Farrington Gurney

We took this route from the back of 'Country Walking' magazine thinking that it would be quite an established route. However this was not the case although it was quite a pleasant walk it was certainly not the easiest. Today we had the company of Sarah and Paul 'Rammy' Shore a.k.a Maybelline.

We started todays adventure from the car park of the Farrington Inn on the A37. It was a gloomy day, damp and overcast with a slight possibility of sunshine later on. We set off from the inn up the road to what I believed to be our first footpath. The map had the blue pint glass on the left so I turned the map in conjunction to where the pub was and we trundled on up the road. With each step I was thinking that there should be more buildings, it looked like we where heading out of Farrington Gurney. The public footpath sign come into view but it was the wrong one - Already the ramblers (me) had gone wrong. OS maps have got a lot to answer for!! Anyway in true rambler fashion we took hold of the map and managed to find a path on the opposite side of the road. This took us by Field farm - great name.

The track was not clear as we entered a very large rapeseed field. Thanks to the morning dew everything was soaking wet. I feared for Marks safety as we would have never of found him in the dense vegetation but he politely told me where to go or words to that effect.

I decided to take the lead and trample down much of the overgrowth after all it was my decision that got us in this mess. I was absolutely soaked and covered in lots of yellow petals. I also had lots of irritating nettle stings - not a good start. I was more worried about Sarah as I like to keep the walks pretty straight forward when she comes along but she coped just fine. Eventually we managed to break out at the end and tumble into a much more defined tractor track called Ham Lane. We cut down through another field which was much easier to navigate through as the crop was only just breaking through the top soil. We were heading towards Pitway lane.

We eventually hit Pitway Lane and was back on the right route. On the map was a large blue duck that normally indicates some sort of wetland/wildlife area, however that duck(s) got the blame for a lot of flatulence that was occurring quite regularly - eh Mark. Our path came to a junction where an off road Jeep was parked up. We was to take the route down through Chewton Wood. We were all in high spirits the path was well established and we were going the right way. It was great to have a newbie with us too who seemed to be enjoying it so far which was good considering he had booked a day off work to come with us - for those of you that don't know Rammy works with us but is on a different shift.

As we approached the end of the woods we could see a nice flat path stretching out ahead of us which I hoped was ours. To our left was another route, a much steeper route that lead up through a cutting laden with trees either side forming a sort of green tunnel. Having consulted the map and concluded that Chewton woods did in fact look more like the continent of Africa than a cock (long story) we knew that the steeper route was indeed the one we needed to take, it was onward and upward.

The ground was very uneven the further up we got. It had deep tyre trenches left by scrambler motor bikes. Once we got to the top the views were rather nice but the weather was still dull and from a photographers point of view very boring! We stopped at the top for a breather and a drink. Once refreshed we went over a style to our right into a field that was absolutely full of dandelions.

One regular occurrence that happens on our walks is not knowing where the path is once we enter a field. All we have as some sort of clue is the little yellow arrow (if there is one) on the style itself. More often than not its just a case of walking on through it hoping that there is a style in the distance. On this occasion all we had was the map. We sauntered on until we reached some woodland which I vaguely could make out on my black and white copy of the map. Because there was no clear route to take and we had come to a barbwire fence that crossed our path we decided to head on down the ridge to a road of sorts that we could then follow into Litton.

I think it was at this point we saw a deer dart into view as it ran for cover back into some bushes. We decided to help each other through the barb wire fence and through the trees down into more open land just the other side of the small wooded area. The photo above is of a Woodpeckers nest, we could here the continuos tweeting of babies coming from within.

Rammy is by no means a small chap so it was quite comical watching him trying to get through or over the barb wire fence whilst trying desperately to keep his manhood intact. We had visions of them being left on the fence like a sheep often does its wool, hanging there would be a couple of plums and perhaps a bit of denim.

This must be Dandelion land because these fields were full of them, it must be nice in the height of spring when a gust of wind sends millions of seeds into flight. We were on our way to Litton walking along a road until it hair pinned sharply to our right. From there we needed to keep an eye out for a path on our left. This would take us the right side of the church that I had my eye on as a marker. One way or another we arrived at a bridge which marked the start of the river Chew. This stemmed from a reservoir that we were about to embark on. By the bridge was a track that took us alongside the river as it got wider and wider until it opened up into a large body of water. We all said we had no idea that this was here. The water was quite murky to begin with then it got more clearer the deeper it got.

It was quite a scenic path along the waters edge. In the distance we could see the dam wall, some fisherman were tackling up and preparing for a days fishing in peace until we turned up. We perched ourselves on the wall and had a bit more refreshment. Rammy pulled out a Ginsters peppered steak slice and shoved it in his top pocket. Which we all thought was hysterical, those who know Rammy will understand that he never stops eating. We all thought that today might be an exception. Rammy bent over to do his shoe lace up and of course out fell the steak slice. Apparently the fisherman did not care for our amusement and mumbled under their breath.


