Into the West Woods

Last weekend, it finally happened…we moved into our new house and began our lives as Marlborough residents. We’re actually just outside Marlborough, in the tiny village of West Overton. From our bedroom window, over the garden, I can see the curve of hills and a trail which heads up and over, towards the West Woods. There are birds in the garden (and allegedly, a hedgehog called Steve) and at night, the stars are so bright it’s crazy. There are free-range kids running everywhere, calling for the Dude and asking him out to play. There’s a really nice pub in the village and an old telephone box filled with books as a little free library. We are so so happy to be here.

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The weekend was madly busy, moving in all our stuff, cleaning the place from top to bottom (!) and starting the epic unpacking. By Sunday we were up straight enough to go and collect Charlie from my parents’ house. He loves his new house, he’s found his favourite perch and has settled in so well. Somehow, once there’s a cat in the house, it feels like home immediately.

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I meant to run on Monday (having not run for several days) but the weather was crazy. Strong winds from Hurricane Ophelia plus apparently remnants of a sandstorm from the Sahara. The sky was a weird orange-y yellow the whole day and the sun was red. I didn’t run. But today, Tuesday, once the Dude was at school, I took advantage of the Husband being at home and dragged him outside! Our inaugural run was knackering but a total triumph!

We set out from West Overton church, a beautiful 19th century building with a wonderful gold clock. Through the village onto the fields and the climbing began. The first mile and a half was utterly brutal. It was on ‘trail’ but that basically mean running over a ploughed field studded with flint (the path is a Right of Way, we were allowed to do this) and then up a seriously tough track to the top of the hill. We caught our breath at the top.

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Down the other side, across the road and then up another trail towards the West Woods. This trail was a turf path but it was rickety and treacherous. I was seriously puffed as we wound our way up and eventually got to the top where we stopped our garmins and ‘enjoyed the view’. (Aka..gasped for air).

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I’d been excited to explore the West Woods ever since we bought our house back in April so the next mile or so was really exciting. We got pretty lost in them, as we expected and the surface was deep mud tracks or through undergrowth. It was really beautiful though and I was very happy.

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Eventually we found the service road and stuck to that for the remainder of the time, although we could see bridlepaths heading off in every direction, promising hours of exploring fun. The woods are managed by the Forestry Commission so there were big piles of felled trees everywhere and a guy was logging. We passed one hiker as we ran chatting through the woods. It was so peaceful.

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Out into the open, we had only  a very rough idea of where we could be, so we followed our noses back to the nearby village of Lockeridge. From there, we knew where we were so we ran up the road to West Overton again.

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All in all, just over 4 miles. No speed records – those hills at the start broke us, they are going to be such awesome hill training, basically right outside our back door! The Husband definitely needs trail shoes and actually I think we both need road-to-trail shoes, it looks like our runs will be a good mix of both surfaces.

Here’s the route of our run – the section in West Woods is our best guess of the route we took and we ended up covering about half a mile more. This would make a wonderful hike – you could explore the woods further to add more mileage, and you could finish it off with lunch at the Bell at West Overton, which does a mean treacle tart, let me tell you!

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13 Comments Add yours

  1. Jen says:

    I’m so so happy for you!! Your house and village both look/sound amazing. Please continue to post pictures so I can convince Tim that we absolutely need to visit– perhaps in April 2019 to coincide with a little race in London. 😉

    1. Cathryn says:

      Challenge accepted! I miss you. Come as soon as you can.

  2. Rachel says:

    Fantastic surroundings to have on your doorstep to go for a stomp or run and so lovely to hear the Dude has (free range 😂) callers. Should Charlie wish to share any of his cat food with Steve, apparently fish varieties will make Steve sickly, but meat is 👍.

    1. Cathryn says:

      Good to know! Come and visit, please! Soon. We get our spare bed delivered this week.

  3. NicJ says:

    Looking forward to being taken to your local when I visit! Looks like a fab pub!
    Great to hear that play mates are calling for the Dude too – he should find things improve a lot now he’s “a local! Xx

    1. Cathryn says:

      I know, what a relief, eh? Come run/pub as soon as you can xxx

  4. gracechua31 says:

    Aw, I love that the Dude has free-range friends! Sounds like a good place. Also sounds like I should bring my ratty trail shoes, plus Benadryl (hi Charlie!). (Where *ARE* my trail shoes??!)

    1. Cathryn says:

      Trail shoes are good but I can find you pretty roads too! And definitely Benadryl if Charlie isn’t your thing! Also bring pumpkin spice!! (please)

  5. BT says:

    Sounds like you are settling in fabulously. Congrats! I, too, am lusting after a visit. I have a bit to wait, though, as I burnt through all my out-of-North-America wife points over the Sabbatical year…

  6. Bean says:

    It sounds flipping amazing and we can’t wait to come visit you!!!!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Please please please!

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