Another weekend and another walk – another new walk – in the local countryside with Snow.
The night before I’d quickly plotted a circular walk from Warborough, a little village I drive through on my way to/from work each day. Leaving the house early(ish) we headed off to park up near the Six Bells pub, a lovely village pub we’d had dinner at before, a little bit wary of the skies as the forecast was for showers.
The sky was cloudy and the air was cool. It certainly wasn’t anywhere near the worst weather we’d walked in, and off we headed down the road and out to the fields to the west of the village towards Dorchester.
A little way up the track we came across an irrigation lagoon, and even though she really doesn’t do water she headed down the bank and went in for a little paddle, being careful not to go too deep.
We carried along the track, following the A4074 for bit until we came to an underpass to get to the other side. I must admit, I was pleased to see this because I thought we were going to have to cross the road, and it’s quite a busy road. Thankfully we didn’t have to and as a bit of a bonus we came across some nice pieces of graffiti on the underpass walls.
From there we followed the fields, crossing the River Thame before hitting the little streets of Dorchester, somewhere we’d walked before with the girls and Snow. As it happens, the next section of the walk took along some paths from our previous walk there, heading over the Thames and up to Wittenham Clumps. This time though we weren’t planning on walking up and over them, just past them.
Following the path through the woods towards Shillingford bridge, Snow decided to investigate what looked like a puddle on the side of the path. Unfortunately for her it was a ditch full of water, with a muddy, slippery edge. As she sniffed at the water her feet slipped and in she went! The look of shock on her face was priceless and it was all we could do to stop ourselves from laughing and help her out. Bless her. She really wasn’t a very happy puppy!
At the bridge there’s a hotel – the Shillingford Bridge hotel – and on the other side of the little lane we were walking down were a number of picnic benches on the grass. Excellent we thought. A perfect place to stop and have a little bite to eat.
Clearly the hotel didn’t like people just rocking up and using their benches for a little rest and a spot of lunch. No. There were clear signs saying that if you wanted to have your own food you had to pay a £15 charge! Outrageous!
It wasn’t exactly too warm a day and, as you can imagine, nobody was outside sitting on the benches. We didn’t want to risk it though as I was certain someone would be keeping an eye out and the last thing I wanted was to be harassed for £15 for the pleasure of using an old bench! So on we went over the bridge and along the Thames Path towards Benson.
We passed lots of people doing a sponsored walk along the Thames Path, most of whom stopped and made a huge fuss of Snow. She loved all of the attention.
At one point along the path, cutting through the long grass on one of the fields, we spotted an adder, making sure that Snow didn’t get too curious and close to it. That we could do without thank you very much!
It slithered off into the long grass never to be seen again, but we made a point of warning the next group of charity walkers what we’d seen, and where, just so that they were at least aware of it and could keep their eyes open. Better safe than sorry.
The Waterfront Cafe was surprisingly busy when we got to it, and with only a mile or so to go – and with the clouds beginning to turn a little bit greyer – we decided it would make more sense to get back to Warborough and have a pint in the Six Bells.
Crossing the fields to get back to Warborough the heavens opened. The rain really was quite heavy, causing a quick pit stop to put on our coats. And, as happens all too often in my experience, after going through the hassle of getting coats out of the pack, putting them on, and putting the pack back on, the rain only lasted a few minutes!
Back in Warborough we took a seat on a bench outside the pub and I went and got us a nice pint to enjoy with our lunch before we packed up, got Snow in the car, and drove home.
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