Rambling without Clare Balding! Part 1...
It’s interesting how much there is to explore within 15 miles of home. Early risers will probably be familiar with the name of #HelenBrowning from Farming Today. Despite being a huge fan of her passion for #organic farming and the succinct and articulate delivery of information I had never realised that she farms not that far away in #Wiltshire. More on that later.
In September I joined some friends exploring the #Ridgeway, an amazing ancient path that passes through Wiltshire into Oxfordshire and beyond. The countryside is glorious and despite the Ridgeway being well documented, we saw very few other walkers. Gorgeous autumnal weather coupled with fabulous food and wine spurred us along our way, Clare Balding wouldn't have got a work in edgeways through our chatter and laughter!.
The alternative perspective on familiar landscapes when viewed from the footpath is quite surprising. I thought that I knew the countryside well, having lived in the area for over 20 years – but think again.
The icing on the cake though was our stay at Helen Browning’s pub, the Royal Oak. By coincidence the annual farm walk and shared supper was happening that very same evening. We were taken by tractor up to Eastbrook Farm where Tim Finney talked us through the farm’s ethos from the crop rotation through to management of the pig herd. It was a truly magical evening with the most beautiful light conditions. Tim has a lovely sense of humour and is a brilliant communicator. You wouldn’t believe how much information he packed in! Transported back to the pub, we were treated to a shared feast at the pub which was packed out. Five delicious courses, and each one showcasing the farm’s, or close associates’, produce. My 3 companions and I were well and truly bowled over. Replete, we made our way through the car park to the pub’s accommodation and slept off the excesses before continuing along the Ridgeway for our last day.