Updated: Sep 6
In today’s episode we visit Ranscombe Bottom, Morgan’s Hill and the very spooky Furze Knoll following a route that Glyn wrote about in his blog dated 17 September 2020. Use the link below for Glyn’s superb photographs and a description of the walk including the route map.
But before doing so we have a chat about what we’ve been up since the last podcast including a recce for a future blog and podcast; a white out in blizzard conditions; and Glyn’s walk around the Fonthill Estate. We also recommend the trilogy written by local author Nick Cowen about the rambles of a young Henry Chalk, Pedestrian Tourist, who wanders through south Wiltshire in the early 19th century including his challenge to trespass into the Fonthill Estate and climb the Fonthill Folly before being caught. Paul’s challenge was to say the word “tour”! You’ll find a link to the publishers of Nick Cowen’s book below.
Then on to the walk. This walk takes us from Ozzie’s Kebab van in the layby on the A4 at Quemerford Gate to the remarkable landscape of Ranscombe Bottom via the springs that are the source of the River Marden – a beautiful, peaceful spot filled with birdsong. From the Bottom we head towards the Roman road from Bath to Speen near Newbury and we debate what constitutes a dull Roman road! Then a stiff climb up to Morgan’s Hill with its grizzly past and World War I connections as a Zeppelin listening station. From there it was a hop skip and a jump to the mysterious and frankly quite creepy Furze Knoll. Finally we head to Calstone Wellington and its magnificent church and mill, before heading back in search of a kebab.
Also on the walk we discuss the remarkable graffiti in St Mary’s Church, Calstone Wellington, the earliest (that we found) dating back to 1647, and the unlikely sounding Wiltshire Medieval Graffiti Survey website.
During the course of the podcast we spend a disproportionate amount of time discussing the thorny issue of blocked public rights of way, something we encounter several times on the walk. And it’s a subject we’ll return to in the next podcast. It’s becoming a bit of theme!
We finish with 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% off 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 “Eyes Looking East”. Steve also designed the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust information board at Morgan’s Hill.
You can follow the walk on the Hidden Wiltshire website here Ranscombe Bottom
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
The link to report blocked public rights of way to Wiltshire Council My Wiltshire Booking and Reporting
Paul’s favourite photography podcast, The Fujicast, can be found at The Fujicast Any similarity in style is of course entirely coincidental! The presenters are Wiltshire wedding photographer Kevin Mullins, and Berkshire wedding photographer Neale James but their podcast covers all things photography related and is great entertainment.
The Complete Adventures of Henry Chalk, Pedestrian Tourist, by Nick Cowen - The Complete Adventures of Henry Chalk Initially this was a published as a trilogy, but they’ve now been consolidated into a single publication.
The painting by Eric Ravilious of Hippenscombe The Causeway, Wiltshire - Eric Ravilious
Wiltshire Medieval Graffiti Survey’s website can be found here Wiltshire Medieval Graffiti Survey
Artist Anna Dillon, who has just completed a painting of Ranscombe Bottom, can be found here Anna Dillon. She and local photographer Hedley Thorne also do a podcast. Started in January. Just after ours!
The beautiful book by Roger Deakin for anyone interested in natural history and conservation - Notes From Walnut Tree Farm