The Bullshole is an area in Cholsey that is situated between the Main Great Western rail line and the old single track railway to Wallingford. It was a place where countless children spent their childhood paddling and looking for sticklebacks in the stream that ran through it. Many happy summers were spent there buy myself and others like me. Now it is a shadow of it's former self. I have visited it many times over the years but I feel I should write a blog on my memories of it.
This is Sandy Lane in Cholsey, the estate was built back in the 1960's on a field that used to grow crops. The Lane is named after the footpath that went across the field coming out on West End a road that ran around the outside which gave access to a houses along there.
On the other side of the path you saw a footpath that continued on it has changed little over the years. In my younger days this was more a muddy track in the winter with dogs mess to dodge. Now it is a little better though you still get the odd mess that dogs leave and people who thing it is beneath then cannot be bothered picking up
Now you just walk across the bridge and look down at the brook, The sides were concreted back in the 1960's and form a channel that the brook runs though, before the bridge was built we just jumped over the channel
This crosses the dried up stream bed that comes out of another culvert that is under the Bunk Line. The stream bed is overgrown with weeds saplings and debris from fallen leaves and branches. On the other side of the bridge is Millennium Woods that is at the South end of Jubilee Meadow. When I as a kit the woods were not there and the meadow was full of cattle grazing.
Walk under the bridge and you come to railings that stop you walking in to the brook. You can go either way, the right will take yo on a footpath that goes past the Bullshole and onto St Mary's Church
Left will take you beside the brook and to a long tunnel under the Main Railway
Looking down at the brook the only thing that has changed is it has become overgrown. The little cut to the right is an old concrete slipway that was built for cattle to go don to the brook and brink. It has become very overgrown and covered in soil. As a kid I remember it just been a trampled down back where the cattle walked down to drink in the brook.
Before we go in the Bullshole I will take you on the left hand footpath to show what you can see. The first think you notice is the wooded area on the left. This used to be just a grass triangle between the Main and Bunk lines, over the years it has become over grown and the footpath widened. It was quite muddy back in my time and a haven for wildlife where you could see lizards and grass snakes
Go left and you will cross this field to a bridge that goes over the brook and on across another field where you come to a track. You can go across the track and on to Lollingdon or turn left and head back to the village via West end
I remember cattle in both these fields in the past now they grow crops in the on her on the right.
Going back to the junction to the Bullshole and take the right path where you come out here. In the past there was a kissing gate you went through but now it has gone
Over to the left you can find an opening where you can access the Bullshole pool. as you can see it is full of debris and has no water willows grow on one side
The Map below shows where I have taken you and I have marked the footpaths in charcoal. the red lines show the culverts under the railway North is at the top in the two maps I show