Lydiard Park: A New Perspective

A while back, I borrowed a book from the local library, with subject matter, relating to short walks in the British Isles.
Naturally I looked first at walks in Gloucestershire, my local county. To my surprise, considering that the oft-mentioned Cotswold Way runs through it, the nearest walk in the book was in the neighbouring county of Wiltshire.
The walk was a 2.5 mile stroll through Lydiard Park, near Swindon.

My mission was clear, to find and walk at this location. Using the above web-link I downloaded the directions, as coming from Cirencester.
The day March 2nd, was dry, grey, with a cold wind; temperature range 2 - 4 degrees.

Thus armed, with flask, sandwiches and warm clothing, I set off in the car.
Coming off the M5 at 11A, I headed on the A419. The directions told me to exit at the Turnpike Roundabout and follow signs to North and then West Swindon.
I saw the 'Turnpike' in my mind's eye and confidently proceeded onward; but by the time I saw the signs to Marlborough, I knew I had missed the connection. I took a left and travelled on a straight, rising and falling road, passing the ancient Ridgeway path, until reaching the village of Aldbourne.

Here I followed signs to Swindon and retraced my  way  back towards Cirencester.
I took a chance and headed towards Purton, reckoning that it should be near the park; and by great good luck finally espied a sign to Lydiard Millicent; now we were cookin'.

Passing a D.I.Y. store, I stopped and learned there, new directions to the Park. Puzzled I asked about the "Turnpike;" to which I was told that it no longer existed, being subsumed by the new Blunsdon bypass road. I felt a lot better after that.

Three to four miles later, I arrived at Lydiard Park and stopped in the free car park. My initial impression was of flat, rather dull looking, parkland, infused with copses of woodland. Worse still housing estates could be viewed in the far distance: was I, I wondered becoming a 'walk-snob'?

Fortified by hot coffee and some victuals, I wrapped myself warmly, donned the woolly hat, grabbed the walking pole and followed the'destructions' passing the forest ( I don't think so) cafe towards the house and church


As my picture shows, it was a perfectly respectful, elegant building, but somehow, it seemed misplaced in its immediate environment.
The wind, at this time was biting cold, and not conducive to standing still.

Later upon a straight path leading towards Lydiard Millicent and Purton , I felt, cold and bored and thus took a left over the grassy parkland, back in the direction of the car park.

It was then that a' Lydiard epiphany '  overcame me, for noticing the number of joggers and dog- walkers happily engaged in their activities, I realized, that I was judging Lydiard Park, from the wrong perspective, for I saw that it provided a green oasis for the citizens of Swindon and in that context was an important place.
I may visit again, when the summer climes beckon.

The spring flowers are with us once again. They always remind me that we are close to the annual Irish invasion, which marks the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival.

Each year on the Tuesday, Champion Hurdle day, I walked up to the racecourse from town, via Pittville Park and enjoyed the floral displays.

This one was taken last Friday, March 4th.

Tewkesbury Abbey Gardens are also putting on a show too.



N.R.  The Aurelio Zen mysteries by Michael Dibden. (b. 23/03/'47 __  d. 30/03/'07).  The books set in various parts of Italy ( A-Z, get it ) are an interesting contrast, to the Inspector Montabano series by Italian writer Andrea Camilleri ( b. 06/09/'25 ) , which I have already mentioned in a previous posting
Dibden looks into Italian society, from a foreigner perspective, and IMHO lacks the insight and wry humour of Camilleri. You may have seen "Zen" in  recent Television Programmes. I was very saddened to discover the death of Dibden aged 60, and further to learn that the book "End Games," which I am currently reading, was published posthumously.


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