This is Work Too (and a light lunch)

Thursday 26th May 2016

Banbury, Easington, Upper Grove, Milton, RAF Barford St. John, Bloxham (bus return)
11.2km|7 miles 120m|400ft

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Photographs in this series: (click to display)


route map At the moment I'm having to be a little more 'creative' for work. A couple of week ago I went on a walk to get some photos to write a funding application… which I got! Trouble is that now means I have more work to do, part of which requires that I undertake another photo survey. Luckily, a sudden cancellation today means I can fill the free time with another work-orientated walk.

The onward advance of Summer means it's getting hot, but with that comes the potential for snacks along the route!

I didn't have time to grab a decent lunch and so as I pass a young lime tree I can't resist some of the fresh new leaves. A little further and there was hedge garlic – which wasn't too nice, but the more well-watered stand I found at Upper Grove was much nicer. And in between, fresh hawthorn petals.

If I had time to get a small fire going I could wilt some of the lovely looking fresh young nettles which carpet the base of the hedgerows – but unfortunately I don't have the time today.

I'm following what was, until the coming of the turnpike road (now the route of the main Oxford road), one of the Medieval southerly ridge routes towards the Thames crossing at Oxford. This one runs parallel to the Oxford road almost as far as Kidlington airport. Much of the route is still usable today, and most of it is made-up of bridlepaths like this.

Onward due south through Milton until, growing in prominence through the heat haze above the yellow and green fields, I reach the antenna masts of RAF, or more correctly USAF, Barford St. John. This site operates as a radio transceiver outstation for USAF Croughton's. Unlike the modern radomes and office complexes of the main site, this site is dedicated to old fashioned 'high frequency' communications, utilising the atmosphere to bounce radio signals around the globe.

My new research project is all about Croughton, and it's global links to drones and mass surveillance. I need some pictures of Barford for the sake of completeness.

Perhaps I'll include this walk as part of the package too.

I sweep a circle around the south side of the base and then take the rather annoying road route back into Bloxham. By then the sun is moving into the west – still a month to the longest day, but an indication that I'll be late home if I continue on foot. As I cross the main road by Bloxham church I see the 488 bus coming around the corner, and, taking providence as an indicator for where to go next, I stick my arm out and then jump aboard.