At 11.15 a. m., some 20 plus intrepid walkers, the youngest being two year old Ruby Sweetland, set off from the Jubilee Hall for the longer of the two walks arranged for the New Year. In light drizzle and under an ever threatening sky, the walkers accompanied by six dogs proceeded up Colham Lane and then across the fields towards Hazelwood Farm. The route then crossed the main road and continued across more fields to regain the lane by the goat farm near Ammerham. The walkers made a sharp right turn down the lane towards the river and then left across the field towards Bridge. By this time the party, now well strung out, was encountering heavy drizzle. Through Bridge, over the railway towards Forde Bridge the route continued before turning left and proceeding through Ammerham. The last leg was across the fields towards Winsham Church passing the cemetery on the way. Arriving back at the Jubilee Hall at 1.00 p.m. hot drinks were provided to accompany the walkers packed lunches. The walk was ably led by Denis Shaw, Village Footpaths Officer.
Having ordered our lunches at the Bell, about 40 walkers set off down Church Street at 10.45 a.m. In dry bright but cloudy weather, the walkers reached Bere Farm by way of Court Street, Wynyards Lane and Winsham Bridge. From the farm the river was followed to Shedrick Bridge. Here the walk split into two groups. About a dozen people elected to take the shorter route by turning right and heading towards Forde Abbey.
The larger party crossed the bridge and immediately turned right onto the bridle way. Climbing up the high bank and through the trees, the path crossed two wooden footbridges and then headed for Thorncombe village. Before reaching the latter the walkers turned right down a hill crossing a small stream at the bottom by means of stepping stones. Up a steep hill and then over a number of stiles until the Maudlin to Forde Abbey lane was regained and the route of the shorter walk. At Thorncombe T-junction the walkers, now well spread out, turned right across the fields and followed the footpaths to Forde Abbey. Re-crossing the river Axe the route proceeded thorough the fields towards Ammerham. As with the New Year walk, the route followed the long path back towards Winsham Church.
The main party arrived back at the Bell about 1.00 p.m. to find most of the people who had taken the short walk already at the bar. Most of the walkers stayed for lunch and all agreed it had been well worth while.
At 2.30 p.m., the party consisting of 13 people and 6 dogs set off from the Bell Inn on the long walk to Wayford Woods. Under a cloudy sky with odd breaks but threatening showers, the walkers proceeded via Bere Farm to Sheldrick Bridge. Turning left the route climbed up the lane to cross the main road Maudlin Cross. Continuing towards Magdelan Farm a left turn was made to follow the new permissive footpath around the north of the farm. Regaining the green lane, the track was followed passing Bere Chapel and through two more fields before turning left to cross the River Axe by the wooden footbridge. Following the footpath beside the railway, where some lively cows took a great interest in the party, until the bridge under the railway was reached. The walkers paddled through the stream which also finds its way under the bridge and continued on the final stretch across the field to Wayford Woods.
At Wayford Woods
Timing was good, as the party which undertook the journey by the shorter direct route were just arriving. The joint party now consisting of 27 people and 7 dogs who enjoyed a short picnic and because of the unpredictable weather decided to return. A few stalwarts enjoyed a walk through the woods before leaving. The walkers, in small groups, returned to Winsham via Ashcombe, Hey and Broadenham Farms. The final stretch was along Broadenham Lane, Court Street and Church Street to return to the Bell.
Starting from the Bell Inn at 11.00 a.m., some 20 walkers, the youngest being Jordan and Bethany Fowler, and 7 dogs set off in bright but cool weather. The route followed was by way of Church Street, Back Street and up Limekiln Lane, passing Limekiln Farm on the left. The route then went over the hill and down passed Higher and Lower Chalkway before turning left onto the bridleway to cross the bottom of the Cricket St Thomas Estate. The cattle grids at either end of the bridle way were crossed. Progress towards Whatley Cross was made by following the footpath through the field to the left of the lane. New metal “Ramblers” gates had recently been installed at both ends of this footpath. The main road was crossed and into Whatley Lane the walkers plodded with lively conversation going on all round. The lane was followed round passed Bridge towards Forde Abbey. At this point the intention had been to follow the footpath through the field towards Ammerham. However, the field was full of sheep so instead the walkers decided to keep to the lane. After crossing the railway bridge the long path across the fields to the church was followed, passing the cemetery on the way. About two thirds of those on the walk remained in the Bell for lunch.