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Gallops, bales and ducks but no x-rays and no beer - the Ridgeway

By Rudi Winter

This walk was a pleasant surprise arising from a disappointment: We were at Diamond Light Source SU4786 : Diamond Light Source from the Ridgeway by Rudi Winter to do some x-ray experiments on polymer films but a vacuum leak on the beamline meant that we had the afternoon off while Diamond's technicians were busy fixing the problem and pumping the system down again. Luckily I had some trainers and my camera with me, so we got to enjoy the sunshine and the scenery of the West Ilsley Downs instead.

As the Ridgeway, an ancient track, runs along a ridge SU4784 : The Ridgeway by Rudi Winter (the clue is in the name!) just south of Harwell Science Campus SU4784 : Crop field and research campus by Rudi Winter, we left the car at Bury Down SU4784 : Bury Down car park by Rudi Winter right on the Ridgeway and walked west, with views of Didcot power station SU4784 : Bury Down by Rudi Winter

and the research centre SU4786 : Harwell research campus by Rudi Winter we'd just escaped from. After a short while, we dropped off the Ridgeway towards West Ilsley. To do so, we had to cross some racehorse gallops SU4684 : Racehorse gallops, Sheep Down by Rudi Winter (no racing horses in view), part of a network of grass gallops SU4684 : Gallops, Sheep Down by Rudi Winter belonging to West Ilsley Stables.

The view to the south included crop fields in the process of being harvested and straw bales being stacked SU4683 : Baling near West Ilsley by Rudi Winter, with some interesting geometrical patterns on the ground SU4683 : Sheep Down by Rudi Winter that I'm not used to from my usual moorland habitat.

West Ilsley is a village with all the ingredients a stereotypical village is supposed to have: a cricket field SU4782 : West Ilsley Cricket Club by Rudi Winter, a pub SU4782 : The Harrow pub, West Ilsley by Rudi Winter (unfortunately closed for a nap in the late afternoon), a village green with resident ducks SU4782 : The slow ducks of West Ilsley by Rudi Winter and a church SU4782 : All Saints, West Ilsley by Rudi Winter.

Having walked the length of the main street, we made the short ascent up Folly Down SU4882 : Folly Down by Rudi Winter back to the Ridgeway and the car park.

We did get our beer in the beer garden of The Lamb in Wantage later in the evening, and the rest of the beamtime went very well from the next morning, too.

You can see this trip plotted on a map on the Geo-trips page LinkExternal link .

Trip profile: LinkExternal link

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Wed, 8 Mar 2017 at 20:06
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SU4683 : Sheep Down by Rudi Winter
Sheep Down by Rudi Winter for square SU4683

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