Today’s podcast revolves around the search for Kitt’s Grave in bandit country on the borders with Dorset and Hampshire. A story of historical fact or folklore? Or both?
To begin with Glyn tries to justify why RAF Chinooks over Imber are hidden (he failed)!
We continue with our review of the last two weeks in Wiltshire where rain largely stopped play. Paul admits to traitorous behaviour having spent a marvellous day walking on the South Downs in his home county of Sussex in the previous week.
We then look at one last bluebell wood (no, really) which was more than just about bluebells. Grovely Wood is huge and therefore hardly hidden. What are hidden are the numerous little tracks and glades, and the many little surprises to be found within. And we talk about the sad prospect that climate change may result in the loss of beech woodland from southern England and the ubiquitous Wiltshire Clump from Wiltshire within a generation. You can read more about this in Robert Macfarlane’s wonderful book The Wild Places (link below).
Glyn tried a new walk near to his usual haunt of Tinhead – Barn Bottom, when he is accused of having an obsession with bottoms! A myth we completely fail to dispel. Barn Bottom is popular with dog walkers but quiet of an evening. He also shares with us the unedifying image of him undertaking a Nordic walking tour of Martinsell Hill – something we’d all love to witness!
Then on to this week’s main subject, revisiting Paul’s walk and blog entitled Searching for Kitt’s Grave from July 2020 (link with route map below). Whilst we park in Hampshire the walk is firmly based in Wiltshire and involves crossing the Ackling Dyke Roman Road in the search for what is marked as Kitt’s Grave on the map. Who Kitt was is a mystery and whether he/she even existed is moot. The search in the woodland of Vernditch for Kitt’s Grave (which may be a burial bound) was in vain but fascinating.
The route then crosses Marleycombe Hill, where we take in the stunning and wide-ranging views of the Ebble valley and take a quick look at the 11 Bronze Age barrows on its flanks. The walk then takes us to the villages of Bowerchalke (Wiltshire’s most haunted village!) and Broad Chalke before embarking on the track along Paul’s favourite bottom – Church Bottom, the site of the Chalke History Festival. Along this track Paul rested a while on a bench commemorating the life of Kay Chalk. A beautiful and peaceful spot. From the little offerings left there, whoever Kay was she was clearly much loved by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Paul also spent some time thinking about his own Mum at this lovely spot, who was born the same time as Kay.
Then on into Middleton Down Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve. Check out the information board which hosts some photographs by the brilliant Wiltshire nature photographer Stephen Davis whose Instagram page and website are linked below.
Finally we encounter a couple of gores before the end of the walk as we struggle to re-connect with Ackling Dyke and the last mile or so back to the car park. Until now we never knew that “gore” was nothing more than a term for a small, usually triangular piece of land.
We finish with the usual housekeeping. A reminder about the Hidden Wiltshire Online shop (link below) and a reminder about the offer to listeners of the podcast from Lowa Boots UK. You’ll need to listen to the podcast for details of how you can save 20% on their walking boots and shoes.
The music and sounds in the podcast are provided by the multi-talented Steve Dixon. The piece in the Introduction is entitled “The Holloway”, whilst the piece introducing us to the walk is entitled “Canopy”.
The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane The Wild Places - Robert Macfarlane
You can follow the walk on the Hidden Wiltshire website here Searching for Kitt's Grave
Glyn’s photographs can be seen on this website and his Instagram feed @coy_cloud
Steve Dixon’s sound art can be found on Soundcloud where his username is River and Rail Steve Dixon River and Rail. His photographs can be found on Instagram at @stevedixon_creative and his graphic design business website is at Steve Dixon Creative