Friday, 2 May 2014

Bakers and Forts

     It is said that this canal, The Kennet and Avon is in very lovely countryside.  This may well be the case, however from most parts of the route we haven’t seen much of it due to hedges, scrubby dense hawthorn trees all along plus the train line.  So today we decided to go for a bike ride.  David had got out his collection of maps, he studied and planned a good route for his wife, this means not too hilly, a nice pub preferably half way round, failing that,  two pubs.  (Tearooms or cafés acceptable) and something very interesting on the route.  David made a picnic, out came the bikes, helmets on and away we sped, well actually only over the bridge in Great Bedwyn to the Bakers where we brought goodies.
Gt Bedwyn is a total delight, two shops, a Post Office (A rarity in some much bigger places) two pubs although we can only vouch for the one.  The train station which has trains going to London Paddington in 40 mins we are told, this is the reason that property prices are higher of course.   Its full of very lovely thatched cottages and period houses along with modest properties too, so a nice mix, not all Range Rovers, if you get my meaning. 

Great row of cottages
Stupendous Bakery.
Pretty pretty cottages in Gt Bedwyn.
We went first to Little Bedwyn, then onto Froxfield out the other side and onto a ridge at about 600ft, this sounds impressive eh? 

Chocolate box cottages in Froxfield

Ancient cottage with wooden frame, bricks and flint walls.
This one was crying out for restoration.
However we didn’t start from sea level and I pushed the bike up the steepest part of the hill.   Sadly the day was pretty misty but when up on the ridge, it was completely silent, only the sound of the birds.  Pretty good it was too. On to the edge of the ridge with great views out before us of the rolling hills, well I am pretty sure there would be if we could have seen it.  

This isn't the canal, but a corner of a field!
Dear things
David very interested in this barley....

David was peckish so we pulled over and sat on a log and had out lunch.  Doesn’t food always taste better outdoors?  

Trend Setters
As we ate egg mayonnaise sandwiches and shared a quiche and a huge slice of flapjack full of nuts raisins and cherries,  we were surrounded by butterflies and birds and a red kite overhead. 

Well I think it was a Red Kite.
Right up here was this;

Acres of solar panels
bit of a surprise although a great idea, there should be more of them around.
My first glimpse of the year of Red Robin, known by many names I know, looked stunning amongst the bluebells.

Red Robin set amongst the Bluebells
We ended up at Chisbury, it boasts of an ancient Iron Age Fort, but we couldn’t spot it, so we went to the highest point and looked about….  We asked a chap from a nearby farm, he hadn’t a clue, it turned out that the farm was built right in the middle of it with the ramparts surrounding the farm buildings!! 
This was the highlight of the trip, around the back of the farm, a flint chapel, just a shell now but WOW!!  Built in the mid 1200’s it was used for church services until the 1580’s then it has been used as a barn which has probably saved it form falling down.  I simply love treasures like this David finds for me.  I cannot imagine any modern building today lasting 800 years plus.
Chisbury Chapel

Set high up, fabulous views
Right among the farm buildings.
Iron Age Fort, all around the farm buildings
Wild violets and other pretties.

Going home was mostly downhill all the way, I love this part of bike rides, through woodlands with bluebell carpets.  A great day out and only nine miles round trip.

Supper was wine, cheese, grapes, kettle crisps and olives.  That lunch was bigger than we thought!!


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