Updates 07-07-08 – 3: Rhineland

Updates are available on 3 routes from Beyond The Urban Fringe (B-tuf 2 – The Wild West, B-tuf 16 – A Bird in the Hand and now B-tuf 3 – Rhinelend)

We decided to walk the Rhineland route from the Fox at Easter Compton under a threatening sky, but luckily the threat did not develop. I read the instructions aloud over the first section and my wife commented on their accuracy or otherwise. The light made the views of the two motorway bridges even more obvious than it says in the text.

The first problem we came across was a new green gate on the descent from Spaniorum Hill (point 2).  This might cause confusion if you are not using an OS map (154 or 167) in conjunction with the book as recommended. There is a perfectly good pedestrian gate beside it, so it is only a psychological problem.

The second problem was caused by an improvement to the path between points 6 and 7. Here the footpath has been re-established on the “correct” side of the hedge as shown on the OS map. So, you need to turn right and then left over a new bridge (at ST559835). From here, follow the hedge on your left , crossing a stile and bridge and another stile to emerge on a farm track at 7 (ST557838).

The path over the next stile was blocked by vegetation at this point, so we followed the farm track round to the right, which brought us to a point between the second and third stiles descending from the track or road, which is on an embankment at this point.

The instruction to go straight ahead over the third stile is misleading at this point, because, although the path does go straight ahead in a general sense, you have to turn left from the point of view of a person getting over the stile. The confusion is made worse by the fact that two sets of stiles on the way to point 8 are not mentioned, which could potentially cause a crisis in confidence. The first of the second set of stiles leads onto a bridge is broken and difficult to negotiate. Also the first of the two gates is now missing. In short this section would be very confusing without an OS map.

In view of the problems with the last section, I wished I had mentioned the stiles into and out of the muddy grassy track, and the fact that you have to turn right on a track to reach the main road.

There were no futher problems on the way to the White Horse, where we stopped for a snack lunch and pint of Thatchers and an orange juice and soda. This is really an excellent local pub. There were 3 horse drawn vehicles pulling out as we arrived, including one small carriage ideal for weddings I should think. There are also better views of the Severn Crossing than I remembered on the way there.

On the way back to the pub, there were no problems until we reached the corner of Mill Rhine Plantation (ST579846), where we found a stile next to the gate, which had previously been hidden by vegetation, and there was no hemlock this year.

We decided to omit the Raven’s Tail and explored the new woodland instead. There are some new permissive footpaths through it that open up possiblities for a nimber of new routes.

The only other real problems were the nettles blocking the path from ST587830 and ST586827 in Over. This was particularly disappointing as this is a section of the Community Forest Path. My wife was also menaced by a pair of dogs from the stables adjoining the spot where the path joins the tarmac lane.

A completely different attitude is displayed by the farmer who owns fields between here and Easter Compton. He mows his headlands to allow people to walk around his fields is comfort, rather than trample his grass by walking on the strict line of the right of way.

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