Ten polyramblers took the train to Ascot which was full of rather more elegantly dressed people on their way to the races. After changing trains, we were soon on our way to Bagshot Heath and Swinley Forest, a vast area owned by the Crown Estate which was once part of Windsor Forest. Most of the country scenes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2 were filmed here. Much of what was once moorland, Daniel Defoe described Bagshot Heath as ‘being full of wast and barren land’, is now covered by modern plantations of Scots Pines. It is popular with mountain bikers and we passed an ambulance attending to an unfortunate rider who had come off their bike.
We were able to use the picnic tables and facilities at the Look Out Discovery Centre which also offered some welcome shade. Unfortunately, the queue for refreshments proved too long so we set off having at least refilled our water bottles. The afternoon took us through a more varied, undulating part of the forest where the pines often gave way to broadleaf trees where we could hear the activity on the nearby Barossa firing range. We had to share the path for a while with rather a lot of Belted Galloway cows, but they were more interested in going to the watering hole than in us. On our return to Bagshot Heath, three members went straight to the station while the rest of us finally got our refreshments at the Kings Arms pub.
Photos by Ida