Sunday, 11 April 2010

County Tops - Two down (or should that be up?)

One of my 101 in 1001 list items was to climb the County Tops of England, so starting with the nearest two as they were very close to each other. For Hampshire the peak was Pilot Hill and for Berkshire it was Walbury Hill.

The view taken shortly after arriving at the car park near the summit of Walbury Hill. Picture is taken to the North, showing the villages we were planning to walk through.

First a walk up to Combe Gibbet - the gibbet is on the top of the Inkpen Long Barrow. Long barrows are neolithic monuments, usually collective tombs and are prevalent throughout South England.

It was erected in 1676 for the purpose of hanging George Broomham and Dorothy Newman and has only ever been used for them. The gibbet was placed in such a prominent location as a warning, to deter others from committing crimes.

George and Dorothy were having an affair and were hanged for murdering George's wife Martha, and their son Robert after they discovered them together on the downs. Unfortunately for the lovers, the murder was witnessed by Mad Thomas, who managed to convey what he had seen to the authorities.

A replica gibbet marks the site. The original was destroyed many years ago and subsequent replicas have been replaced several times.

We walked down the lane in the centre of this picture, which looks back to Walbury Hill. Along the way we saw dozens of pheasants though they weren't very cooperative subjects for photographs.

A quick stop for refreshments at the Crown & Garter before heading to West Woodhay.

West Woodhay Church. We had a beautiful day for the walk.

A daffodil garden in the church yard. I took this photo for a certain someone.

On the way to East Woodhay we came across this architect designed house that was incongruent with the surrounding landscape. From this view you can't see the split level at the back. It was a beautiful house but very visible from the roadside and I think I'd feel a bit like I was living in a goldfish bowl.

East Woodhay Church, stopped for a sandwich and a drink before heading to Pilot Hill.

After a trip down a winding lane there was a steep walk up Pilot Hill - this picture was taken from the North side looking towards Inkpen.

The top of Pilot Hill, 286m (938ft), the highest point in Hampshire. Unfortunately to get here we had to be a bit naughty and walk across a farmer's field but we did try to keep in the tractor tramlines.

Charlie surveying the world from the top of Pilot Hill, I think he was suitably impressed or perhaps he spotted the Red Kites before we did?

Magnificent birds with up to 2m wingspan. They were reintroduced to the Chiltern Hills, another chalk downland group to the North East in Oxfordshire and Bedfordshire and some have migrated to Berkshire. There were at least 6 in the air, swooping and hovering, but they are very hard to photograph. Fabulous to see that after being on the brink of extinction in the UK that the local population is doing so well.

Walking to the top of Walbury Hill, the highest point in South East England at 297m (974ft) above sea level.

This was just short of 11 miles walking, route can be seen here

1 comment:

Velda said...

WOW!!!! What a trek that was. VERY cool daffodil garden, it looks so serene.

I LOVE your latest entry about locating the wall and comparing...I love doing stuff like that <3

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