Old Down Walk

Friday 3rd January – Old Down

Walk Leaders: Patsy & Michelle

A 4.5 mile walk which will be a serious contender for the 2020 “Boot Award “unless there are several days of cold weather just before we walk. It will be shorter than the originally planned (5.5mile) route because it has not been possible to cross the ford recently. However, it still has lots of variety.

It starts and finishes at The Old Down Inn, Emborough BA3 4SA. Grid ref 626/512
We will meet in the lower car park of the pub to be ready for a 10.00am start. Usual facilities available before the start. The walk begins & ends with a short stretch along the busy B3139 (about 100m of which has no pavement, and will require great care). However, most of it is on footpaths over farmland. There are lovely views as we head towards Strapestone and then northwards towards Ston Easton. We will have a refreshment break within sight of Ston Easton House, alongside a pretty river, but as the ford has become impassable we will retrace our steps for a short way to go along Hay Street and Strap Lane and complete our loop back to the Old Down Inn. The walk is undulating – more or less downhill heading north and up the other way.

There are only 3 stiles, and one which we cross twice, although these are not "dog friendly ". A couple of the fields had livestock in them when the recces were done, but if they are still there, they shouldn't be any cause for concern. Wellies are highly recommended, and even if the ground is hard, gaiters or waterproof trousers will be a good idea because of paths with soggy ground. Lunch will be at the Old Down Inn about 1 pm.

This was a good walk for the start of the year and as predicted it was muddy. Several of the 22 walkers wore their wellington boots to cope. Some of those who wore wellies made the most of a chance to paddle in the large puddles! (no names mentioned). While other walkers carefully negotiated the slippery mud around the edges.

It was a wise decision by the walk leader not to cross the stream via the ford, but it made a very enjoyable place to stop for coffee with a view of Ston Easton House. It was a dry morning, not too cold and as the morning progressed there were glimpses of sunshine so the promised views were there. The route actually was measured on the GPS as 5.3 miles. Thank you, Patsy and Michelle, for a good walk and persevering to find an alternative route so we did not have to cross the ford.
Report by Nicky.