For the last 20 or so years I’ve enjoyed many cycling jaunts with my friend and former Judge Ricardo. The other week saw us in the Lambourne area. Lambourne village is the epicenter of fantastic downland area bi-sected by the M4 west of Reading.
Tiny villages nestle in rich pastures providing fodder to breed racehorses.
It was a lovely day. After an uphill road out of West Ilsley village and we rested, for me to make a drawing and for Ricardo to take a small nap.
|West Berkshire Downland|
After the ride doing a little bit of research I realise that we were cycling through the battlefields.
The name Ilsley appears to be derived from Hilde-Laege meaning 'Place of Conflict'. One of the villages (West or East) bearing this name is thought to be the site of the Battle of Ashdown (AD 871), which is known to have taken place on the Downs. It was here that Prince (later King) Alfred won his magnificent victory over the invading Danish armies.
Thinking about this, it is not difficult to imagine the military hoards charging down these now peaceful slopes.