What a start to the day. Not a cloud in the sky and the birds singing in the trees. We let go and it sounded like war had broken out. There was the crump crump of artillery and I'm sure I heard the hammering of a heavy machine gun. I was hoping that it would be war games on Salisbury Plain and it was definitely sounded to be from that area
There seems to be a lot of action on Salisbury Plain and there were lots of helicopters around too. The noises went on all day and the smoke continued too.
There are very few places to moor, on this stretch at least, and there are plenty of reeds. Where ever there is a road bridge there are boats that look to have been there for a while. You have to resort to finding a patch of bank that isn't too high and that you can get fairly close to, and then leap ashore and cut a patch for you to get on and off.
We are getting closer to the Downs and we are hoping to find a place to tie up so we can explore.
We found a spot near All Cannings Bridge and used the long gangplank for the first time. The weather was very hot so we decided to put off our walk until later in the day. Meanwhile I thought I would do a bit of maintenance on the fore deck by de-rusting the bad patches and covering the bare spots with anti rust and then a coat of primer. It was so hot that I only lasted a couple of hours.
We can see the Alton Barnes White Horse on the Pewsey Downs. It was dug out in 1812 and some times at the Winter Solstice it is lit by candles. I expect that looks pretty good from the canal.
As we climbed up Clifford's Hill we saw these marks in a wheat field and wondered what they were. I know that this area of the country is well known for crop circles. There have been a few fenced off area on the walk so wondered if there was some sort of mining in bell pits. I checked on Google Earth and there is no sign of them on there. So, crop circles?
Looking down from Clifford's Hill and looking towards Tan Hill.
The view from the top of Tan Hill looking towards the north. There is no sign of a electricity pylon or a wind generator. I wonder if this was in the north it would look like that?
Silbury Hill sticks out well to the north too. It was built in prehistoric times and forms part of the neolithic Avebury and Stonehenge complex. It is the tallest neolithic mound in Europe at almost 100ft high.
Running along the top of this ridge line is a section of the East Wansdyke. It is early medieval, 5th of 6th century. It was thought to have built by the Romano British people who were left after the Romans withdrew. It is on the north side of the ridge and it is thought that it was built to protect them from the insurgent West Saxons that were spreading over the country from the Thames Valley to the north. It is quite a large feature with the bank over 13 feet high in parts and a ditch over 8 feet deep. It must have been quite a remarkable feature even now. The ditch and bank of the Wansdyke looking to the West from Pewsey Downs.
It was a lovely walk and once we got on to the hills there was a lovely cooling breeze too. We saw a linnet, a stoat, loads of different butterflies including a Marbled White and watched a hawk hunting but we were unable to name it. As we walked down from the ridge we walked down another sunken road that must have been as old as the Wansdyke. There were lovely flowers and loads of spotted orchids on the side of the path. It was great to get up high and have a long view. I'm not sure that we will have another long walk if it is going to be even warmer tomorrow.