Walks with my dog (3)

Thursday 4th July 2019.

The first two days’ walks have actually involved more driving time than walking time, as the start/finish points were some distance from home. I have devised a new randomising method to try to ensure that we start within a reasonable distance.

I use two 8-sided dice. One is marked with the eight points of the compass and the other with the numbers 1 to 4 twice each. I roll these dice twice. Today’s result was 4 NE and 1 S. starting from my home (OS grid reference SU5862 I counted 4 map squares north-east and 1 square south to grid reference 60,65. This was just over the edge of the map onto the next sheet.

Starting in this square are two paths. One leads from Upper Church Farm in the middle of the square to the west, and straight back to the busy road after about half a mile. The second runs from the north of the square northwards towards Aldermaston Wharf on the Kennet and Avon Canal. I chose that one.

Unfortunately when we reached the point on the narrow lane where the start should be I could not see the path marked, nor anywhere to park. However, about 400 yards further was a place to pull off the road and a footpath/bridleway which would join our intended route, so I took the easy option.

The track led to Padworth Church, seen here through the lych gate.

From there we cut across to a tarmac road leading to Home Farm. What a difference from yesterday’s welcome! Following the signs between the farm complex and the stables and barn I came to a point where the map showed a path, but it was unclear exactly where to walk. The owner (I believe), greeted me and explained it was through the paddock where her horses were grazing, then diagonally across a meadow. She advised that the electric fence was active, but said that Sparky could be let off his leash without any problem. He is accustomed to horses so I had no fear of him doing anything silly. Her terrier ran up to play as we passed through the paddock.

After crossing the meadow the path had been mown through a new plantation.

Next we came to a group of footbridges crossing the streams at Padworth Mill. An information board explained about the salmon “steps” that were built here about 20 years ago.

This is the old mill race, no longer used to drive anything.

Most of the rest of the walk was along an uninteresting track lined with cottages until we reached our goal: Aldermaston Wharf, with its recent canal-side residential development.

From here there was no sensible alternative but to retrace our route back to the car. A very pleasant walk, taking about 75 minutes.