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Former Didcot to Southampton Railway decent

Hi Gang,

Well another interesting walk with five of us exploring the former Didcot to Southampton Railway (should have been 6 but Edwards battery was flat).

When I originally planned this walk the concentration was following the former railway north, off the chalk escarpment down along the embankment. On the morning, checking the map,  I had promised 8 mile. We were only going to do 4 miles at the most. PANIC!!!

Decided that Upton was the centre, we would compare the 'high chalk downs" with the "Gault & Kimmeridge Clay vale" and how the railway builders managed both.

We started by climbing to the highest point (not recommended before having warmed up) with a lot of pointing  and explanation showed how the line followed a Downland hollow around in a large ark, ultimately cutting down into a deep chalk cutting. Exploring Chilton (not originally on the walk) we crossed and recrossed the line were once deep bridges, now buried by landfill stand. I am sure they didn't believe me,  till we  ultimately found a substantial section of deep cutting and over bridge. Returning to Upton we remet the course, now leaving the cutting to continue north on a embankment that ebbed with the changing depth of valley.

With views of Long  Wittenham Clumps and the high ground we had only just left. Reaching East Hagbourne we stopped for lunch in the church yard (whilst Andrew W completed a "Near Instant" drawing of the church) a - followed by exploring  the many timber frame houses. Onwards we approached the impressive embankment, this time going through one of the lofty arched bridges towards West Hagbourne - not as impressive as it's neibour.

Again going under the embankment at its deepest point we returned to the cars to say "Thanks" to those leaving, whilst three of us headed for our old local "The George & Dragon" PH for a social distance drink and put the world to right.

Everyone appeared to have enjoyed the two worlds of "High Downs" and "Valley".

Bill

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