Today I completed a new series near to me called “Byways & Railways”, it is a 7 mile circular walk starting from Chiseldon, near Swindon, Wiltshire and is made up of 28 caches of varying sizes. Overall this was a very enjoyable series, large parts are suitable for bikes and push chairs but not all. The caches are easy to find and well spaced out, some are so easy I wonder how long it will be before they are muggled! There is some nice scenery and with the exception of one hill it is generally flat and makes a great morning’s geocaching.
I started the walk early on Sunday morning as it was due to get very hot during the day, perhaps summer was finally going to arrive! However at 7.30am it was damp and misty! The series had only been published the day before and I had thought of going out walking it then and perhaps picking up a few FTF’s but it was raining and I was a little tired from a maintenance trip I had just got back from on my own series in the area.
The series started from a little car park in the middle of the village and after a short walk through the houses and thatched cottages, picking up the first cache on the way, I was soon into the the countryside. I signed my first log at 7.25am and there were already two other names on it so I think others had the same idea as me.
The trail roughly divides up into three sections, the first part took me across arable farmland mainly wheat and rapeseed. Although it had rained recently the ground underfoot was firm and not at all muddy, but I wonder what it will be like through the winter months. From Chiseldon I headed towards Draycot Foliat where the trail picked up the Old Ridgeway track, a nice wide byway which eventually lead me up the only hill on the route to Burderop Down.
By the time I reached the hill top the mist had all but gone and blue sky replaced the earlier grey clouds and it had turned into a beautiful morning. The second section of the trail took me along the top of the hill then down to a very flat and straight and long section of byway, although I’m not sure that vehicles are permitted along it any longer.
As the sun was now out it had got very warm and I was pleased to be walking under the shade of the trees. There were some nice views along this section and I could see all the way up to Whitefield Hill and the transmitter mast on the top.
The third and final section of the series was along the disused Swindon to Marlborough railway line that is now a section of the route 45 national cycleway. This was also a very long a straight walk alongside the A346 Marlborough road. It was another nice wide and flat track which was again under the shade of trees for the most part, ideal for a hot day. Although you couldn’t avoid the noise of the road along here, it wasn’t too intrusive and after a while I forgot all about it. There were more great views of the adjacent Liddington Hill and Liddington Castle along the way. Eventually the trail brought me back to the car park where there was a little cabin shop where I picked up some refreshments.
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