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.

 

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This walk on Sunday 26th July 2020 could have been called Commons in the Time of Covid as it centred on two commons, Box Hill and Wadswick. The area around Box Hill Common, the Quarrymans and Quarry Wood was as I have never seen it before - there were people everywhere - it was like a holiday village. This must be a result of Covid-19.

 

Some hours after my visit to Box Hill Common, I met an acquaintance in Tim Barton's fields who said that she had just passed through the common and saw no people but a lot of litter. And talking of Tim Barton, a fenced parking and turning area has been created at the 'top end' of Quarry Wood apparently to make clear where the footpath and bridleway are in the wood; the fencing was pulled down twice within a week. It seems that Covid has visited upon us an array of badly-behaved tourists.

 

The title picture shows the drive of St Patrick's (a private house) at Washwell on the Devizes Road taken on the return leg of the circular route Rudloe, Boxfields, Box Hill Common, Quarry Wood, Barn Piece, Box (the Queen's for a pint), Devizes Road, Wadswick Common, Thorneypits, Boxfields, Rudloe.

Continuing from last week's walk, here we see again the weld (Reseda luteola) in Boxfields Road. This is a biennial plant; this must be the second year as there are substantial stems and flowers. Weld is the source of the ancient, yellow dye, flavone.
And again continuing from last week - Artemisia vulgaris or mugwort, here in Boxfields Road, was traditionally used to ward off evil spirits; that's why we find it here on the road to Box
And now we move on to the 'top end' of Box Hill Common where we find a gurt patch of common melilot (Melilotus officinalis) which was used by the ancient Egyptians to forestall death. They're all dead now (the ancient Egyptians).
The 'top end' of Box Hill Common. Right-of-way BOX39, whence I came, lies through the gap at centre-right.
Horse mint (Mentha longifolia) on the common. Culpeper's complete herbal says that horse mint is good for wind and colic, bad breath (after distillation), dandruff (distilled in vinegar) and if stuffed up the nose (!), purges the head.
Some of the many 'visitors' seen on and around the common on Sunday, 26th July 2020
Pathway cut through the northern side of the common; goat willow (see gallery below) and hemp agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum) at left
Magnificent ash specimen but most unusually-shaped as it has taken on a rounded form on the common
Greater knapweed (Centaurea scabiosa) is prolific on the common
Mainly hemp agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum) on the common here. It is not related to either hemp or agrimony but it has a number of medicinal/herbal uses such as a diuretic or blood purifier.
Knapweed and hemp agrimony again. Whilst the latter has potential medicinal uses, it could also do harm as it contains alkaloids which may block blood flow and cause liver damage. Bright side - a vernacular name is raspberries and cream.
Marjoram and ... wild carrot (maybe) - such plants (the white florets) formerly of the Umbelliferae family (but now Apiaceae) are (to me) difficult to identify as there are many similar-looking species. Wild carrot is Daucus carota.
Marjoram in the verge of the lane that leads to a row of cottages, bridleway BOX35 and Lower Common
The same lane and now we see knapweed (at right) and wild carrot (?) again
Melilot (again) and field scabious. The former was introduced from Europe (pre-Brexit) as a fodder plant but has now become naturalised.
The 'top' entrance to Quarry Wood. The fencing, creating parking and turning space, is recent but following vandalism, the rock was placed here on Saturday (25th July). I reckon I could still get my Ford Model T to the left.
Widened bridleway BOX43 and the Wiltshire Police 'Rural Crime' notice. However, given recent experience, significant perpetrators of crime against the citizen have been found to be the police themselves - see www.rudloescene.co.uk/articles/victim/
Heading along right-of-way BOX40 in Quarry Wood - pendulous sedge at right
In the depths of Quarry Wood
It may look quiet but appearances can be deceptive. I have never seen Quarry Wood so 'busy' - ahead, behind, to the left or right, people could be seen or voices heard - the new Covid tourists?
Remnants of Box Quarry close to the Lady Hamilton entrances (fenced off by Hanson, preventing access)
A close-up of the stone in the foreground of the last picture. Clearly used during the period of active quarrying, but what for?
The Box Quarry entrances in Quarry Wood are: Bridgegate, Lady Hamilton (3 entrances: Rift, Lower and Upper), Freestone Mine and Jack's Workings. I think this is Freestone Mine but could be wrong.
A clearing in Quarry Wood
Horseradish at the entrance to Barn Piece
The yard at Price's Rubber Works in Quarry Hill. No sounds of ancient machinery on a Sunday.
The 'bottom end' of Price's Rubber Works close to Bulls Lane
Al fresco bar at the Queens with landlord Dean lurking in a back corner
Fox and cubs (Pilosella aurantiaca) in a Devizes Road bank. It has another, strange, vernacular name 'Grim the Collier'.
In the Devizes Road heading for right-of-way BOX60 and Wadswick Common
On BOX60 heading for BOX59 (Chapel Plaister towards Blue Vein); Privett's Wood at left
BOX60 continues, except it doesn't. There is no stile into this field, owned by Hazelbury Manor, and no exit. So 'one' had to climb the gate and clamber out over a barbed-wire fence.
Looking back over BOX60 and about to clamber over that barbed-wire fence into the Chapel Plaister - Blue Vein road (BOX59)
The southern end of Wadswick Common from BOX59; lots of marjoram here (see next picture)
Marjoram (Origanum vulgare) at the southern end of Wadswick Common - this is the same species as oregano, a characteristic Mediterranean herb
On Wadswick Common looking south towards Kingsdown
Lady's bedstraw (Galium verum) on the common. Apparently, its name derives the old custom of including it in straw mattresses, especially in the beds of women about to give birth.
Knapweed on the common; Chapel Plaister cottages in the distance
Common fumitory on the common; its name comes from the translucent colour of its flowers giving the appearance of hanging in smoke
The eastern end of Wadswick Common close to Chapel Plaister and the B3109
Stepping into right-of-way BOX48 from Chapel Plaister; barley in Tim Barton's field
Common fumitory in the barley field adjacent to right-of-way BOX48
The verge of this 'back' entrance to Hazelbury Manor was piled high with hundreds of tons of limestone until recently. I guess that it has now been bagged and sold - see the following picture of a repaired dry stone wall.
Great willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum) in a Bradford Road hedge at Thorneypits
Here's that great willowherb again and the view to Alcombe and Bannerdown
Adjacent to the willowherb we find this gurt patch of horseradish
Tim Barton's 'big' wheat field twixt Thorneypits and Boxfields; yellow rattle in the field margin
Repaired dry stone wall (perhaps using stone from the Hazelbury piles) adjacent to right-of-way BOX44
The 'same' dry stone wall with old man's beard (Clematis vitalba) adjacent to BOX44, which lies to the right
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© Paul Turner