Wednesday, 1 August 2018


What comes to mind when you hear the name Edgehill? If you're English it may well make you think of the first battle of the English Civil War, fought in October 1642. Often considered to be something of a shambles which ended in stalemate, the Battle of Edgehill actually gave the Royalists something of an advantage as the Parliamentary forces retreated to Warwick, leaving the way to London open.

The battle took place in open fields around the villages of Kineton and Radway but much of it is inaccessible to the public now as it's owned by the Ministry of Defence. Appropriately enough, there is a huge MOD Ammunition Depot on part of the site.

You can, however, still look out over what would have been the battlefield from this spot ...

... but I'm getting ahead of myself here. This was the place I was aiming for on my walk, taking in quite a few steps, a wood and some open countryside on the way.

I started at Upton House, a National Trust property near the top of Sun Rising Hill (more about that later) and headed off across the fields towards the village of Ratley. This Summer's heatwave has left our green and pleasant land looking dry and brown.

It was a hot and tiring walk across hilly fields before I could even spot Ratley in the distance.

I walked up through the village (yes, another hill), heading for the woods that line the top of Edge Hill.

You get down into the woods by several flights of steps which are known as Jacob's Ladder.

It was cooler amongst the trees and I enjoyed plodding along the path that runs along the top of the hill.

About half way, I made a slight diversion to show you this ...

... not a Castle, but a pub. This is the Castle, said to be built on the site where King Charles surveyed the land on the evening before the battle.

After quite a lot more walking, I finally emerged from the trees at the top of Sun Rising Hill. This is the spot where the road goes down the hill; it's very steep and twisty, quite challenging for drivers. I once got behind a dustbin lorry coming up Sun Rising - that was fun.

The weather can be very different at the top of the hill to the bottom. I've driven from snow into sunshine and there can be thick fog at the top and none in the valley.

There was still quite a bit more walking to do before I finally emerged into the clear space on the ridge of the hill. This is the view I had been aiming for.

And there was a breeze at last! I sat down, took my boots off to cool my feet down and got out the picnic. I come from a family of serious picnickers and take a flask of tea with me whenever possible. I really enjoyed sitting at the top of the hill, gazing out across the country and eating my well-earned lunch.

Can you see the field with the dark patch in it, about halfway up the picture on the right? That was being harvested; by the time I'd finished my picnic it had all been cut. I love this place - the view is always amazing and its history makes its special too.

I'll leave you with a picture of one of my favourite wild flowers, taken earlier on the walk. This is Rosebay Willowherb. Isn't that the most wonderful name?

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