Castle Ashby (Sun. 15/06/14)

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The cost has now been reduced to £5.50 for members, £6.50 for non-members

Hiking Sunday! Join us in this double-walk to Castle Ashby.

The journey will begin with a 10.4Km route called A Fine State of Affairs that will take us from Castle Ashby village through fields to the River Nene, Whiston lock, and St Mary’s Church to finally end up again in Castle Ashby village.

But that is only the beginning, just after a quick rest it will be time for Castle Ashby. We have booked a guided tour to learn all about the property gardens: the Italian garden, the Orangery, the Butterfly garden, the Secret garden, the Maltese cross, the Rainbow border, and the Arboretum. After the tour we will be able to enjoy some of the house amenities, including: the Walled Garden Tea Room, the Garden Gift Shop, the Plant Centre, and the Farmyard (I have been told that it has teapot pigs! Awww…).

Activity date: Sunday, 15th of June 2014
Meeting point: The Café Bookshop (Cranfield University)
Departing time from Cranfield: 09:30
Arriving time to Cranfield (approx): 17:00
Walk length (approx): 10Km (3hours, route to the River Nene) + 6Km? (1.5hours, gardens) <> 16Km
Club members only?: No. But limited spaces depending on the whole number and the drives’ number.
Sign up at: Email with “Belen – Castle Ashby” in the subject title
Sign-up deadline: Thursday 12th of June by 1pm
Price: £5.50 members and £6.50 non members (includes transport, entrance fee to the house, and guided tour). Please bring the exact amount of money.
Meal provided?: No. You can bring packed lunch or buy something in Castle Ashby Village (e.g. The Buttery). However, ensure you bring snacks to keep the energy high during the walk and sufficient water.
Gear: Wear appropriate clothing and walking boots for a country walk taking into account the weather. It is liable to be wet and muddy underfoot.
Other information: Drivers Wanted. If you have a car and are willing to drive please let us know in the email. The drive will be reimbursed.  If we get sufficient drivers we will bring down the walk cost. 

White Horse Hill and Ashdown Park (Sat. 25/01/14)

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DESPERATE call for DRIVERS for this walk!! If nobody else volunteers for driving we may have to cancel the trip :_( On Thursday I will send an email to all the people who has signed up with the resolution.

Join to this day-out hike and meet the White Horse Hill and Ashdown Park by the hand of our National Trust guide Nan Pratt. This park is home of Neolithic tombs, dragon legends, Giant’s Steps, Bronze-Age ginormous art, and Iron Age remains (extended info at the end of the post).

Tomb of Wayland's Smithy explained by our National Trust Ranger Andy Foley. White Horse Hill and Ashdown Park, Uffington. October 2011.
Tomb of Wayland’s Smithy explained by our National Trust Ranger Andy Foley. White Horse Hill and Ashdown Park, Uffington. October 2011.

Planning (bear in mind that it may be subjected to modifications):

  • 08:00 (yes, AM, and yes, on Saturday): Departure from Cranfield University
  • 09:45: Arrival and stop for physiological needs
  • 10:00: Hike starts
  • 14:00: Hike ends
  • 14:15: Stop for physiological needs (Pub time!)
  • 15:00: Departure to Cranfield University
  • 16:45: Arrival to Cranfield University
Uffington Castle. White Horse Hill and Ashdown Park, Uffington. October 2011.
Uffington Castle. White Horse Hill and Ashdown Park, Uffington. October 2011.
Activity date:  Saturday 25th of January of 2014
Meeting point:  The Café Bookshop (Cranfield University)
Departing time from Cranfield:  08:00
Arriving time to Cranfield (approx):  16:45
Walk length (Km): 12.4 (7.7 miles) (approx)
Club members only?:  No
Sign up at: Email with “Belen – White Horse” in the subject title and your phone number in the body. If you have a car and you volunteer to drive people to the destination, state so in the email please. Fuel and parking expenses will be covered by the club. This walk will only be possible if we have sufficient drivers. The places will be given by sign-up order. However, drivers will have priority as without them we cannot get to the destination. Limited places.
Sign-up deadline:  Wednesday 22nd of January of 2014
Price:  £10 for club member and £13 for non-members (includes transport and guided hike)
Meal provided?:  No. Although we are going to stop in a cafe or pub before and after the walk, you will need packed lunch. As always, take sufficient water and energetic food (chocolate, nuts, etc.) with you.
Gear: Comfortable and waterproof clothing. As always, we recommend wearing hiking boots; The weather may be rainy and the terrain muddy. You may want to take spare clothes with you just in case you get soaked.
Other information:

Ancient rolling downland, home to an enigmatic chalk hill figure

The internationally-renowned Bronze-Age Uffington White Horse can be seen for miles away leaping across the head of a dramatic dry valley in the Ridgeway escarpment.

The horse is only part of the unique complex of ancient remains that are found at White Horse Hill and beyond, spreading out across the high chalk downland.

The Manger, a dramatic dry valley has steep rippled sides left from the retreating permafrost during the last Ice Age. These ripples are known as the Giant’s Steps.

To the east of the Manger lies Dragon Hill, a small roundish hill with a flattened top. It is said to be the site where St. George, England’s patron saint, slew the dragon. The blood poisoned the ground and left a white chalk scar for all to see.

Crowning White Horse Hill is an Iron Age hillfort known as Uffington Castle. A simple design of one rampart and ditch, the castle at 860 feet (262m) above sea level forms the highest point in Oxfordshire, with views for miles around over six counties.

Across the property Burial Mounds can be spotted. These date from the Neolithic period and have been reused up to the Saxon age. The largest contained 47 skeletons and this can be seen as you walk up to the Horse from the car park, if you look carefully.