After a winter (and spring!) of walking in wellies and thermals it came as quite a shock for Ros and I to set out last week on our Christian Aid walk in blazing sunshine and the forecast of higher tempera-tures as the day progressed.
We left from Latton and took a circuitous route out of the village so that we could go past “Lake Louise”, known to previous generations as Latton Lido, or rather more ignominiously as “the gravel pit”. We then ambled across some field with some of my favourite views (I chose this part of the route) before joining the track that runs from Latton to Down Ampney. Pre-Covid, this bridlepath was mostly used by occasional dog walkers and runners, but during lockdown became the social hub of the village where everyone took their daily exercise.
After a mile or so, we crossed the bridge at Ampney Brook and in doing so crossed from Moonraker country back into Gloucestershire. No pitchfork battles this time, although it did get a bit tetchy just before Christmas when Down Ampney was under Level 3 restrictions and Latton was Level 4!
Once in Down Ampney, we picked up the Charlham Lane path and ambled along to the Gilbertine Café at Poulton Priory. We kept a steady pace – even allowing for some stops for drinks and lots of talking – and arrived at exactly the time Ros had planned.
Cake or bacon butties? We opted for bacon butties, which were delicious but maybe very salty food wasn’t a great choice as the day got hotter and I got thirstier.
If you look at the map, the lollipop at the top is our route home where we went on to the main D Ampney-Poulton Rd for a short while before turning off down a very pretty, shaded path which re-joined Charlham Lane. We then walked through swathes of cow parsley before coming back into Latton through the small copse, a view we agreed was “quintessentially English” with church, Cotswold stone houses, and yet more cow parsley. In all we had walked just over 9 miles.
It was a lovely walk, with lots of opportunities to chat and appreciate the stunning late spring wild flowers. But of course there was far more to it than that. At the end of the walk, I turned on my tap and drank a large glass of clean water, followed by a very welcome warm shower and clean clothes. A luxury denied much of the developing world. So far we have raised just over £100 for Christian Aid, with the prospect of a little more still to come, but it is not too late to donate a bit more!