THE WESSEX RIDGEWAY: From the Stones to the Wheel – Market Lavington to Bratton

Thursday 12 September. Market Lavington to Bratton. Weather forecast a bit changeable today and there looked a few interesting villages en route so I came off the Downs again to explore them. I soon left Market Lavington and was out in the fields and woods. For the first half hour I came across a few dog walkers and was then alone for many miles. The first sleepy little village I entered was Littleton Panell, but I saw no one. I then skirted around Little Cheverell and made the steep climb into Great Cheverell. It was too early to grab a coffee at the pub so I sat on a park bench for a while and watched the world go by.

As I sat I studied my map and could see that Erlestone prison was slap bang in the middle of the obvious route to follow and the footpaths detoured around it. And what a great detour!

Photographs can never for me capture the majesty and tranquility of a beech wood but I took a couple of shots.

Once out of the wood the path became narrower and more overgrown and challenging. The children’s book “we are going on a bear hunt” came into my mind for the first of several times this day. The phrase “ we can’t go under it, we can’t go over it, we can’t go round it, we’ve got to go through” it began to play like an earworm in my head.

Several fields followed before I arrived at Erlestone itself. I passed several “Grand design “ type houses before finding myself on an empty golf course.

The route then led me to the quiet village of Coulston and up and back across fields. Yet again the “bear song” as I faced a field with scores of cattle . Yes, I had to go through it.

Just after this I came across “Farmer Ted” on his tractor which started the tune of “here comes a tractor” ( those in the know will know!).

A shot of a weed and bramble covered tractor bought to mind what happens to my head if I don’t follow the “Steps” (again, those in the know, will know!).  And just around the corner appeared a house to further remind me.

It was by now definitely time for a proper stop and I arrived at the well- stocked Edington Farm shop. I had a lovely long break here – I was making good time- and bought myself a slice of quiche for my dinner.

Edington itself was delightful and the sun shone for a while. The Church was surprisingly large for a small village ( a Priory church – it turned out there had been an old monastery nearby).

I stayed a while here then took a slow amble across the fields to my overnight accommodation in Bratton . Great choice again- a real home from home.

Super, quiet and rural walk:  12 miles

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