Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Marsworth Walk

Thank you to those readers who provided feedback on my attempt a video embedding.  I can see the video on our laptop but the plug-in isn’t supported on the Android Tablet.  That’s a mystery to me as the tablet will run almost all video formats.  I’m going to continue experimenting but for those readers who couldn’t view the video I’ve pasted a link below which will hopefully work!

https://youtu.be/d8ymgwnvdeM 

I went for a 20km circular walk this afternoon picking a rural route to the south-east of our mooring at Marsworth.

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It was a clockwise walk with the return via the canal towpath.  I wanted to explore the lake to the north of the canal thinking it might be part of the Tring reservoir system.

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The edges don’t look as well formed as the reservoirs on the opposite side of the canal so it’s either newer or a flooded former quarry.  There’s a second body of water slight south which is still being quarried so that solves my query.

P1030912 There is a high ridgeline to the south of this quarry marked on the map as Pitstone Hill.  When I reached to top I realised I’d been here before.  Only last time the hill and countryside was covered in snow.

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Today

distant hill February 2015

Off to the north a solitary windmill stands in a field.

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It’s Pitstone Windmill and dates back to 1627.  The windmill is believed to be the oldest in Britain. The mill ceased operating in 1902 after being seriously damaged in a storm.

My route took me in the opposite direction and I very quickly entered an area of clever horses and ponies. 

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These are the first horses and ponies I’ve come upon that can read! Smile

The route took me southwest and up into an area of woodland.  I started to see more and more walkers before entering a clearing where there was a high stone column with a viewing platform at the top.

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There was a fee to climb up the column and then I realised I’d entered a National Trust estate via the back door.  However it was the writing above the entrance to the column which particularly caught my eye.

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“In honour of Francis Third Duke of Bridgewater Father of Inland Navigation 1832”

Well that was a surprise.  The Bridgewater Canal is miles away near Manchester.  So why is the column here?  This is the Aldridge Estate, owned by the National Trust.  The land belonged to the church until Henry VIII seized it during the Reformation.  Thomas Egerton, chancellor to Elizabeth I, bought the estate in 1604.  The Egerton’s are an old British aristocratic family.  Branches include:

  • Barons Ellesmere
  • Viscounts Brackney
  • Earls of Bridgewater
  • Dukes of Bridgewater
  • Earls of Ellesmere
  • Duke of Sunderland

Francis Egerton was the Third Duke of Bridgewater.  So that’s the connection.  However he had nothing to do with the nearby Grand Junction Canal.

From here the walk was southwest with valley views through the woodland towards the west and the canal.

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Eventually I arrived at Dudswell Bottom Lock where I turned north and walked the towpath back to Waiouru.

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By the time I reached the old Bulbourne Workshops my feet were starting to feel as if they had a good workout.

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