Tinhead Autumn Walk
Updated: Nov 14, 2020
In late October I spotted a window in the weather where the sun might shine for a few hours, so I drove across to Edington and parked outside the Priory. From there, you can walk back up to the main road and turn right - a few yards along and you will see a public footpath sign point you to the hills, so I crossed the road and duly headed up. Initially the footpath takes a narrow route alongside a large sloping garden, before you are on the lower slopes of Edington Hill and Picquet Hill.
The path up the hill is as direct as it can be - straight up the front of it. This lung busting route gets you to the top of the escarpment quickly, while rest breaks to catch your breath will reward you with views across to the Priory and beyond to Roundway Down.
At the top of the hill, the path follows the fencing around to Picquet Hill where you can stop and sit on the bench at the summit or continue around the top, past Luccombe Bottom, heading toward Westdown Farm. While up here, I glanced across to Bratton and saw the whole village overlooked by the Iron Age ramparts of Bratton Camp on the hill summit above. The shape of the ancient long barrow on the summit could clearly be seen.
As I walked towards Westdown Farm, I was actually walking along a grass airstrip, as the hangars on the left are home to light aircraft. A windsock blowing in the wind was a clue that this space was not for crops or cows. As I walked past the aircraft hangar the familiar sight of the clump of trees on Tinhead Long Barrow became apparent.
I walk this route all year round, and it was an interesting contrast to compare the leafy green clump of summer with the brown leaves of Autumn. In May, the field here was a bright yellow carpet of rapeseed. Today it was a barren, brown space of land beginning its long dormancy which will continue in the months of winter ahead.
Once through the field with the Long Barrow, I turned right and headed up for a walk through Tottenham Wood. The pretty Autumn leaves and dampness of the wood was atmospheric, and a world apart from the spring colours of bluebells and early summer cow parsley scattered throughout. Today, the greenery was slowly dying back.
After Tottenham wood, I followed the track past Tinhead Hill Farm until my legs were ready to retrace my steps to Picquet Hill and descend back to the Priory. In summer, this whole vista is splendid. In Autumn, it feels more remote and bleak, but it has a rugged beauty of its own. We will soon be into the days of frost and deep winter, which will change this landscape again. But it will still draw me back, for this is a place where I can find space. A place where I can find peace.
If you would like to retrace my steps, this walk is just under 6 miles and I have included a map extract below.