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Old Maps and New Routes - Oxfordshire

Clare Balding starts the 20th year of Ramblings by walking with a listener who is so committed to exploring the countryside that she creates and publishes her own walking routes.

Clare Balding starts the 20th year of Ramblings by walking with a listener who is so committed to exploring the countryside that she creates and publishes her own walking routes.

Elaine Steane ran out of walks, so decided to invent her own. She's published a number of books including Milestones to Millstones and it's a route from this that we follow today. It skirts the Oxfordshire/Berkshire border and takes in Mapledurham Watermill - a working Mill that not only produces its own flour but also supplies 140 local homes with electricity. The Mill became famous when it featured in the film version of The Eagle Has Landed; Michael Caine's signature is apparently carved somewhere into the building's wooden structure. Later on, we skirt past (but can't quite see) Hardwick House. This was the inspiration for EH Shepard's illustrations of Toad Hall in Kenneth Grahame's Wind in the Willows. From there we head up into the Wild Woods, where we hear a reading from Wind in the Willows, before climbing a steep hill which takes us back to where we started at Whittles Farm.

Elaine's love of mapping comes from her father. He was Harold Fullard, a renowned cartographer who was Editor of the Phillip's Modern School Atlas, the blue-canvas book that generations of school-children used to learn about the world. Elaine recalls earning a little pocket money by helping to create the index at home... it was a painstaking process.

If you are reading this on the Radio 4 website, you can scroll further down to see links to Elaine's books, Mapledurham Water Mill and some photos of the walk.

Producer: Karen Gregor

Available now

25 minutes

Looking at the Phillip's Modern School Atlas

Looking at the Phillip's Modern School Atlas

Corry Starling, the Miller of Mapledurham Mill

Corry Starling, the Miller of Mapledurham Mill

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Archimedes Screw Thread Turbine

Mapledurham Water Mill

Mapledurham Water Mill

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