Haydown Hill and Fosbury Camp

15 March 2009

With Lucy taking Ellie and Henry to "rally obedience" at Collingbourne Ducis in Wiltshire, Stephen and George took advantage of the lift down to Wiltshire for a walk.

Heading along the byway from Upper Chute on a lovely sunny day

An attractive farmhouse

A very coppiced tree, now growing free

The public footpath heads across this field. It was one of those moments when a 1:25 000 map would have been rather better than the 1:50 000 map I had, but the GPS guided me across on the line of the right of way to find the path on the other side.

As we gain height on Wexcombe Down, we have left the woods behind and the vistas open out across the rolling chalk downland.

Looking across Wexcombe Down

Descending Tidcombe Down towards the village of Tidcombe

Sheep in one of the combes

An odd sign - the top half prohibits the keeping of dogs on a lead, and the bottom half purports to require it. Neither is right as it is a public footpath and so my duty is to keep my dog under close control.

And in any case, what are the risks are from a dog being off the lead in this field?

Past Beacon Farm we descend and re-ascend as we begin the climb onto Haydown Hill

George by the trig point on Haydown Hill, the highest point of today's walk

From there it is a short walk to the edge of Fosbury Camp, an iron age hillfort with a double bank ("bivallate" in the jargon) which encloses about 10 hectares.

Looking down into the ditch between the two banks

George at Fosbury Camp

The shrubs growing on the banks have largely been cleared, but there remains a little more to do

Descending from Haydown Hill towards Vernham Dean. On this descent we passed first a lone man and then a family group - they were the only people we passed in 5 hours of walking today.

A cottage in Vernham Dean

Then it was time to ascend again, onto Conholt Hill through this coppiced woodland

George as we ascend this delightful path

Towards the top of the hill we pass through a maize field and into newly planted woodland

"They go up-diddly-up-up, they go down diddly-down-down". Descending from Conholt Hill into Hippenscombe

From Hippenscombe, looking back along our line of descent

We climbed from Hippenscombe across the Roman road from Winchester to Cirencester (which bends here to avoid Hippenscombe - the only significant bend on the whole road), then descend towards Lower Chute. Here we approach Upper Chute

The church at Upper Chute, and time to take the car back to Collingbourne Ducis.

Zoom in for more detail, or see map in larger window: Ordnance Survey | Open Street Map | Google Maps

An enjoyable undulating and astonishingly quiet outing on a lovely day. Total distance 20.6 km and 549 metres of ascent in 4 hours 54 mins.


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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson