Croft Ambrey

Great views and mud…

The sky was clear and blue, the air cold. The forecast suggested south might be best – it was certainly good. The views from up here are extensive; conditions underfoot are not always so great. There were lots of cars in the Croft Castle car park when we arrived at mid-day – a cross-country run was just ending. Hundreds of feet pounding the ground as the morning’s frost thawed – and of course their route was ours, as far as Croft Ambrey hill fort. It hadn’t been too bad across the field, past the old chestnuts, but it was getting rather sticky in the woods. When the runners’ tracks appeared to go over the fence to the hill fort, we kept straight on. Conditions underfoot seemed to improve – only to deteriorate to serious deep mud further on (only one photo from that stretch – it was all we could do, at times, to stay on our feet. One of us didn’t…).

The mud ends as the path enters the open grassland of Bircher Common. We took the long – and scenic – route around the common, down the delightful track between Oaker Coppice and Bircher Coppice, where the beech leaves glowed in the sunshine. The common’s western edge meets the woodland of Fishpool Valley, and a short walk through the trees back to the car.

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