Saturday, 29 October 2011

Walking Around Chawton and the South Downs

Fine Weather Walkers

Word and Pictures: Ted Crew

On Saturday 15 October, a group of Fine Weather Walkers set off from St Paul’s at 08:30am under the leadership of Graham ‘I shall say this only several times ’ Le Clercq for a six mile walk he had previously reconnoitred from Chawton near Alton. The village was home of the famous English novelist Jane Austen for the last eight years of her life, and lies within the South Downs National Park.

Parking near Jane Austin’s House we booted and spurred before departing. With a thermometer reading of three degrees and, resisting the temptation to break into a song, we crossed a nearby field seeing our first frost of the autumn. A beautiful blue sky and rapidly rising temperature. Soon it became clear that the group needed to be renamed the Smug Fabulous Weather Walkers.

Jane Austen's HouseJane Austen’s House

If the walk were to have a name it should be ‘the beginners’ country walk with an introduction to animals. On this gently undulating walk, we encountered sheep, alpacas, two bulls, pigs, cows, chickens, thoroughbred horses and a rather large working horse who wanted to join the walk. It was during this introduction to animals that Sigrun threw doubt on her rural heritage by claiming that a sheep was a pig. Graham demonstrated that he was well acquainted with the country with a rather fine impersonation of a chicken – actions an’ all! Unfortunately, the working horse either took a dislike to Ted or was trying to show unwanted affection by biting into Ted’s fleece.

Our mid-morning break was enjoyed in a field near the beautiful village of Upper Farringdon. In baking sunshine we unzipped our bananas (for energy) oat bars (for sustenance but low carbohydrate) and coffee (because that’s what you do in the middle of the morning). After a 15 minute break we were off again through the village and on our way back to Chawton.

The walk was taken at a leisurely pace, we were surrounded by God’s wonderful country gifts. We returned to our cars refreshed by the experience rather than tired. You should join us one day and bring a friend. The walks are always very well organised.

The St Paul’s walking group is open for all to join in the local area. You don’t have to be a member of St Paul’s. For more information on the walking group, and other walks done, take a look at some of their blog posts here.

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