Nature & Science - When Two Worlds Collide
Feeling like a slightly hibernated mammal, I leapt into this glorious spring day with a hunger for nature (and a rather nice picnic). I also had ulterior motives as my eldest is away at his first ever cub camp and it feels weird. So to take my mind off it we bought a delicious picnic from Cobbs Farm Shop as well as this weekend's tea, and ventured to Chilbolton. Chilbolton is an excellent starting point for many walks, this time I wanted to take a different route from the Cow Common route we have taken before. This new route started in the West Down Nature Reserve, where you can see excellent views of the valley of the River Test. Adorned with newly hatched butterflies and (I'm certain) edible mushrooms you meander your way through the heath and woodland until you open up to one long length path leading slightly uphill for quite some way.
On the brow of the hill you glimpse a satellite, then as you approach the full glory of the larger satellite comes into view and its really quite magnificent. The Chilbolton Observatory unbeknownst to me has been the UK hub of meteorological measurements, radio astronomy and satellite tracking since is launch in the 1960's and it's also the world's largest fully steerable meteorological radar - now that's a bit cool! In fact it was so cool we decided to sit and enjoy our picnic to appreciate how awesome it was. If you ever get to Cobbs Farm and like a walking snack, their homemade scotch eggs are another level; world's best scotch egg, looking at the world's largest satellite, having butterflies dancing around my head and daffodils, primroses and snowdrops in bloom; today, is indeed a good day.
The walk back takes you on the brow of the hill for quite some time before you descend back into Chilboton Village. A pleasant refreshment stop at the Abbots Mitre was welcome before heading back through Chilbolton Cow Common and back to the West Down Nature Reserve. Whilst it was a lovely day, we all agreed that we needed to do this one again soon, especially as a certain person was missing!