Welcome to the Rudloe and environs website.

 

Here you will find news, articles and photos of an area that straddles the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in north-west Wiltshire.

 

Contributions in the form of articles or photos are welcome. Even those with completely contrary views to mine!

 

Thanks to the website builder 1&1 and Rob Brown for the original idea.

 

Rudloescene now, in January 2014, has a sister, academic rather than anarchic, website about Box history here: http://www.boxpeopleandplaces.co.uk/

It contains thoroughly professional, well-researched articles about Box and its people.

 

Contact rudloescene through the 'Contact' page.

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This walk is from Andrew Swift and the Akeman Press's Country Walks From Bath (2017) chosen because it is about the right length for a day walk with three pub stops (there's method in our madness). 'We' would highly recommend it apart from Andrew not saying that oxygen would be required for the climb up Fox Hill! There's not much out there in the big, wide world that can match such an English country walk on a glorious June day.

 

We started the walk with coffee/tea and a bit of toast at Cafe au Lait opposite Bath Spa Station then proceeded through the tunnel to the left of the station to Widcome and Lyncombe Hill.

This 'welcome' sign greets pedestrians who cross, as we did, from the station
In Lyncombe Vale Road at the start of the walk
A stop for a route check on a bridge that crossed the Somerset & Dorset line twixt Bath Green Park and Devonshire Tunnel (oh, the memories ...)
A hay field before (!) the steep climb up Fox Hill
The view across Lyncombe Vale from Fox Hill
Sign in Midford Road opposite the Cross Keys (pub). Being a congenital idiot of the first order, I thought that Wansdyke Council was still extant.
According to Andrew, this is a 'declivitous outcrop of oolitic limestone' in Southstoke Lane
As you enter Southstoke from Southstoke Lane, the 19th-century, grade II listed Priory dominates the prospect
Pity about the van but here's the famous, 17th-century Packhorse Inn which was 'saved' by the community and reopened in March 2018
After leaving Southstoke (the pub!) the path climbs towards a recently-installed toposcope from which magnificent views can be had ...
... the views extend from Pen Hill in the west to Westbury White Horse in the east
Substantial wall with 'cocks' and the view south-west towards the Mendips
A view to the west showing local woodland in a rolling landscape
A couple of drifters trying to come to terms with the intricacies of the toposcope
This is the view to the south-east with Salisbury Plain in the distance
Setting off for Combe Hay; I fell a little behind as my pint of Daggers Ale (Three Daggers Brewery - nul points) had filtered through quite quickly
After emerging from a holloway, we head across open country towards Combe Hay
Away from the madhouse of so-called civilisation we savour the sights, sounds and smells of the English countryside
On reflection, we should have taken time out to lie down in this meadow and practise a bit of mindlessness (is that right?)
Fortnight Farm, beyond that last field, now looks like a country retreat (second home) for some wealthy individual
Plucking up the courage to brave the culvert under an embankment which originally carried the Somerset Coal Canal
Navigating the culvert which was slightly shallower at the far end (presumably the ground was higher)
See what I mean about the height of the culvert - we did have to stoop at this end
The track here runs alongside the brook (which ran through the culvert) and eventually emerges in Combe Hay
The Wheatsheaf at Combe Hay - well, we know where the gents is but, of course, we can piddle at Will in the countryside (if we can find Will)
This is only a starter but talk about nouvelle cuisine ... tis a good job I ordered a side of chips. The lads went for the traditional ham, egg and chips.
Barningham's Bridge which featured twice in 'The Titfield Thunderbolt' in the race between the train and Pearce & Crump's bus (3m-68ch to Bath?)
Twixt Barningham's Bridge and Rowley Farm heading towards the Somerset Coal Canal
The Coal Canal is seen here (just!) between the two sets of fence posts
This flight of locks executed an oblique change of direction which boatmen dubbed the bull's nose (this text from Andrew's book)
This bridge also featured in 'The Titfield Thunderbolt' when Pearce & Crump's bus comes to a screeching halt as it encounters an oncoming car while the Titfield Thunderbolt steams blithely by above
Striding out along the towpath with the canal to the left
The bed of the Coal Canal looks quite wide here as we head towards Midford
We have just passed under this railway viaduct which runs over the Cam Brook
This lovely old bridge over the Coal Canal is listed
This recently-restored aqueduct carried the southern arm of the canal over the Cam Brook
The poplars define the line of the Cam Brook over which the canal has just passed
'The Moorings', a fine house next to the disappointing Hope & Anchor at Midford
The plaque on this house at Tucking Mill states that William Smith, the father of English geology, lived here but he didn't - see Andrew's book

We cocked up the final part of the walk as just past William Smith's house (not) we couldn't see the footpath of "just past the house, turn left up a footpath". There was a chap in a car coming out of Tucking Mill Reservoir (private, disabled fishing) who said that we should go by the private lake to a footpath. We didn't like to disabuse him of this notion so we followed his advice but then realised that this wasn't the right way and tried to get out through the automatic gate whence we had come (the chap must have opened it with a 'zapper') but couldn't. So we went past the lakes and up the chap's footpath onto the trackbed of the S&D railway and returned to Bath through the two tunnels.

Three views of Tucking Mill Reservoir - I
Three views of Tucking Mill Reservoir - II
Three views of Tucking Mill Reservoir - III
We weren't supposed to head back through the former S&D tunnels. This is the entrance to the 1700m Combe Down Tunnel; a blast of cool (55 degree) air can be felt even at this distance. Welcome pints ahead at the Bear (Bear Flat) and Graze.
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© Paul Turner