Saturday morning loop by Barbury Castle   3 comments

2013-06-29 nearing barbury castle

Update:  Much more interesting information than my post exists in the comments

In two-and-one-half years running trails all around Swindon and North Wiltshire I have somehow neglected any trips to the Barbury Castle despite it being the nearest antiquity to the house.  This was corrected Saturday; after loading the mp3 player with Radio 4 podcasts and some Craig Ferguson shows stripped to sound-only files, forcing down a couple of peanut butter sandwiches and Ibuprofen & codeine tablets, then loading the Camelback with spiked pink grapefruit juice I set out following this path:

2013-06-29 barbury castle loop

The first two miles were mostly downhill from Old Town heading south into the corporate bit of Swindon.  Soon, though, the forested bits encroached prior to the fields and pastures beyond.

2013-06-29 M4 crossing  2013-06-29 M4 graffito

Past the M4 motorway, Jacobs Ladder, a steep, wooded bit of footpath arises.  This is one of the more challenging bits of this trail and although I’ve done it a few times in the past I never actually look forward to it.  Familiarity breeds contempt, though, and it passed without the sort of stress it has caused in the past.

2013-06-29  jacobs ladder start  2013-06-29 jacobs ladder

A mile or so after Jacob’s Ladder, another climb looms.  This is the last trip to the Ridgeway and with it the Barbury Castle Park.  The Barbury Castle, seen at the top of this post, is a 6th Century battlement about 11 acres in area meant to protect the Saxon residents from other warring tribes after the eventual retreat of the Romans.

2013-06-29 nearing barbury castle park

The path to the left, below, follows the top of the walls of the castle while the protective ditch and its support structure are seen to the centre and right:

2013-06-29 barbury castle battlements

2013-06-29 barbury castle west sign 1   2013-06-29 barbury castle east sign

Once around the grounds and I was pretty much done with my visit.  The steep drop to Uffcott was followed by a bit of paved roadway including the old Wroughton airfield which now houses a Science Museum and then a bit of permissive trail along a lower ridge (and on the edge of some private property of some frankly overprotective and sign addicted twats).

2013-06-29 salthrop wood   2013-06-29 on trail

Also, on the trail there are some medieval earthworks, seen to the left below, meant to facilitate farming on steep landscapes:

2013-06-29 earthworks near elcombe

An especially beautiful start to an especially beautiful weekend, it was also nice to see several stages of rape seed fields (canola):

2013-06-29 approaching elcombe

Sweated my ass off on this one.  Literally, as exhibited by the salt stains:

2019-06-29 salty trousers

salt dried on to sweats

3 responses to “Saturday morning loop by Barbury Castle

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  1. That wooded area just south of M4, hid from view the ex US military hospital that became Burderop Hospital for mentally disturbed people during the 60’&70’s, I worked there during 5x summer holdiays and Xmas’s as a teenager from Ridgeway school – I was a hospital porter, pay was around £45 per week, and I mopped/bumbed a mile of corridor once a fortnight.

    All the patients were barmy as were most of the staff, the nurses were okay and would happily put out after getting them pissed in the staff bar, their accom was across from the hospital, now demolished.

    All female patients were put on the pill when reaching puberty because there was no segregation and often you would see male & female nuts off down the fields ‘looking for bunny rabbits’ ! To say it was like Cuckoos Nest was true… okay they didn’t have a character like McMurphy ( Nicholson ),or nurse Ratchet, but they did have the sluice rooms, the irritating music, the cruel staff, the medication, the ‘softs’ (people that could only eat mashed up food through lack of teeth) and patients were tied to toilets until they had had a shit… sometimes they were on them for hours with their pants down by their ankles. – Care in the community did not exist, this was a barbaric hospital and like Fulsom prison, deserved demolishing.

    Richard Watt
  2. Pingback: The Conservative Club, Swindon | The endless British pub crawl

  3. Pingback: Starting Next Year’s Batch of Sloe Gin | The endless British pub crawl

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