Walk completed August 16, 2014

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

June 30, 2014 -- Day 15, Wootton Rivers to Inkpen

Today turned into an unexpected rest day, and my feet and legs were grateful for the rest.

My arrival yesterday at Wootton Rivers reunited me with the maps and duffel I had mailed from Heathrow Airport. My choices were either to add the weight of those items to my pack, or mail them on to a future destination. After reshuffling the maps and re-packing the duffel with the maps that won’t be needed for the next few weeks, I took a taxi to the post 0ffice in Hungerford and mailed the package to myself at Dover. Hungerford is much closer to Inkpen than Wootton Rivers, so my scheduled 14 miles walk turned into a 4 miles walk. Well, maybe five miles, because I strolled around Wootton Rivers to take pictures before the taxi arrived – but without my pack.

Thatch Roofed House, Wootton Rivers

Royal Oak Pub, Wootton Rivers

I arrived at Inkpen shortly after noon, and enjoyed most of the day in lively conversation with several locals at the pub: Bernard, the pub owner who also owns a local cattle and organic vegetable farm; Andy, Bernard’s farmhand; Chris, who works on a local construction project; and Shirley, who periodically rides her bicycle to Inkpen from Newbury (about 10 miles). I appreciated their including me in the conversation – but friendliness is part of the charm of these small English villages.

Bernard and Andy


Bernard bought the pub about 17 years ago, and added the rooms later. Andy showed my pictures of the construction. He operated the heavy equipment to dig the foundation. Bernard repeated a story about local pubs that I’ve heard many times before. Wealthy city dwellers buy cottages in the country, restore them, and use them on weekends. As a result small villages have very few locals to patronize the pubs during the week. If a pub doesn’t develop a reputation for good food and become a destination restaurant, it’s hard to survive. At one time public houses were the center of the community, but you can’t have a center if there is no community. The same fate, evidently, has befallen small village churches.



Reminder: Double click on any picture to enlarge.

© 2014 Ken Klug

1 comment:

  1. How interesting, thanks for the pictures of the thatched roofs make me think of home. New maps, new routes, life is good, keep meeting the most interesting people. Have fun.