Sapperton Circular/Siccaridge Wood

I get bored easily and I try to find new walks for Murphy and I whenever I can. The heavy rains this winter have hindered our explorations somewhat and forced us to stick to the usual routes, I don’t think he minds as much as I do. A couple of days ago, on a day I felt particularly despondent towards the meteorologic conditions I decided to re-visit an old walk.

Last time I was in the area was a beautiful spring morning and I was curious to see it in a completely different light. We parked in the village of Sapperton, by the very pretty church of St Kenelm, (interesting fact: near the south chancel wall is the grave of Rebekah Mason, the first wife of the astronomer Charles Mason (d. 1787). Together with the surveyor Jeremiah Dixon, Charles surveyed a boundary to resolve a border dispute involving Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware in Colonial America. After Pennsylvania abolished slavery, the Mason-Dixon line served as a demarcation line for the legality of slavery and symbolised a cultural boundary between the North and the South of the United States– Wikipedia).

The path continues along the road down the hill, past new and old homes and then shoots off left into fields and woodlands and climbs the other side of the valley quite steeply.

It was drizzling. Not cold but we were soon covered in a fine cloak of thin bleak rain. (The first line of ‘in the bleak midwinter’ was the earworm accompanying me for the duration of the walk, mildly annoying)

Last time I was here the floor had been covered in fragrant wild garlic, the air pungent and fresh. Now brown in every shade seemed to be the colour du jour, with drab swathes of grey and the occasional incongruous green of mosses and ferns.

Some of us enjoyed the engorged streams we had barely noticed a few months ago…

We walked on, slipping in the mud but the mood slowly lifted as the effort of the hill-climb combined with the musky sweet smell of the decomposing leaves worked its magic. Strangely the woods felt alive, sleepy and resting, but alive still.

At the half way point we descended towards the Sapperton canal and followed it back to the village. Again, it looked remarkably different and the copious rains of the previous week made, at times, for an ‘interesting’ walk. Let’s just say you need good waterproof footwear! Or you can go swimming, like Murphy did every 100 yards or so…

The loop is about 6km, give or take, and can be made longer or shorter depending which path you take back to Sapperton.

I highly recommend it… it gets a little bit more crowded (we saw no-one ) in the Spring/Summer on a weekend or sunny day, but it it worth it.

We will be back.

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