Beating the Bounds in Ramsbury
Sunday 6th May 2018
The annual Boundary Walk is Ramsbury and Axford’s modern version of the ancient parish custom of “Beating the Bounds”. Originally based on the need for inhabitants to appreciate the lie of the land before the days of maps, Beating the Bounds was a chance for villagers – usually led by the vicar – to make sure they knew where the boundary lay and which parish they belonged to. Children were an important part of the event and were encouraged to beat each boundary stone with sticks to reinforce their knowledge of local geography.
Each year, on the Sunday of the first May Day Bank Holiday weekend, families, friends, neighbours and visitors still perambulate almost the entire parish boundary of Ramsbury and Axford, ostensibly to familiarise themselves with the route and to check the boundary markers are still in place, but more importantly to explore our wonderful countryside, enjoy the views and join the community in this great day out. The route takes in Iron Age hill forts, sections of Anglo-Saxon ditch-and-bank, ancient and modern boundary stones, stunning bluebell woods, WW2 airfields and medieval manors. Traditionally, the youngest walker is “bumped” on the oldest boundary stone (in Southern Copse, reached just before lunch) by the oldest walker.
Walking starts around 7am and finishes about 6pm and is divided into 6 sections with regular minibus runs throughout the day to get you to and from the route. You’re free to walk as much or as little as you choose. The day is free to enjoy, with refreshments and drinks for sale on route. Everyone taking part (even for just 1 section) gets a souvenir badge, with special badges for anyone completing the whole route and medals for those completing for a fifth time.
Ramsbury & Axford Parish Boundary Walk
- Sorry, NO DOGS.
- Dress appropriately: stout shoes or boots, waterproof clothing and/or a hat and sunscreen.
- Don’t overtake the Leader. If he/she asks you to stop, please do so. Keep to the paths and stay together. If you have a problem, speak to the Leader or the Back Marker. They will be carrying a first aid kit and water.
- You need to be reasonably fit to walk the whole route or the longer sections. If anyone is struggling or feeling unwell we may ask them to drop out so as not to hold up the rest of the walkers. Don’t worry – we will get you back to The Square!
- The Boundary Walk is always popular with children, but all walkers 12 and under must have a responsible adult with them at all times. The Leader and the Back Marker cannot be the responsible adult. The responsible adult must be the child’s parent or guardian (or someone acting with their authority). If the responsible adult drops out of the walk at any stage, all children for whom that adult is responsible must also drop out.
- Any lost property will held at the Post Office. Unclaimed property will be disposed of after 3 months.
- Please bring your own lunch and make sure you’re carrying enough snacks and drink for the walk.
- Picnic lunches can be left in one of the designated cars in The Square and will be taken to the lunch stop; but don’t leave in the Flyer, or you may never see your lunch again!
- For your safety and the enjoyment of your fellow walkers, PLEASE DO NOT LISTEN TO MUSIC.