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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 30-10-2009, 04:02 PM
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Location: Glastonbury, Somerset
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Wild boar near The Ridgeway

I recently walked the Ridgeway for a few days, wild camping under a tarp (or basha).

I stayed one night near Wayland's Smithy, here (Google maps link)

Google Maps

I was in the alley of predominantly beech trees about 200m NE of Waylands Smithy. About 11 pm I heard an animal approach which sounded large, but was obviously neither deer nor badger. It came to within about 20 feet of me (upwind) as I listened - it was pretty dark - and when I flicked on my torch, I could clearly see that it was a wild boar which ran off. It got my heart pounding - it was quite big!

Next morning, I looked for sign, but the ground was quite hard due to the dry spell. However, even though there were beech trees all around, it appeared that something had eaten all the beechnuts.

I've sent details to the folks at Wild Boar in Britain
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 30-10-2009, 04:23 PM
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Re: Wild boar near The Ridgeway

Are you sure it wasn't Wayland coming to shoe your horse?

I also wild camped in a bivi-bag at Wayland's Smithy a few years ago.

Jim
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Old 30-10-2009, 05:52 PM
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Re: Wild boar near The Ridgeway

Lovely part of the world, richnfamous, and to see such a magnificent beast - I really envy you.

I once watched Hares boxing there, along the top of a ridge in the moonlight. I was awestruck! How would I have felt if it'd been a Wild Boar? I'd have been talking about it for months
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Old 30-10-2009, 06:10 PM
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Re: Wild boar near The Ridgeway

Speaking of hares and bivvi bags: I had a 'close encounter' with a hare one January morning few years ago, on the Ridgeway just east of Avebury. It was a very mild spell and I was lying in my bivvi in the morning wondering when to get up.

Animals don't seem to notice you when you're in a sleeping bag or suchlike. At any rate, a hare came wandering by about 15-20 yards away and didn't notice me at all.

If you haven't tried wild camping with a tarp and bivvi bag, I'd strongly recommend it. The all-round view is a real bonus.
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Old 30-10-2009, 07:09 PM
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Re: Wild boar near The Ridgeway

Quote:
Originally Posted by richnfamous View Post
I recently walked the Ridgeway for a few days, wild camping under a tarp (or basha).

I stayed one night near Wayland's Smithy, here (Google maps link)

Google Maps

I was in the alley of predominantly beech trees about 200m NE of Waylands Smithy. About 11 pm I heard an animal approach which sounded large, but was obviously neither deer nor badger. It came to within about 20 feet of me (upwind) as I listened - it was pretty dark - and when I flicked on my torch, I could clearly see that it was a wild boar which ran off. It got my heart pounding - it was quite big!

Next morning, I looked for sign, but the ground was quite hard due to the dry spell. However, even though there were beech trees all around, it appeared that something had eaten all the beechnuts.

I've sent details to the folks at Wild Boar in Britain

whiler it could have been a propper wild boar i'd just mention that theres a farm not far from there that has porgs (half pig, half boar) and there were some excapes last year that have not all yet been recaptured.

incidentally I'd be interested in any thoughts, comments, suggestions etc on the ridgeway you might have after your trip (I'm the national trails officer, route maintenance)
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Old 31-10-2009, 10:43 PM
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Re: Wild boar near The Ridgeway

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Originally Posted by eeyore View Post
whiler it could have been a propper wild boar i'd just mention that theres a farm not far from there that has porgs (half pig, half boar) and there were some excapes last year that have not all yet been recaptured.

incidentally I'd be interested in any thoughts, comments, suggestions etc on the ridgeway you might have after your trip (I'm the national trails officer, route maintenance)
I suppose it might have been a porg - it didn't hang around for long.

With regard to the Ridgeway: water is hard to get. It's very clearly marked so no problem there. I'd like to see all motorised stuff banned, (4x4s have made some sections look more like the National Puddle Collection in the very deep ruts) but I'm not going to hold my breath...
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Old 31-10-2009, 10:50 PM
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Re: Wild boar near The Ridgeway

Quote:
Originally Posted by richnfamous View Post
With regard to the Ridgeway: water is hard to get.
Water availability is a major problem on the ridgeway.

