10th August The end of the good weather coincides with the end of our holiday. On the way home we stop off in The Cotswolds to break the journey. We've parked in the back streets of Bourton because we suspect the centre of the village will be heaving...more later! It's pouring with rain as we set out and it's still heavy as we pass through Lower and Upper Slaughter but the weather doesn't spoil our enjoyment. We follow Warden's Way as far as Naunton and its ancient dovecote before returning to Bourton along the Windrush Way.
9th August We've been saving this walk all week! Our last full day and time to explore some of The Beacons before heading home tomorrow. The weather is perfect! Cooler than earlier in the week and it's forecast to be dry until later in the afternoon. The weather is spectacular today and its the great views that keep stopping us, honestly! Halfway us we pass a (more) elderly couple who we've been tracking for the last 30mins. They very generously encourage us as we pass just before the final steep scramble to the top of Pen Y Fan...where a shock awaits us both.
8th August There's something really odd about The Forest of Dean! Set on a plateau between the Severn and the Wye, it's cut off from the rest of the world. As far as this walk is concerned, there's really not much to record...a pleasant walk in the woods on another hot August day. A couple of summer showers blow through during the walk but you'd hardly know. We're hidden away, deep in the Forest. Occasionally we catch fleeting glimpses of Fallow Deer ghosting amongst the shadows but no sign of the famous wild boar...but plenty of evidence of their rooting.
7th August A gentle walk after yesterday's exertions. It's too warm to do much else! We park in the car park at Goodrich Castle and head off for Coppet Hill. Symonds Yat Rock towers above us as we sit in the shade at the edge of the woods. Peregrine falcons wheel and swoop through the haze. Other than the herd quietly grazing by the River, the silence is complete.
6th August Today's walk is a nice change from our recent expeditions. We're off to the Black Mountains. From just above the Farm we head up the side of the valley. In today's heat this is tough going and several times we stop for water. However the view from the top is worth it. We pause for an early lunch.
5th August If possible, it's hotter today than yesterday...so we opt for another walk in the woods, this time in the Wye Valley. Highlights? The cable bridge at Biblins, the hand-pulled ferry back across the Wye at Symonds Yat (£1.20 per person) and the cool shade of the woods. A relaxing 7.8 mile stroll in the woods.
4th August The first part of this walk follows the Sculpture Trail. Some of them need an explanation, others are more obviously worth looking at. There are plenty of cycle paths and we bump into cycling families at every turn. However we leave the families behind by the time we reach Great Kensley Inclosure and cross Speech House Road into Little Kensley and Russell's Inclosure. For a while the walk is more like I imagined the Forest would be, peaceful and undisturbed...until we reach Cannop Ponds...and once again we're dodging bell-ringing bikes all the way back to the car.
4th March Hampshire has some special memories, even if it's over 30 years since I lived around here. I'm sure I didn't really appreciate this part of Hampshire back then. Having said all that, last time I was at Bucklers Hard I'm sure it didn't cost to get in.
The River is full and the footpaths muddy. No surprise given the amount of rain over the last few days. At one point we take take a bridge across the river to avoid the ubiquitous dog walkers, missing the route back further on. Now were on the 'wrong side' of the river. It seems to bother me more than Sue...it's not the walk I'd planned! Still, we push on and end up in Sticklepath and South Zeal. From here the route steadily climbs to Ramsley Hill and some stunning views back towards Okehampton and, in the opposite direction, to the Moor.
With a 14mile walk from Parracombe planned it was always going to be a long day but starting at 11am was an additional handicap. We parked in the lay-by on the A39. On reflection not something I'd recommend. For the first 10mins of our walk we followed the road. This meant leaping into the hedge whenever a car or van (or coach-load of pensioners) appeared around the corner. It's not cool!