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

Day Two

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

Chinnor to Nuffield - 6th July 2003 - 11 miles

Hot again! Out of Chinnor along a level, straight trail with tall hedgerows on either side with occasional gaps and typical chalk grassland flora. Our first encounter now with the daring 4 x 4 folks, bravely on safari in the ever-deepening Ridgeway wheel ruts of the Oxfordshire countryside. Successfully drowning the birdsong, they lurch onwards, gazing down in pity on us as we suck in fine lung-fulls of diesel exhaust fumes. Mud-covered motorcyclists in convoys of loud trail bikes hurtle past dangerously quick and are gone. A field of glorious blue flax shines through a gap in the hedgerow and a bracket fungus appears high in tree which Lesley tries unsuccessfully to climb for a better picture. A quick vote and we detour half a mile to the Carriers Arms, Watlington for a thirst quencher. Back on track, it's time for food in a field below Watlington Hill. The danger of being run over by a Landrover lessens as the Ridgeway narrows but the danger of being mown down by muntjac deer increases as three burst noisily from woodland cover. We dropped down to a peaceful meadow bustling and bursting with, probably, half the insect life of England. Lesley flits madly from Marbled White to Meadow Brown to Comma trying to capture them on film as they halt briefly. A nest of baby spiders grows quickly, hungering for release to the vast meadow meal awaiting. A pair of peacocks, one snowy white, appear and are gone into the woodland edge. Completely overwhelmed by the meadow, and lost, we accidently surround a worried muntjac who escapes past Lesley. In the cool quiet of St Botolph's 11th century church our brief rest is recorded by the church's 21st century cctv camera. Back on track, after losing it for a second time and finding ourselves in a grumpy person's backyard, we find a grumpy ram hiding behind a fallen tree. Through wheat fields basking in the hot sun, the miles stagger by as we head for the pub which just happens to be at the end of today's hike. It closed fifteen minutes before we arrived. Luckily the buffet car at the Chinnor steam railway was still open when we got back there so we had tea instead!