At last, completion of a link between walks on the Great Ridgeway to the more recent exploration of the 'Inkpen' ridge to the south. So I can now claim to have walked from home all the way to Alton Priors and back in a large circular loop of over 95 miles. Weather has been rather wet and windy and today was a bit of a risk. Cloud was on the increase as another front came in from the west, but there was no better day in the medium range forecast so I chanced it. Here is a map of the 11 mile walk:
View Lockeridge - Alton Priors in a larger map
I chose to include an exploration of West Woods - a large area of woodland just west of Marlborough and south of Lockeridge. Rather disappointing as heavily managed by the Forestry Commission. Not much found of interest.
Fungi were quite a theme for the walk as you can see from the photographs, somewhat earlier than last year. These Lycoperdon pyriforme fungi are fairly common but a lovely bright colour and in nice groups.
Only a few flowers are out at this late stage in the season. Field Scabious was one.
I liked this little miniature lichen forest, which was on top of a wooden post. It may be remnants of British Soldier lichen.
Photographs do little justice to the breathtaking distant views.
The views east along the ridge to Martinsell were the best. The summit is only 700 feet but looks far higher.
Then I met up with the Great Ridgeway, I walked this section back on 29/9/2005. Walker's Hill just to the north of Alton Priors is another good view point. You can see the bank and ditch of the iron age hillfort.
Anyway, far too many views. Back to the wildlife. Blackberries in places were beginning to rot but these still looked OK.
And fungi were in fields and woods of all different sorts.
The seed-head of Goatsbeard has interesting shapes.
Another fungus, probably Mycena galericulata?
This one is plain weird, more like the Spice worms in the Dune film than a normal 'mushroom'. It's probably a slug damaged fungus.
And the Stinkhorn appropriately named Phallus impudicus
A floral note after all that fungal excitement - a wild geranium.
Finally one last view shot. Farewell to the beautiful Vale of Pewsey for the moment.