Dick & Gloria & Lesley & Michael's
Ridgeway Walk
Day One

Day Two

Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven Day Eight

Ogborne St George to Overton Hill - 12th October 2003 - 9.5 miles

The finest dry, warm, still day opens before us. A donkey wishes us well and we pass the oddly named The Bear and The Peacock Cottage. Circle around Og St Geo and head uphill. The sun also climbs and gives a golden glow to a hazel bush. Lesley continues her nature study shots with a fine Tortoiseshell butterfly and a thistle. Richard snaps a sheep and we pause for rest on Bert's seat. A butterfly resting on a flower is almost crushed by a passing dog, intent on discovering the focus of Lesley's attention. The Frog and Spoon tea shop appears by the wayside and the boys testdrive a piece of cake each. Hawthorn leaves are starting to change colour now. Barbury Castle is filled with resting cows but some seem keen to take it to the extreme. Today's pub visit requires a 3.2 mile detour and descending thirstily from the Ridgeway we chance upon a party of brave souls, armed only with shotguns, standing motionless at the bottom of the hill. The nearby beaters raise the final pheasants from a low thicket less than fifty yards from the front guns which burst into life and spray their lethal spread of shot. Punctured game birds, flapping wildly, gasp and plunge and plummet. Even in death the enemy must still be dangerous so they are securely strung by their necks. Elegant grass stands motionless in the still air as Richard and Gloria pick a bag of sloes from passing bushes to make a winter gin reminder of the walk. At the Bell Inn, Broad Hinton, our thirst is finally quenched but it's hard to concentrate surrounded by dancing lights and bouncing balls. Back to the Ridgeway and, though tiring fast, we can't resist another detour, this time to the stone-encircled village of Avebury. Among the village stones a newish lamb bounces in bootees whilst an older lamb could almost be heard humming 'So here it is, Merry Christmas' quietly in the background. Pausing for a team photo we leave Avebury by West Kennet Avenue heading for Overton Hill, the end of the Ridgeway. A startled deer startles us by leaping from some undergrowth and bounds across the hillside, pausing occasionally to make sure we are not chasing it - as if! Finally, a downhill stretch and the glorious car park at the end of the walk appears as the sun settles down for the night. The waiting crowds have folded their flags, given up and long gone home. The photographers have taken down the bunting and melted away. It's only us and a car to take us back to the Inn with the (95') Well at Ogbourne St George for a glass of champers and a meal.