One Sunday morning, I woke up to rain and grey clouds. My suggestion that I take the visiting ball-guy for a nice walk while she went to work was vetoed, but by the time she came back, so had summer. The sun was shining, the day was getting hotter, even if it was blowing a gale… so when we had eaten their lunch and she asked if I was ready to go on another adventure, I jumped at the chance!
We didn’t have all that far to drive this time, ’cause they were taking me somewhere they had been before… Whiteleaf Cross, up on the Ridgeway. She talked about it a bit (and about me!) in the podcast she did the other day. It wasn’t long before we were parked and heading into the woods.
I like woods… there are lots of new smells to ‘vestigate, and with it being late in the year, loads of crispy leaves on the ground to run through and crunch. There were lots of other dogs too, so they kept me on the leash a bit longer than they needed… just in case the other dogs weren’t all that friendly.
Now, I have to mention that leash, even though they soon let me off. The last one was nice and soft. Easy to bite my way out of. Try crunching this one and you’ll break your teeth, ’cause it is made out of chain. Sneaky. Not, I hasten to add, that they have made me wear one of those mean and horrible choker things… or even worse, one of those vicious things with spikes inside… it is just unchewable and much shorter than my favourite leash! She says it serves me right for biting through the last one, but that she’s got me a new long one too.
Anyway, we headed through the trees to a gate on what they told me was the Ridgeway. Now, I didn’t know its name, but I know about these ancient tracks that go across the country. You two-legses have used this one for about five thousand years and it still goes for nearly ninety miles… even though you have built your cities in its path. It used to be around four hundred miles coast to coast, from the south-west to Norfolk in the east… but some of it still remains and all along its route there are ancient and sacred sites.
We had come to see Whiteleaf Cross, a huge chalk figure cut into the hillside. She says it is over three hundred feet tall and no-one really knows how old it is. It might only be a few hundred years old, but it could have been made much earlier, then changed into something less pagan-looking, she told me, but she wouldn’t tell me what she thought it might have symbolised before it became a cross…
But the Cross isn’t the only thing to see. There is a dyke as well, that goes right back to the earliest times… and trenches that only go back a hundred years where soldiers trained for the trench warfare of WWI.
There are barrows just above the Cross too… ancient burial mounds. Only one of them still really looks like a mound, and when it was excavated a Neolithic burial was found inside… a man with worn teeth, abscesses and arthritis so he was probably quite old for his time. There was a child’s cremation buried in there too, much later in the Bronze Age, and they found bits of Roman stuff as well, so it has always been an important place.
And there were other things that interested me ‘specially… like motorbikes and horses. ‘Course, they didn’t think I should be off the leash with them around… which was good in the end, ’cause the ball-guy took me off exploring till they had gone.
I had a nap in the car and was ready with the ball as soon as we got in, but between the hills and the wind, I had quite worn them out by the time we got home. No stamina these two-legses!
Still, I won’t complain… we had a lovely day and I quite enjoyed their dinner too.
Wonder where they’ll take me exploring next?