Walking with history day 3 Savernake to Crofton

July 21, 2011 at 2:09 am Leave a comment

It poured all morning and miraculously from 2pm to 5pm this afternoon someone was smiling upon the intrepid walking historians from Marlborough College Summer School and we didn’t get wet! We bussed it out of Marlborough on the Salisbury Road, bast the 900 year old banded oak tree through Cadley and Durley and alighted at Tottenham House. This was originally the home of the Marquis of Ailesbury who built a column in celebration of the return of George III’s good health and thanking him for his elevation to the peerage. The house is now totally delapidated and rather sadly waiting to be taken over by a company who are about to turn it into a luxury hotel and golf course. We were fortunate to be given access to the grounds. We learned about pollarding (keeping trees short and encouraging growth of useful lengths above the deer line). Our walk then took us across barley fields and along a Roman road (we learned today that if a straight track has a narrow ditch next to it (an agar) it is likely to be Roman) to Wilton, and Crofton with its mighty Beam Engine which still powers up several times a year, still running without modification since 1812. The canal (London to Bristol – via Reading (Huntley and Palmers famous biscuit factory favoured this route) was a busy form of transport in the 18th century, but put out of business after 1830 by the railway, and here the two run side by side. We walked a circular route which took in a splendid view of Wilton Windmill. On the way home, we passed the site of Wolf Hall and although a farm bears its name, the last remaining barn was destroyed in a fire but a neighbouring house has magnificent 16th century chimneys (see photo) just visible over the hedge from the road. We returned to College via Burbage.

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Debi Evans

Debi Evans

Debi Evans Author

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