I went for another walk on Saturday, this time through unexplored territory in Wiltshire. Caught a train to Bedwyn and then headed off through the Savernake Forest and then a really interesting (but windy!) ridge along the Pewsey Downs. Finally I headed north to Avebury, which I visited last year, via the West Kennet long barrow which is another of these ancient burial mounds; but with the exciting twist that you can go inside this one! I suspect the windows in the roof may be a more recent addition.
Although it was sunny it was a bit too hazy to take good photos. Nice area though: nearby Pewsey is train-accessible and I’m pondering a return visit to try crossing the Salisbury Plain. Stay tuned!
My parents were visiting last weekend and we did lots of driving around in my car (see earlier!). Happened to coincide with a burst of unseasonably nice weather. Went to a couple of good places including the Didcot railway museum.
Ah, Hemel Hempstead. Who hasn’t dreamed of visiting that mythical town? On Saturday morning I woke up and decided I’d do just that, following a similar route to one I did a few years ago.
I wisely decided to cheat a little bit and got a bus part of the way to Loudwater, near High Wycombe, and then embarked on an epic 22 mile slog through some very boggy terrain. In hindsight this was probably an adventure best saved until summer.
At one point a country road had turned into a river. The water was flowing alarmingly quickly but it wasn’t clear where to.
The higher parts of the route weren’t so bad, and at least it was a sunny day. This is the pleasant looking church at Coleshill:
Around 5pm the light started failing and I decided to abandon the footpaths and take a short cut via some minor roads. Turned out to be a good decision as by the time I got to Hemel Hempstead it was completely dark.
As I was tired, hungry, and facing a nearly two hour train ride home, I decided not to bother doing any exploring of Hemel Hempstead which rendered the whole journey rather pointless. Maybe I’ll make a return visit: apparently a top attraction is the world’s oldest mechanised paper mill which sounds somewhat interesting…
I was searching the map for somewhere to explore this weekend when I came across, in an area I hadn’t previously visited, a landmark grandiosely called the “Temple of the Four Winds” which sounded like the perfect place for an adventure. So like a hero in a trashy fantasy story I set off on my quest.
The first notable thing I came across was this Buddhist (or perhaps Hindu?) shrine just off a path in the woods near High Wycombe. As it happens, this was way more interesting than the aforementioned temple, but more on that in a minute.
Oh yes, the Temple of the Four Winds. With the name like that it better be a huge awe inspiring structure. Here it is:
Not quite what I was expecting. (Although someone on Flickr has a much better photo.) Turns out it’s not even the “proper” Temple of the Four Winds which is apparently at Castle Howard. And you can’t even get close to it, in the winter at least, as it’s inside someone’s estate. I’ve no idea why the Ordnance Survey deemed it significant enough to put on a map.
A little disappointed I spied a much better destination nearby, West Wycombe hill. It’s very steep and once you get to the top there are fantastic views over High Wycombe and the Chiltern hills. There’s also this mausoleum structure which you can see from miles around:
After that I headed back to Marlow via Lane End conveniently arriving at the train station just before sunset. Alarmingly I was only a few miles away from the site of a vast chasm that opened in the earth this afternoon.
I was recently alarmed to discover that my tea making regime is not ISO 3103 compliant. I have amended my practices and suggest you do also lest a surprise inspection visit from ISO Technical Committee 34 (Food products), Sub-Committee 8 (Tea) finds you non-compliant.