The English language is perverse…I’ve no idea why Leicester, Edinburgh and Alnwick are pronounced as they are. Similarly, I’m at a loss to know how to pronounce Ewelme…e-Whelm or You-lm? The village Wikipedia site suggests it has something to do with Old English and the whelming waters of the village spring. Perhaps the first is correct…?
Nevertheless, we’re parking up in the village by 8-30 this morning and the car park is almost completely empty. There’s snow in the air and a biting easterly accompanies us over Ewelme Downs. We’re alone…most probably the weather and emphasized by the poor visibility, which is obscuring the Ridgeway Path, our next destination. We find ourselves saying several times, ‘This would be beautiful in the Summer’. Not that today lacks beauty but it certainly lacks a view. The long gentle climb brings us up onto the Ridgeway Path and Ewelme Park. Once a Tudor Palace, the buildings are still grand but the peacocks on the lawn are looking rather forlorn today.
We follow the Ridgeway Path north as far as Swyncombe. The Snowdrops are out in St Botolph’s graveyard…at least they would be on a warm day. Today they’re struggling to put on a show and it’s actually difficult to distinguish snow from snowdrop! From here the footpath swoops and rises across Syncombe Downs. The Red Kites are out in the stiff wind, hanging almost motionless, head-on into the cold. It’s a relief to make it to Firebrass Hill and the road into Ewelme. It’s much warmer here, out of the breeze.
By the time we return to the car park it’s filled up. There are others out there in the cold. Enjoy and we’ll be back when it’s much warmer! A parky 7 mile walk before lunch.
Ewelme picture gallery (more pictures on Flickr):
Distance: 7 miles ; Difficulty: Moderate
Coordinates for Satnav: N51° 36.942′ W1° 03.899′