Quote:
I'd like to see all motorised stuff banned, (4x4s have made some sections look more like the National Puddle Collection in the very deep ruts) but I'm not going to hold my breath...
Absolutely dreadful in places! Some sections you're tightly confined between dense hedges with little opportunity for avoiding the water filled ruts stretching across the entire width.

Jim
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Old 01-11-2009, 04:53 PM
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Re: Wild boar near The Ridgeway

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Ford View Post
Water availability is a major problem on the ridgeway.



Absolutely dreadful in places! Some sections you're tightly confined between dense hedges with little opportunity for avoiding the water filled ruts stretching across the entire width.

Jim
the water is a fair point - we do what we can to ameliorate it by providing water points , particularly in the western section where there are less pubs etc - I did put a full list of these on foxy mars thread about the ridgeway a little while back.

4x4 use - I'm not getting into an in depth debate about the rights and wrongs but I would point out that following the nerc act 06 all the oxfordshire section which used to be Rupp is now restricted byway, and the wiltshire and berkshire byway sections have TROs on them forbidding vehicle use between october and march - we are also working with the poice to enforce these.

I'm not aware of any sections where dense hedging makes the ruts are totally unavoidable as the measures outlined above are working and also our winter vegetation clearance work keeps the hedges cut back and keeps the alternate paths (which provide a non vehicle accesible route parallell to the main path where necessary) open. However if you have been up there recently jim and would like to point out the sections in question (by pm may be best) then i will hapilly look at adding them into our winter veg clearance programe.
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Old 01-11-2009, 06:00 PM
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Re: Wild boar near The Ridgeway

Quote:
Originally Posted by eeyore View Post
I'm not aware of any sections where dense hedging makes the ruts are totally unavoidable as the measures outlined above are working and also our winter vegetation clearance work keeps the hedges cut back and keeps the alternate paths (which provide a non vehicle accesible route parallell to the main path where necessary) open. However if you have been up there recently jim and would like to point out the sections in question (by pm may be best) then i will hapilly look at adding them into our winter veg clearance programe.
I was up there in a wet autumn about 5 years ago. IIRC the rutting was bad near Liddington Hill, between Wantage and Goring and at Chinnor.

Whilst we're on the subject of the Ridgeway, there are very long stretches where you have the track, bordered either side with inhospitable vegetation - eg nettles, and then the hawthorn hedges. There's nowhere where you can stop, sit down and have your sandwiches, or have a brew-up/cook. On the whole of the Ridgeway between Goring and The Sanctuary I don't think I saw one friendly log to sit on!

Jim
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Old 01-11-2009, 08:48 PM
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Re: Wild boar near The Ridgeway

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Ford View Post
I was up there in a wet autumn about 5 years ago. IIRC the rutting was bad near Liddington Hill, between Wantage and Goring and at Chinnor.

Whilst we're on the subject of the Ridgeway, there are very long stretches where you have the track, bordered either side with inhospitable vegetation - eg nettles, and then the hawthorn hedges. There's nowhere where you can stop, sit down and have your sandwiches, or have a brew-up/cook. On the whole of the Ridgeway between Goring and The Sanctuary I don't think I saw one friendly log to sit on!

Jim
a lot has changed in the last 5 years jim, you should visit again as i think you'd be pleasantly suprised - chinnor , which i agree used to resemble the third day of the somme has been resurfaced and as that bit is bridleway has been permanently closed to vehicles with steel barriers.

the liddington hill area (in particular the byway section from the aldbourne road to the county boundary) is due for a resurface this year, weather permitting , and also has an alternative path running parallel for most of the length from which vehicles are excluded.

Incidentally when i say resurfaced i mean with sympathetic local material - usually crushed chalk , as we are working towards a green sward - no one wants to turn it into the M4

You have a good point about benches but we are working on this - there is now one at liddington installed in 06 (in the grove of beech trees between liddington hill and snap), one at chinnor (between chinnor hill and wainhill installed last year) and we are about to install one at monkton down. - The problem is that at several hundred quid a throw we are more or less dependent on people donating them as memorials , and when that happens we cant always dictate where they get put.

That said my workshop volunteers are working on being able to make them from oak ourselves which will enable us to be more proactive about getting them out there
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