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Wyngaard Walk

They say it is better to be lucky than good, but it seems the Piedmont Recreation Department’s Walking on Wednesdays group is both. First, the walkers have been lucky with the weather. They hadn’t been tested this year on their “we walk, rain or shine” mantra, and they weren’t last Wednesday either. It had rained heavily earlier in the week, and more rain was forecast for that afternoon, but the morning was clear and only a little chilly. They decided it was a great morning for a long walk, and it demonstrated they are good too.

The rain may have cooped the walkers up because a strong showing of thirty one of them were bundled up at the Exedra and ready for another challenge.

On recent Wednesdays the group had gone to some streets they had not walked during 2021, most of which were on the edges of the city. In fact, there was a street that they hadn’t walked in a couple of years. It is the distant Wyngaard Avenue between Estates Drive and Sandringham Road.

The street’s name, Wyngaard, is unusual. The question was raised, “Who or what is a Wyngaard?” A Google search found no Wyngaard with a Piedmont connection. There was only an offering of a Wyngaard Chevre Affine Goat Gouda from The Cotswold Cheese Company in Great Britain. It is presented as “a full creamy tasting goat’s cheese with hints of walnut and crème fraiche on the finish.” Its price is 7.8 British pounds for 250 grams, which the well-traveled members of the group quickly and accurately converted into about $10.32 for a little more than half a pound. It sounded good, but some walkers were concerned this Wyngaard would increase their pounds when they got on scales, so no sales were made.

Before selecting Wyngaard Avenue as their morning destination, the group also considered a walk through Piedmont Park to see the flowing water from the recent rains in Bushy Dell Creek. This still being a democracy, a vote was taken and Wyngaard was chosen; as there was some concern about slippery paths in the park.

So, off the long line of walkers went, up Highland, Sheridan, and Wildwood Avenues through the Hall Fenway to Crocker Avenue and then Hampton Road to St. James Drive. On St. James some walkers looked over the right side of the street down its ravine to see storm waters making their way possibly to the park and Bushy Dell Creek. They passed the short, 104 foot pathway that goes up to Cambrian Way, but they were looking for a second one that would take them to Sandringham Road. It is hidden up a loop off St. James, but the walkers found it. From the street it didn’t look so bad, just a set of stairs. However, this is just the first set of stairs before more steps that are out of sight from the street. The group was warned, but fearlessly up they went. Siow Fang Tan counted a total of 107 steps over a 206 foot climb with no hand rail. Everyone made it. There were no problems for these hearty Wednesday walkers.

At the top of the stairs the group looked to their right and there was the foot of Wyngaard. They went over and at the corner of Wyngaard and Sandringham posed for the photo.

Going up Wyngaard the walkers noticed its homes appear to have been built later than those in other parts of the city. There were the red tile inlay sidewalks that were part of the large, early 20th Century St. James Woods development in this part of Piedmont, but the houses on this street seem newer than others nearby. A prominent home on the right side of the street has a French chateau feel and three rounded gables, each with an opaque, oval window. The group came to the end of this one block street and Sherry Jacobs noted two white pillars. They were covered in vines, but still visible and recognizable. This type of entrance was erected on all the major streets entering the St. James Woods development.

The walkers turned up Estates Drive and led by Lois Price started climbing some more. They passed Selborne Drive and Inverleith Terrace, and came to the top of Hampton Road. Along the way Rob Smith read from his phone that the elevation was 568 feet. The group had not walked this year to this highest point of Hampton because going directly up the street is a long, steep climb. However, this circuitous approach wasn’t that difficult a walk. Wet leaves were a slipping hazard going down, but the careful walkers had no issues descending Hampton’s hill to Hampton Park. From there, they returned to the Exedra via La Salle Avenue, St. James Drive, Hampton Road again, Crocker, Wildwood, Sheridan, and Highland Avenues. It had been a five mile walk, one of the longest of the year for the group, with elevation and many steps, but no rain. That came in heavily later in the afternoon. The group had indeed been lucky and good on this Wednesday walk.


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