The next three blogs are connected as they refer to old paths that have been cut short by the Ministry of Defence access restrictions to parts of Chitterne Parish. Or as Ernie George said many years ago when the new signs went up: “How is it that village rights of way are not considered worthwhile any more? In grandfather’s day there were recognised ‘paths’, now the new land barons have put up notices saying ‘keep out’, ‘no public access’.”
Craw Path is part of old right of way number 3 that heads across the corner of a field and ends abruptly at the boundary of the Ministry of Defence Imber Range.
60 years ago Craw Path started at Middle Gates on the road to Tilshead, crossed the old London Road and carried on at the side of the Berril Valley to join right of way number 16 that headed towards Imber. Nowadays Craw Path stops at the old London Road and it is impossible to discern where it once went beyond that point.
Where Craw Path meets the old London Road, is a place called Avepit, which must be quite ancient as it was shown as early as 1773 on the map of the area by Andrews and Drury. I have not been able to find Avepit, nor what it was, nor why it is called that, nor indeed, if that is the correct name or a dialectical interpretation. How I wish I had asked Ernie George while he was still with us. The origin of the name Craw Path is more straightforward. Craw is ‘the crop, throat, or first stomach of fowls, or animals generally’, according to Mr Chambers’ Dictionary, but why it is applied to this path.is anyone’s guess.