Warning: photo heavy.
Friday 24th April was the third anniversary of our arrival in Warminster, and as conditions were favourable (dry underfoot, not to hot or too windy, no rain forecast) we decided to take our first proper walk of 2015. I had found a relatively undemanding circular route taking us approximately 4 kilometres (just over 2.5 miles) with a steep uphill climb to start, a gentle downhill middle and a relatively flat return leg.
Our start point was at the roundabout where the eastbound road out of town joins the A36 at the end of the bypass. There is a handy parking space or two on what used to be the original A36 before the bypass was built, so that's where we left the car.
We had quite a steep climb up the side of Cotley Hill. As usual I let GM go in front so that I could take photos at my leisure. Every now and then he would turn round to see if I was still with him, this is roughly halfway up
and looking back from the same point you can see the roundabout where we started from.
Once at the top we stopped for a short breather, looking westwards towards town with Cley Hill to the far left
We saw what I guessed to be a racing pigeon starter thingie, not sure if it was abandoned or just left there for later use.
Also an old piece of agricultural equipment.
We then joined the Imber Range perimeter path, with views back over the plain,
and onwards towards the highest point in our walk,
a tumulus with a cairn on the top.
From this point onwards our path descended gently towards a woody area
and coming out the other side we had a choice of taking a shorter descent by turning right and walking alongside the trees, or continuing straight ahead beside another field of oil seed rape.
As we were still feeling quite fresh, we continued straight ahead, continuing to descend gently.
At the bottom of the hill we joined a track which led us back towards the village of Heytesbury, past the grand newish, but rather stark, entrance to Heytesbury House, erstwhile home of Seigfried Sassoon.
We then crossed over the A36
and on into the village, passing the Hospital of St. John,
the village lock-up,
and, arriving very conveniently at a couple of minutes after midday, we felt obliged to stop for a bit of a sit down and some liquid refreshment in the Red Lion.
The pub garden just happens to back on to the River Wylye, so we took a quick peek at the river before leaving.
Now feeling energised we made our way along through the village, watched by one of the local inhabitants,
back to where we had parked the car.
As mentioned at the beginning, this was only a 4km walk, and was, we felt, just the right sort of distance to start our walking season. This is such a lovely part of the country, with so many choices of walks of all distances, I'm sure we'll be doing plenty more this year - watch this space.
And, as a p.s., I managed to pass my 8000 step target - but still didn't quite make 10,000.