Ramsbury Walks – Burnt Wood and Back (Ramsbury Footpath #6, 6A & 57)
Start from Kings Ditch (Ramsbury #48), just outside the driveway to Harbrook, and climb the stile into Horserace, the long pasture south of Ramsbury Manor Lake. This was once the village sportsground: local legend relates how a Ramsbury XI bowled WG Grace for a golden duck on this very field!
Head diagonally across (R#6) to the far corner to meet the main track (R#7) coming from the Manor Gate. Follow R#6 south uphill, ignoring any side turnings, and notice how deeply the track has carved through the local geology. On leaving the Plantation, we cross the bank of the Park Pale – historically the edge of the Manor’s immediate demesne.
A number of paths converge on Park Farm – R#8C is a nice option towards Axford – but let’s take the metalled track east (R#6, still) to Burnt Wood. Speculation aside, can anyone shed any light on this name? Heading north on R#6A, along the border with Froxfield parish, enjoy the bluebells and anemones in spring (familiar to many from the Boundary Walk) and brave the nettles in summer!
At the end of Burnt Wood, on the site of RAF Ramsbury, we divert east on an old taxiway, but the footpath actually continues into the field – some 150 yards – to an abrupt stop. Presumably this made more sense before the area was cleared for runways in WW2. Walk down the road to Darrell’s Farm and pick up R#57 (clearly signposted) which leads back across the old airfield where, again, ancient rights of way and modern tracks don’t always coincide – another historical anomaly to ponder.
On the brow of the hill, directly above Horserace, we can either head for Mill Lane (via R#10 – Hollow Way) or cut across the slope on R#13 and R#12 (Spring Hill). The old track, down the middle of the band of trees, is obvious but overgrown – newer paths across this public access land are easier to follow. Once in Ramsbury, well-earned refreshment may be had from The Bell, Crown & Anchor, Legion, Post Office and Midway Stores.