Westbury Walkers explore underground in the wet

The Westbury Walkers pictured outside the Combe Down tunnel entrance on Sunday

The Westbury Walkers pictured outside the Combe Down tunnel entrance on Sunday

First published in News

Bad weather meant Westbury Walkers’ New Year’s Day walk had to be cancelled. However, this was more than compensated for when, on Sunday, 23 members met at the University of Bath to do a most interesting 8.5 mile walk led by Teressa and Brian Mitchard, the highlight of which was a two-mile walk through the recently opened Combe Down Tunnel.

They first went through Rainbow woods and followed a steep path down through the field to Lyncombe Vale, on a path which was still icy and slippy.

The group then followed the path and road through the quiet suburbs to the public footpath that would take them to Combe Down tunnel. The tunnel was opened in 1874 and closed 1966. Wessex Water now own it and on April 6 2013 it was re-opened as a cycle/walking path. It took about 20 minutes to walk through the tunnel and the walkers were impressed by the quality of the workmanship which had gone into its restoration. On leaving the tunnel and walking over Tucking Mill viaduct, they made their way to Midford and took another footpath to Monkton Combe. From here it was a long and steep climb back up to Combe Down and back to the University.

Report: Teressa Mitchard. 

In December 21 members had gathered at Codford for an eight-mile walk led by Lynda Croft.

From the village they followed a bridleway south west for over two miles up on to the Great Ridge, where the full beauty of the Wiltshire Downs could be appreciated. The group then turned north west and descended Stockton Down to Park Bottom where they paused for drinks and mince pies before another steady climb brought the group to two small wooded areas with the unusual names of North and South Soupir, the French translation of which is “sigh”!

A look at the Wylye valley villages of Boyton and Sherrington rounded off a very pleasant walk and ended 2013.

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