We walked on past Peaks Girt Wood and past the lower reservoir that had a fountain of water jetting out from the main wall. Once we hit the second lower dam wall Rammy said that he had lost his lighter. What we didn't know is that Ray 'Rammy' Mears had come prepared for this very situation. In his back pack he had a flint firelighting kit which he used to create a spark on to some cotton wool. He managed to get a flame and light his fag - genius! The rest of us were getting ourselves ready for the big climb up Coley Hill. We initially entered into a cow field that we felt a little uneasy about ever since the Lacock walk a few weeks ago. Only one cow came to investigate and 'moo' the odds. We hurried through calmly in the wrong direction but still we made it to the top of the field - bringing up the rear was Rammy eating his steak slice and puffing on his cigarette.

The field had two exits one on the left that was hidden and one on the right that we could see, so instinctively we headed to the one we could see. Once I checked the map I realised that we needed to be at the other corner so it meant just crossing the field to the other side. We headed on up the huge hill taking in the views the further up we got. In the distance dark clouds hung off the tops of hills. and the tones in the far off meadows let us know that the sun was managing to break through.

Stunning views
up up up

We all finally made it to the top, surprisingly we all coped pretty well, neither of us really struggled that much. We got our breath and had another refreshment break before heading in the direction of Hinton Blewett our next destination.

Our route took us across open land towards a style in the far corner. We were now on Hook Lane and about to enter Hinton Blewett. This was quite a nice little village with lots of large cottages and local boozer. From this point we were now heading back to Farrington Gurney via Pitway Lane - we just needed to get back on to it.

This was not as straight forward as it looked on the map. We found our footpath on the left and crossed through to something quite familiar - an electric fence. The two brightly coloured wires were held up by two plastic pegs giving us a slightly better chance of getting through unscathed but this was ridiculous. Rammy was worrying about his manhood again because it was very doubtful he could bend down that far. Luckily we all got through with out any shocks although Sarah did come close but mark managed to get he to duck further down. Once through we had the same the other side of the field. I was looking for a path that on the map crossed the one we were on. I never did see it and we ended up at Cameley House. We back tracked a little and got our bearings. As long as we headed 90 degrees to our right away from our current heading we would be going in the right direction. All we needed was a clear path to follow without obstruction. I decided to go on ahead and look to see if it was passable.

As I reached the top I noticed that it was barbed again but there was a place where the wire was slack, beyond that we would be ok. I was worried though in case we could not get through it. I then spotted a large deer run right past me it was stunning. I quickly turned around to everybody who was waiting back on the original path and shouted 'Deer' but they all thought I said 'Here!' So they all started walking towards me. I thought 'shit' I have not found anything yet, I panicked hoping that we could fit through the barbed wire. Then I smiled thinking of Rammys plums being caught again. "Rammy you have ripped your jeans" "Its not my jeans I am worried about its the 2 inch gash in my ball sack that I am more concerned about" was the conversation we had afterwards - please don't worry all was well and Rammy's manhood made it through without being left on any fences. We managed to get over the final obstacle of this very tricky walk.

Once we got into the field there was a clear opening ahead for farming vehicles to enter so we headed towards that. We just needed to walk down towards Long Dole Wood and past the giant blue duck. I think it was at this point the ground became massively chewed up and sludgy. It looked like it had been used for 4x4 off roading - it was that bad. Luckily Mark found a path that ran along side it otherwise we would have been in real trouble.

Bush tucker Rammy needed another cigarette so we all had a bit of a breather whilst he tried to create a spark. It was funny watching him knelt down striking the flint but he did it, quicker than I could get a picture. We were close to Pitway Lane now and we all had a thirst on that water or fruit squash was not going to quench. We were surprised that the path we were on brought us out at the crossroads we were on earlier. Remember the off road jeep that I mentioned before entering Chewton Woods? All we had to do now is follow Pitway Lane all the way to the main road where the pub was waiting patiently for us.

It felt good to be back at the car, it was a tough walk and we hoped that it did not put Rammy off. We thought that it would be a good route with it being in a magazine. Rammy enjoyed it anyway and so did Sarah so thats what matters most. We had a pint or two in the Farrington Inn accompanied by our usual two bowls of chips. I made a comment about Rammy's eye lashes being so long and he said maybe it's Maybelline that set me off because I imagined him dressed as a women called you guessed it - Maybelline. Anyway I have digressed, hope you enjoyed the walk and the post, I know we all did, catch you on the next one!

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