Iona goes to the Edge

Trip 3: June 2021. ☀️🌥⛅️☁️Mount Farm Park. 204 miles,

To give you some idea of where we are. The village of Ratley is on the northwest side of the Edge hill escarpment about 200 metres above sea level.

The village is close to the county border with north Oxfordshire some 7 miles northwest of Banbury.The remains of a 12th-century motte & bailey castle are just outside the village, which were designated a Scheduled monument in 1961. The Battle of Edge Hill, the first battle of the English Civil War, was fought very near the village.

The former Church of England school and local Post Office buildings are still standing but have been converted into houses.

Our journey down to the campsite was an adventure in itself. The satnav could not find any satellite 🛰 and it kept freezing. We switched to using the app on my phone but that sent us off course.

I had a meltdown and a swearathon but I managed to turn around and rejoin the proper route. We managed to find the M40 and by then the satnav and the app were talking from the same hymn sheet and we arrived at the site after nearly 3 hours.

We met Ali who gave us all the info on water etc and she said we could park where we wanted. We filled with water and parked next to another Moho but we faced north so the fridge did not get the full afternoon sun.

After lunch we went for a walk around the village. There are some really old and picturesque houses including the Old school and the First post office and like many villages this one had a Wesleyan chapel.

We visited the church which had some very old graves, the oldest we could read was 1862. Our walk took us in a circle and then we walked out of the village to Edge Hill where we turned towards our campsite.

Tomorrow we will retrace our steps and go down the stairway known as Jacob’s Ladder to the base of Edge Hill .

Back at camp we sat out and listened to a group of campers having a bbq in amongst all the Caravans and Motorhomes, it was quite funny to listen too.

We had our bbq, it was a huge steak each tonight with Corn 🌽 on the cob and salad, a glass of 🍷 followed later with a special surprise of a Peach 🍑 flavoured Jim Beam bourbon. We sat out until 21.20 which is the latest this year, but it was a hot day.

Day 2: ☀️🌤

Sunshine this morning until lunchtime and then cloudy. This morning we are going for a hike along the Edge of Edge Hill.

Part of Jacobs Ladder

We set off early for us,10.15am, and headed to Jacob’s Ladder which is a series of steps leading down the Edge to a main footpath, here we followed the signs across a field, still heading down to the valley floor. This was a test for Sue because there was a herd of young bullocks in the field.

The footpath lead us to the village of Radway, which is where the battle of Edgehill was fought. As we wandered through the village we came to a bus shelter with a board full of photos of village scenes throughout the year. There was also a plaque and a Covid 19 snake made by the school children from painted pebbles.

Next to the bus shelter was an information machine which told us about the Cart Wash opposite. It told us about an exhibition in the church so that was our next point of call.

The Cart Wash

The Church had an exhibition about the battle of Edgehill, with videos and displays as well as manikins dressed in uniforms of the times.

We left the church and followed the country Lane until we came to King John’s lane which would take us back to the top of Edgehill and the Castle Inn. On the way we passed some very picturesque and expensive looking cottages and houses.

King John’s Lane started as a tarmac Lane and went to a farm track and as it got steeper and steeper it turned to a rocky path. I cannot explain how steep it was but we had to keep stopping to rest our legs. Our leg muscles were on fire.

We eventually reached a level path and we followed this back towards the Caste Inn which was still some hundred feet above us. The path upto the Inn was a climb and we stopped to take a photo before heading back down a path towards the bottom of Jacobs ladder. The castle was a folly built about 100 years after the battle. It has now been converted to a Pub.

We stopped near the bottom of Jacob’s ladder and walked onto the field that we walked down this morning. Here we sat among the buttercups and ate our packed lunch.

The herd of cows Sue was a little wary of.

The path to Jacob’s ladder stairway was easy but climbing the steps back upto the road seemed almost impossible but at halfway there was no way we were turning back.

When we got home we were disappointed to find out that we had only walked 4.5 miles, although the effort put into climbing back up Edgehill felt far greater.

Day 3: ☀️⛅️☁️

Sunshine as we woke but by 10.00am it had become cloudy. The Middlesex caravan group were packing up, so we will be on our own by this afternoon.

I have planned today’s walk which will take us about 5 miles. We followed a track past the Rose & Crown pub out into the countryside and down into a valley. We crossed the valley and started a gentle climb.

We entered a field on the hillside which much to Sue’s dread had cows in it but they were some distance away. We climbed a steep bit of track an then the path followed the valley. We were doing really well until we walked into a herd of young heifers coming in the opposite direction.

Sue’s worst nightmare again and she prepared to hide in a hay rack. However the cows were more afraid of us and more interested in going to a water trough.

The path took us through some woodland as it lead down to the valley floor where we passed through a gate onto a narrow track without any sign of a cow. The track started to climb and we left the wood and made our way up a steep hill past a hillside caravan site. There was an auto-trail rally in a flat field at the top of the hill.

We came to a B road which we had to follow for nearly a mile, there was no footpath but it was not a busy road and we made it to the next footpath. This was not so picturesque as it went down the valley across a couple of fields.

We stopped near a stream to have a rest and eat our packed lunch. Then uphill again along a farm track until the next style into a field which had had cows in but Sue gave a sigh of relief when all she could see was sheep.

There was a steep climb to the next waypoint, unfortunately the sign on the gate said beware of the Bull. More drama but the bull was nowhere to be seen as we crossed to the next style and this is where Sue had to put on a brave face. The next field had cows in and they were between us and the exit style.

We bypassed the cows and gave them plenty of room. There were all watching us and it became apparent that they were all with calf. One had just given birth and was licking the calf that was on the ground.As we past them there were two other cows with newborn calves that had not got up to walk.

At the top of the field we found the gate and not far away was a calf on wobbly legs with it’s mother. As we were now used to the countryside the road went downhill and we arrived back at the pub. Now only one more hill until we reached the campsite.

The walk turned out to have been 6.45 miles, although with all the hills it felt much more.

Tonight Sue is cooking a Paella 🥘 on the Cadac outside. It is not forecast to be sunny but it is brightening up a bit from the dark grey clouds we had when we got home. I had a chat to the locals.

The evening got better and Sue cooked in sunshine and we ate a marvellous paella in sunshine. We sat outside until nearly 21.00 and then retired to a warmer Iona. It was a great finnish to our three nights away.

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