Plodders – Chilbolton, Hampshire

MONDAY 29th APRIL – CHILBOLTON

The Plodders were blessed with good weather again on Monday, 29th April, contrary to predictions (on the BBC website at least) of gloomy skies and a 20% chance of rain. It was a pleasure then to sit outside the tea rooms at Chilbolton’s village store, across from the Abbot’s Mitre pub, bathed in sunshine, partaking of good coffee and a succulent Portuguese-style custard tart whilst waiting for our full compliment of Plodders. A quintessential English scene (if you ignore the coffee and custard tart, which I didn’t).

Once our full number were on parade, lunches ordered within the hostelry, and last flake of custard tart delicately wet-fingered from its plate, we were off ‘tween the jigsaw-box thatched cottages, and on to the common bordering and then running beside the River Test. The walk took us up onto and through the nature reserve at West Down and then out next to the rape-filled fields and lanes that skirt around the Chilbolton Observatory. Turning back towards the village took us past the premises of John Deere, a group of sculptured deer standing sentinel outside, and then towards more fields and the magnificent sight of two soaring Red Kites above us, and then to see one dive to the ground and land some 400 metres away.

It was finally down to the village and a welcome, friendly and accommodating lunch in the Abbot’s Mitre. It’s good food in the AM. I think everyone thought that, and there are a certain number of individuals (who shall remain anonymous) who can also vouch for the deliciousness of their ice-cream. I think it was mid-afternoon when we left and this little band of brothers and sisters were still relishing dessert…….

A bucolic view of the River Test, off limits to us plebs I’m afraid.

Group Photo No.1 – beside the Test.

Group Photo No.2 – Into the nature reserve.

What men do in the woods is their business.

Passing the Chilbolton Observatory.

Outside the John Deere premises – 4 impressive hinds.

On the final stretch, 2 Red Kites gave us an impressive fly-past.

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