Having seen out 2012 in wet and boggy style, 1st January 2013 dawned bright and optimistic here, with an abundance of welcome January sunshine.
With such inviting weather, what better way to welcome in the New Year and gently remind that extra Christmas wobble it isn’t here to stay than by hitting the hills? We packed up the baby and headed to Walbury Hill near Newbury and Hungerford. Walbury Hill, at a relatively lofty 297m, is the Berkshire County Top, a Marilyn and also the highest point in South East England. Walbury is also home to some mighty fine views, all attainable without the demanding a walk its height suggests. With the handiest car parks located on the ridge approaching the hill itself, you can choose to walk as much or as little as you like and can avoid the ascent almost completely if preferred. We saw plenty of families with all-terrain pushchairs and buggies out for some fresh air on the ridge and enjoying the views.
Given the time of year and the fact our 15 month year old was traveling in the backpack, we opted for a 2 hour circular walk taking in Walbury Hill, some of the ridge and the countryside beneath it, with the opportunity to admire the hill from all angles. In fact, dropping beneath the hill itself really helps you to appreciate its ancient status as a hill fort, which from standing on top is not at all obvious. The ridge itself was quite breezy and everywhere was pretty muddy after all the rain we have had recently but once we dropped down beneath Walbury Hill it was positively balmy for January and we even stopped for a brief picnic!
A great start to the New Year and hopefully the first of a year packed full of walking adventures. Wishing you and your families a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013 and may your walking boots be never far from the door!
You can find details of the Walbury Hill Circular Walk here. Did you go somewhere great for New Year’s Day? Always great to hear new ideas – please leave a post!