter that grew softer and softer as they drew farther away from us, until we began to think it was only an imagined sound. [Source: The Guardian]


Today, however, no crystal clear air, larks or goldfinch; just a thick mist that stayed all morning.


We set-off along the Ridgeway


Scraps of wool, hanging off fences were moist from the fog


Linger, and you soon lose sight of the group


And I lingered for the rose hips


and moist ivy berries


and leaves on Hodcott Down


West Ilsley pond


with large ant


Chaffinch at Scutchamer Knob


The knob itself


And the trees arround


Who said there wouldn’t be many photos today?

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