Distance: 12.5 miles
We left quiet, little Bampton and traversed open pastureland, arousing interest from an observant little foal; his mom was focused on other things.
I lost track of how many stiles that we had climbed over to get from one field to another. Sometimes they were made of wood or metal or, as this one, part of a stone wall.
The first big event of the day was crossing the M6, the major transportation artery running north and south in England.
Viewing the cars and trucks zipping by on this dual carriage way, our peaceful trek came face to face with the hustle-bustle activities of the modern world, but we soon left that behind to resume our more peaceful adventure. The very next signpost on this trail appeared to direct us in several possible paths. Which to take? For someone who had not previously reviewed the trail maps to the village of Orton, this might have presented a problem, but we were able to continue on toward Orton.
Scattered throughout the countryside we found many stone circle sites. General speculation is that they were originally created by ancient English Druids as burial sites or agricultural monuments reflecting an understanding of the seasons and the movement of the stars. These may be related to larger stone circles like Stonehenge on the Salisbury plain of southern England. One source suggested they may be derived from similar stone arrangements in early Egypt – another mental trail to pursue as we were left to wonder and ponder about ancient peoples, which is a good pastime as you tramp these paths. There were two concentric circles here known as the Oddendale Stone Circles.
Along the way, we came upon a large field of stones, strewn about in such a way as to make it difficult of walk.
The open moors can be bleak and lonely. In this view, a lone boulder and a sheep stand guard over the treeless Crosby Ravensworth Fell, a high, barren moor known as the source of the River Lyvennet and which will be covered in a blanket of purple heather every autumn.
With a view of Orton below us, we stopped to have our lunch and enjoy the beautiful landscape.
Orton is an attractive village that, at the time of our visit, was adorned with daffodils. A small beck (stream) wound its way throughout the town and was crossed by stone bridges.
An icon of the town is the white tower of the All Saints Church which can be seen from a great distance. The original church dates from the 12th-century with the tower added in the 16th-century.
The George Hotel is at the center of town and was our destination for the night. Our hosts were most hospitable and welcoming. We had our dinner there as well and during our meal were delighted to see many fellow walkers that we had met along the trail.