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Sherborne Park and Windrush Valley. Oct 2018

My walk in Sherborne Park and the Windrush Valley was advertised on line with a picture of the large layby on the A40 which was not going to run out of parking space. The forecast was for some rain over the weekend but with Sunday dry but cooler. I had 12 people booked to come on the walk including a new potential Member.

On Sunday morning it was clear that the edge of Storm Callum had hit Gloucestershire. I contacted the South Midlands coordinator suggesting a curtailed walk given the unfortunate weather conditions of driving rain. He said the weather was improving and people would want to do the whole walk!

I arrived at 11am to find 12 people waiting but there were some differences from the online bookings. It was still raining but no longer driving rain. It never entirely cleared up but there were short dry spells when the beauty of the area was more easily appreciated.

Following a pleasant walk through the National Trust Sherborne Park we went through the village of Sherborne in an easterly direction to cross the River Windrush and head up the hill towards Clapton- on- the- Hill. At the top of the first hill we found a barn to shelter in for morning coffee out of the rain and shortly afterwards we found another barn for lunch with splendid views across the valley back to the A40 in the distance. There was no road noise once we got into Sherborne Park.

We got to the half way point shortly after lunch. It was unanimously agreed that we would head back to Sherborne rather than take the longer route back via Farmington. A joint effort ensued in which all walkers got involved under my relaxed direction and we headed back to the cars via the splendid family church at Sherborne and different pathways through the Sherborne estate. It was a pleasant walk despite the weather conditions with plenty of other routes available for future walks.

A 3.30pm finish meant that half the walkers went for a well-earned social drink at the Fox Inn at Great Barrington about 3 miles from the start point. The Inn has a splendid location just off the A40 close to the Gloucestershire/Oxfordshire Border.

Tom Clark.

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