Thursday, 10 November 2011


The easy way to walk from Aldermaston Wharf to Tadley is down Basingstoke Road, However, I’d been advised by someone who knew the local area, not to use the road as it was very busy and there is no footpath.  I wasn’t particularly interested in using any busy roads and would rather walk some of the public footpaths through the countryside and quiet country lanes.

Using Google Earth I planned a theoretical route and then used the free online Ordnance Survey website <here> to valid my proposed route.  This was saved as a kml file and then converted to gdb format using GPSBabel.  The track was then imported into Garmin Mapsource before being transferred to the gps.

The theoretical and actual tracks can be seen in the following screen dump.  Theory is blue and actual is red.  As you will have noticed; half way through the walk I failed to concentrate on my navigation and instead drifted along looking at the interesting scenery.  This resulted in me walking off to the north-west and then having to double back on my trail to get back on course.  I also failed to find the footpath down near Tadley and ended up walking around the road.

The first half of the walk was completed using either public footpaths across the fields and country lanes. 

I’m really starting to enjoy some of these public footpaths

Photo’s taken using the 3.2MP camera in the gps

The track took me across three concrete footbridges and through an experimental salmon race.

Then it was across a couple of fields and through a wood

There’s a rather large and impressive house over there…. Might be worth exploring!

The path through the wood bought me out onto a country lane

How’s this for a garage!

The lane ended opposite the MoD AWE, Aldermaston.  AWE maintains the UK’s nuclear stockpile under contract to the Ministry of Defence.  Obviously it’s a very secure facility.  However the major advantage was the firm clear grassed strip outside the chain mesh perimeter fence.  This made an excellent walking track and extended all the way to the public footpath at Tadley.

The purpose of the walk was to complete a reconnaissance of Tadley.  It has two banks; both with a “hole in the wall” and a reasonable sized Sainsburys.  I also took the opportunity to purchase Jan’s weekly supply of magazines!

The round trip is approximately 9 miles.  Apart from a couple of miles on a country lane; you are segregated from vehicle traffic.

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