Monday, 6 January 2020

The Agatha Christie Trail

Agatha Christie lived in Winterbrook from 1934 -1976 which at the time was in the bounds of Cholsey. After when she died in 1976 Agatha was buried in the local church at Cholsey over in the far corner near a footpath that runs through the churchyard. Some years ago Wallingford Town Council and Wallingford Museum came up with the idea of the Agatha Christie Trail  no doubt to try and increase the interest in the town trough tourism and to give some publicity to the Museum. The Trail which officially starts at the Town Hall  because nearby is the Theater is home to the Sinodun Players where Agatha was the President from 1951 -1976. The trail then heads towards her home in Winterbrook then on from there along Winterbrook Lake where it joins a footpath leading to St Mary's Church in Cholsey. The footpath is a feature that has been around since people travelled between villages and to allowing local communities to get to church or to markets. The OS map show the footpath as far back as 1876. How may People start in Wallingford I would not know but I do see a fare number walking from the Railway Station in Cholsey going to the church to visit the grave asking the direction of local people if they are unsure. There are even some local people who will be a guide around the church for you and tell you about the grave.
Being a local I ad never walked the trail even though I had been along parts of it over the years. A while ago I walked part of it and decided it was time to walk the whole trail and write a blog on it showing photos of the places you can see. I will start at Cholsey Church and show the way from there as I think a lot of visitors will walk from the church to Agatha's house in Winterbrook.

If you have travelled on the train and walked through the village the first sight of St Marys church will be from Bunk Arch

This was the old railway that run from Cholsey to Wallingford and I have no doubt she would have taken the train and seen the countryside as she travelled along it. I doubt it has change very much

Your next view will be this one as you walk towards the church
 Along this footpath 

You will find a worn path at the end that takes you around the West end of the church where in the distance you can see Agatha's headstone
 Sometimes it has flowers, a book or the odd pencil laid beside it
If you start your walk there you will retrace your steps to the carpark at the front of the church

Look across the road and you will spot a signpost pointing across the field

The path goes beside an electric fence that pens in these sheep

At the end you come to the fist kissing gate

Looking back towards St Mary's Church. If you come from Winterbrook this is what you will see

From the kissing gate you follow the path beside the railway, no doubt a sight Agatha would see from the train

Not sure this is one of the things she saw but if you wonder it is the Sewage Farm of works, it takes waste from Cholsey & Wallingford

I noticed this snowmen along the field, no doubt for the children taking the Santa special train from Wallingford to spot

Beside the railway I also noticed a pile of corrugated iron. What it is for other than dumped by the preserved railway I cannot think. More of an eyesore to me

At the end of the field you come to the second kissing gate

after going through I spotted a merry Christmas Sign

I passed by flooded fields

If you are coming from Winterbrook you will notice the church between the trees beside a bridge this means your destination is not far away

and carried on along the footpath

Passing beside this crossing, the path here take you to the Wallingford Road

Above the footbridge looking towards Cholsey, After crossing the bridge here near the crossing I am in unfamiliar territory

Looking across the bridge in the Winterbrook direction
Turn around looking back towards Cholsey over to the right you can see Hillgreen Farm

It's privately owned now the farm being sold off many years ago

The view further along the footpath in the Cholsey Direction, the railway will be on your left coming from Winterbrook

At the end of this section you come to kissing gate number three

a little further along another footbridge

Looking back towards Cholsey across the kissing gate

Across the bridge you walk long this section

where a screen of trees have been planted though the meadow gets flooded


Coming from Winterbrook you would see this view towards the bridge after coming through kissing gate number four

You walk through a tunnel of shrubbery on your way to Winterbrook and on the right across the railway you will see a field

 which used to belong to Newbarn Farm though the newness has gone a long time ago, now it's derelict

further on from the tunnel you come out beside more plantation


then you come to another crossing

The road across goes towards a house, from what I can make out this was the old footpath shown on the 1835 map I looked at

Further over to the right you should see Hithercroft farm though the last time I was there it was derelict, now it has been bought and is a private house

Take the road across the crossing

You should look both ways, this way is to Cholsey

This one to Wallingford 

The crossing you see in the distance is the Wallingford Bypass

Looking across the field you now see this sight

You could call it greed, because greedy developers put up more housing needing sand and gravel, the land owners greed lead them to sell it to the greedy gravel pit owners and the Greedy South Oxfordshire District Council passed the application because they get more money from the rates levelled on the new housing. Yest it makes me mad. Mind you I did hear a story that a German Bomber in WWII drops it's load in the field before landing and they were not found, not sure i'd want to find that lot


They are well on the way to finishing the elevators

At the end by the bypass you can see the next stage across the road

But you need a clear space to cross the road

The do not hang about driving along the bypass

On the other side you see a stile and sign post

It points to Wallingford and Winterbrook

On the right is a filed though I do not give it long before some greedy developer snaps it up, they have already done archaeology on it

On the other side another part in the waiting

At the end of the field you come into Winterbrook

and walk along the road till you see the main Reading road


If you look left at the end you will see your destination of Agatha Christies house

Cross the road from Winterbrook lane taking care again 
 and you can walk along the road till you see this front door
beside which you will see this plaque.
If you want to walk this trail then you can download the route from the link at the top. It will take you about 45 minuets depending on conditions or you can go by bus as the bust stop is nearby
If you are in Wallingford the start at the Town hall or catch a bus from there to Winterbrook.
I hope this gives you a little more of an idea whet to expect if you do walk the route and hopefully it will be a nice day for you.