Wednesday, 19 March 2014

82 - Bald Hill - Old Oxfordshire - 11th March 2014

The view from Bald Hill car park
It was early March and it had been one of the wettest winters in a long time, things were looking wet almost everywhere and I was wondering if I was ever going to get out to visit some new high points this year. I don't actually mind getting a bit wet but to go camping when its torrential rain and wind is NOT a good idea. I was suddenly excited to see a possible high pressure heading our way and started to look into a camping trip. I picked several locations and started the search for campsites and eventually decided to head to an area about 2 hours north of Portsmouth. I initially wanted to climb 4 high points in the area but after studying the maps for a while I noticed there was a high point that I could visit on the way to the campsite, so here is my trip to Bald Hill (and another bonus high point).

Local nature reserve
Bald hill is not one of the current high points, back in 1974 the counties of the UK were all reshuffled, some counties disappeared and others were created, what this means is that some of the high points were no longer the highest point. when I started this challenge I had to decide whether to climb the original (historic) counties (86 I think) OR the new modern counties (which including a lot of extra unitary authorities comes to around 225ish), so in the end I decided to do all of them and Bald Hill is the historic high point of Oxfordshire.

The top of Bald hill
I left home at 10:30am and headed north up the A3(m) past Petersfield, Guildford and onto the clockwise M25, then up past Heathrow and onto the M40, a short distance after High Wycombe I left the motorway and drove past the village of Stokenchurch (there was a huge concrete pillar/antenna thing here which was quite attractive . . . . not). Eventually I made another turn and arrived at my destination car park near Bald Hill. It was a very handy car park, free and just 500ft from my destination. I walked along a path and found that the hill was far from being bald as it was covered in a woodland, I was soon at the summit of the hill, the actual highest point was hard to find as the whole area was pretty flat.

Town Farm campsite
After a photograph I headed off back to the car park and crossed the road to take a quick look at the views. It was actually a little murky so I could not see too far. It was then time to head off to my campsite which was situated around 45 mins drive away. I headed through lots of little villages eventually coming to the town of Tring and finally to the village of Ivinghoe which is where my campsite was situated.

The Chiltern's

Ivinghoe Beacon
Town farm campsite is a wonderful place, I was met by Tom who showed me to one of the camping fields which I had to myself. The views were stunning, to the north I had miles of view to look at, to the south were the rolling Chiltern hills, then to the east was Ivinghoe Beacon. I pitched up my tent and made a cup of tea, then I decided to head out for a walk before I started my dinner. I walked back through the farm and then up across the road towards the hills. The walk took me through a few fields and then over a style and gradually up the hills eventually coming to the summit of Ivinghoe Beacon.

Ivinghoe Beacon is not on my list of high points which is a shame is its a beautiful location and much nicer than some of the ones I have done recently, I did however decide to give it honorary high point status. I sat on top of the beacon for some time and watched the sun setting, the clouds had cleared by now and the views were stunning. I eventually made my way back down the beacon and back to the campsite where I lit the campfire and made my dinner of beef stew and potato cakes with pancakes for dessert, all made on the open fire. Then it was off to sleep ready for me to visit 4 more high points the next day.

To be continued . . . . . . . .

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