Sunday, 11 November 2012

Fresh Road Kill of the Day!

Managed to walk just over 11 miles this morning and my right knee it telling me all about it.  It will be that Greek… arthritis!  About a third of the route covered new ground and after a year at Aldermaston (hasn’t time gone by) it’s getting difficult to find new terrain.

There were a few problems with the OS website which prevented me from downloading the route onto the Garmin GPS so I manually copied across the planned route from the OS page to the Garmin Mapsource program and uploaded it to the GPS.  The planned route is shown in purple and the actual in grey. 

Approximately 2km short of Bradfield was an attractive pond set to the north side of the bridalpath.

I’d taken Jan’s compact Samsung digital camera but when I took it out of the case the damned ting told me the battery was flat.  Obviously there weren’t going to be any photos from the walk when I realised the GPS actually contains a VERY simple 3.2mp camera.  Unfortunately the lens hasn’t done justice to the fantastic autumn colours.  The tree in the next photo was a vivid yellow.

With such wonderful colours I can understand why Jan loved English autumn as a small girl.  It was a glorious day for walking in the countryside.  A bright blue cloudless sky, crisp weather with frost in the shade.  Unfortunately the temperature rose by mid morning which made some stretches of the footpaths muddy and slippery.

It was getting close to 11.00am as I approached Bradfield where there is a reasonable sized private coeducational school.  The pupils and parents appeared to be arriving for a Remembrance Day service.  A couple of interesting buildings caught my eye.  They both had what looked like coach ways to an inner courtyard.

The second building was more interesting however the photo was black because someone had their fat thumb over the gps lens when they took the picture Smile

On heading east towards the M4 motorway I came upon a recently killed pheasant which had obviously been struck by a car.  Shortly thereafter I found a badger in similar circumstances.  Back in outback South Australia is the Innamincka Road House (for non Australian readers a road house is a service station, store, diner in a remote location).  Innamincka is reputedly well known for having a dusty sign out the front stating Fresh Road Kill of the Day followed by the name of the species [eg, kangaroo, wombat, emu, etc].  Having decided Jan probably wouldn’t appreciate me bring home a dead badger I pressed on.

One reason for picking this particular route was to find out how the footpath crossed the M4 motorway.  Would it go over or under?  The footpath was quite narrow and muddy which led me to believe usage was quite light.  In the end I was surprised to see a substantial structure.

The carriageway is too narrow for vehicles so I assume it’s only used by pedestrians, cyclists and stock.  It seems to be an expensive piece of infrastructure for something which is scarcely used.  Perhaps the motorway builders were forced to build it to protect some ancient “right of way”?

At the eastern end of the circuit I passed close to the abandoned tower seen during my earlier walk back from Pangborne.  This time the footpath took me closed and I was able to get a better look.

Darren , the boat painter, had informed me after reading the earlier post that it was a pidgeon tower.  I wondered whether it had been built for the same purpose the Egyptians build pidgeon towers… to collect the droppings to use as fertiliser!  A completely erroneous conclusion.  Apparently it was built by the Rev Dr Henry Wilder of Sulham when he was courting Joan, daughter of William Thoyts of Sulhamstead. It was located in such a position that both could see it from their respective homes, and think of one another. They were married in 1768.  Well that’s according to the plaque!

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