BEATING THE BOUNDS
Usually takes place on the early May Bank Holiday Monday
The traditional annual walk along the Baydon Parish boundary. Historically villagers walked around the parish boundary pausing at certain trees, walls and hedges that denoted the extent of the boundary to exclaim, pray and ritually ‘beat’ particular landmarks with sticks.
The aim was to keep fresh in the local collective memory the exact location of a boundary that may never have been written on any kind of map. This is an age-old ritual which has taken place in a variety of forms in Britain for over 2000 years. In the case of a rural parish the parson, accompanied by village worthies and a throng of inhabitants, young and old, walked around the parish boundary pausing as they pass certain trees, walls and hedges that denote the extent of the boundary to exclaim, pray and ritually ‘beat’ particular landmarks with sticks.
This communal occasion was lubricated by liberal quantities of food and drink. But there was a serious purpose, to keep fresh in the local collective memory the exact location of a boundary that may never have been written on any kind of map. To reinforce the message, young lads in the procession, the elders of the future, would often be given a ‘memorable’ experience at particular points on the circuit. Sometimes they were bumped about, pushed into a stream, turned upside-down over a fence or hedge, thrown in a bramble-bush, or beaten with sticks as a reminder of the boundary marker and its importance.
Come and join in this ancient tradition
Example details of the event:-
Start Red Lion car park, 10am, first Bank Holiday Monday in May
Distance Approx 12 miles / 5 hours
Terrain Road, tracks, fields, paths & some moderate slopes, all within an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Lunch Near the motorway bridge on Lambourn road. Bring a packed lunch & drinks. This is also the half way point. You can stop or start the walk from here, so covering 6 miles. Please get in touch and you can be phoned when the walkers are at this point.
Dogs Very welcome on leads. Remember to bring some water & poo bags.
Bring Children, dogs, packed lunch & drinks, hats & sun cream (if sunny), waterproofs (if wet).
Click here for a high quality map of the walk / Parish boundary (click on map to zoom, also prints well to a single sheet of A4)
Click here for a lower quality, faster to load map (click on map to zoom, also prints well to a single sheet of A4)