Crossing the river to Crosshouse

The best allotment view in the world?
The best allotment view in the world?

15 February 2015

Given my cold and the need to keep fairly close to a box of tissues at all times, I didn’t think it would be wise to wander too far from home for my Sunday walk. After much umming and ahing and a little poring over maps I decided on Crosshouse. It fit in very well with last week’s walk and, if I got tired or ran out of tissues, I could wander up into town for a sit down. This meant I started off much the same as last week with a walk to the green and then across it. Still, even if you take the same walk every day there’s always something new to see and this was no exception. Continue reading Crossing the river to Crosshouse

Spitfires, a ferry, a lost village, and a pear tree

The Yacht pub
The Yacht pub

9 February 2015

In the end, instead of climbing back up the slippery bank I decided to carry on a little further. This may well have been another procrastination device to avoid the muddy ascent but it proved to be more interesting than I expected. Of course, I’ve walked this way many times but, even on a familiar walk, there can be surprise discoveries. Passing the Yacht Pub where people were enjoying a Sunday lunch time drink in the winter sun, I made towards the slipway and the little park where the Itchen ferry boats used to come and go. Continue reading Spitfires, a ferry, a lost village, and a pear tree

A mythical pear tree, a village green and an air raid shelter

Looking over Chessel Bay from the site of the old Ridgeway Golf Course
Looking over Chessel Bay from the site of the old Ridgeway Golf Course

8 February 2015

On on the face of it Pear Tree, seems an odd name to give to a green, a church or an avenue but there was once an ancient pear tree, almost rent in two by lightning that, miraculously some might say, survived and still bore fruit. Back in 1618, when the little church was built the whole area, from Bitterne Village at the top of the hill down to Itchen Ferry Village was woods and heathland  known as Ridegway Heath. So famous was the old pear tree that the green on Ridgeway Heath was named after it. When a post on the Southampton Heritage Facebook page mentioned an air raid shelter on the green and a World War II tented camp I thought I’d go and take a closer look.

Continue reading A mythical pear tree, a village green and an air raid shelter

sea, ruins and melting snow

Weston Shore
Weston Shore

3 Fenruary 2015

Pretty soon I was crunching through the snow around the corner, where the Seaweed pub used to stand, to the shore. Beside me snow was caught in the seed heads of the swaying grasses and I could see a ragged line of white where the shingle beach should be. Despite the dark clouds everything looked sparkling and bright. The brooding snow cloud on the horizon almost hid the towers and spires of Fawley on the other side of the water but the sun was doing battle with them, trying hard to burn through.  Across the road the little beach shelters looked lonely on the empty foreshore, it seemed as if I was the only person in the world, with the whole beach to myself. Continue reading sea, ruins and melting snow

A thin, ephemeral blanket of white

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3 February 2015

On Monday night I made a careful plan for a long walk. Maybe it’s time I learned my lesson and stopped making plans because it seems something always happens to scupper them. When I got up in the night I did a double take as I passed the hall window from bedroom to bathroom, either there was a really heavy frost or it had been snowing. It was too dark to see for sure so, sleepily, I trotted back to bed. The answer, when Tuesday morning came, was snow! Finally the Yak Trax would come out of hibernation. At least they would if I got a move on and got outside before it melted or rained. Continue reading A thin, ephemeral blanket of white

a new challenge for 2015 and the January coastal walk miles

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At the beginning of the year I said I wasn’t sure whether to carry my 2014 hundred miles a month challenge over into 2015 or not but I didn’t really come to any decision and just kept on logging and counting the miles. While it did keep me focused and I feel I did walk more because of it, there were months when it was a bit of a struggle, especially when family events, weather and injuries got in the way. Walking is supposed to be fun, an enjoyable pastime, and there were moments in 2014 when the one hundred miles a month made it feel like more of a chore. In the end I decided I’d set myself a different challenge, something to push me but give me a little more leeway when life got in the way. Continue reading a new challenge for 2015 and the January coastal walk miles

Botley Mills, the water that has passed

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18 Janaury 2015

The village of Botley grew up around a ford over the River Hamble surrounded by the beautiful Hamble Valley countryside. The water of the Hamble turned the mill wheels at Botley Flour Mills for many centuries. Part of my reason for walking the four and a half miles to Botley was to visit Botley Mills. Ok, so I’d got ever so slightly distracted by all the wonderful old buildings in the village, not to mention the church but, finally, I walked down Mill Hill to the mills. Continue reading Botley Mills, the water that has passed

So many buildings, so little time

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18 January 2015

When I left the church I had warming coffee on my mind and a hope that I’d find some somewhere in the village. Botley is a village of quaint old buildings that have been standing for centuries. Many are a little crooked and, although some of the businesses are modern, the place has an old world feel to it, like stepping back into another, gentler time. Next to the church was a terrace of red brick cottages, all the same except for their doors, which opened almost onto the street. For some reason nearly every door had a sign saying ‘please use back door,’ and I wondered why. Beyond them I could see an A frame sign on the street, maybe it was a coffee shop. Continue reading So many buildings, so little time

Botley, at last and a church to explore

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18 Jauary 2015

Botley began life as a Saxon village and the name means Botta’s leah, or a clearing in a forest belonging to a man named Botta. When the Romans built a road between Chichester and Clausentum, where my village now is, it passed Botley and a settlement grew up around the small Saxon one. Although I’ve visited it once or twice, mostly I’ve just driven through on the way to somewhere else and I’ve never really explored it properly. This turns out to be a terrible omission on my part because it has a lot to offer. Continue reading Botley, at last and a church to explore

The journey, not the destination

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18 January 2015

When I woke on Sunday morning I was expecting to see snow. My weather app had been full of snowflakes and a seventy per cent chance of the white stuff when I’d checked it the night before. The Yak Trax were in my beg ready and I’d drifted off to sleep thinking about good routes for snowy weather. Outside though, the garden was wet, the sky cloudy and grey and the fickle weather app had sun peeking out from behind little clouds. The disappointment of not being able to break out the Yak Trax was tempered by the prospect of a brand new walking route. Continue reading The journey, not the destination