As August is a busy time for holidays and village fêtes, I was expecting a low turnout for my latest walk, so I was very pleased when over twenty people joined me on Saturday morning.
The idea for this walk was to follow the boundary fence line of the old Pyestock NGTE establishment and then go through the airfield before continuing on around the boundary beside the canal.
Setting off through Pyestock woods we progressed about half a mile where I planned to divert slightly to pass by a hidden and hardly known lilly pond to look at the dragonflies and pond skaters I had seen previously in the week. But as we descended a slope we were met by hundreds of runners on an event organised by a company called “Brutal”! These runners were queued up and jostling for position before running through this previously quiet lilly pond. Those on their second lap showed just how muddy it was. So we turned and continued along the fence line before leaving the runners behind and heading to Southwood Woodland passing by the gunfire riddled army edifices hidden in the woods.
After crossing into Southwood meadows we followed the Cove Brook on paths the Cove Brook Greenway group had specially strimmed the week before. We then entered the airfield and made our way to the old “factory” area of the original RAE. We stopped to look at the more historic landmarks including the 5 metre wind tunnel, the black sheds and my old office.
We stopped to watch an aircraft take off as we passed by the end of the runway. After the airfield we followed along Shoe Lane past the grave of the five famous army horses to find very welcome tea, coffee and cakes as we reached the canal. We do often encounter strange and interesting sights on these walks and this was no exception. On our way back along the towpath we were surprised to see a juggling unicyclist overtaking us on the road parallel to us. We met up with him at Eelmoor bridge where he gave a demonstration.
So we returned to the sports ground with about 9.5 miles completed and although the sun hadn’t shone it had been a very pleasant morning for walking. I hope all enjoyed it and thank you for keeping me company.
Walk Leader Paul