Of course I couldn’t stand in the park gasping at the wonderful views across Winchester forever. Eventually I dragged myself away, walked back down Blue Ball Hill, which was certainly the easiest direction to tackle it from, and headed somewhere far more familiar. It was now around twenty past nine and Commando wouldn’t be back at the car park until just before eleven, so I had more than enough time for a stroll around Winnal Moors. Continue reading The magic of Winnal Moors
Garnier Road was always going to be the tipping point of my plan. As we stood looking over the wall beside Meadow View Cottage, I was frantically trying to decide which way to go. The water of Lockburn Stream tumbled through a sluice below us. The pretty little house perched precariously close, looking as if it might once have been a mill. Continue reading A little more history than we bargained for
Back in 2014 Sunday was usually walking day. When the first Sunday in August rolled around though, what with funeral arrangements, I hadn’t really given it much though. To be honest, I was tempted to give it a miss. Of course, Commando told me to get off my bum and get out there so I did as I was told. One place sprang to mind just before I set off, Itchen Valley Country Park. Continue reading Meandering in Meadows – first published 4 August 2014
This morning I thought I’d cheat a little and start my walk with a drive to Lakeside. The plan was to walk to North Stoneham Park and take the trail we bypassed last time we walked this way. Then we got slightly lost. This time I’d spent some time looking at the map and thought I’d worked out a nice circular route to take us back through Eastleigh to Lakeside. Of course, getting lost was still a distinct possibility but, undeterred, CJ wanted to come along. Continue reading Stoneham Park, a shrine on a hill and a changing world
With our coffee finished and bearings confirmed, we left the church behind and set off through an old iron gate into the lane where I thought the ancient boundary stone should be. Research told me there was no boundary stone marked on the map here but the cryptic message and some Google Street View searching had turned up something that looked very much like one. Now all we had to do was find it. Continue reading Stones, horses and angel wings
Just when I thought we had somehow missed the brick kiln and we were about to go through the gate and off of the Woodland Nature Trail I noticed another trail. It was fairly overgrown and I had an idea it would just lead us round in a circle but I decided to walk a little way just in case. This turned out to be a brilliant plan. Continue reading Woods, meadows and hidden history
So there we were on the Itchen Navigation somewhere between Shawford and Compton Lock with a bull blocking the path ahead. Just as we were about to turn around and walk back to Shawford to catch the train home the bull took a few steps, reaching for some more succulent leaves. Suddenly there was a gap between his huge posterior and the edge of the path. It wasn’t the widest gap and, being mostly filled by bull, it looked a little dicey but it was now or never.
I turned to CJ and said, “let’s go. Quickly but don’t run.” Continue reading The final miles
With one last look at the alpacas In the field, we crossed the road at Kiln Lane and I showed CJ the half hidden entrance to the next section of the canal.
“If I hadn’t met Peter, the smiley man, that first time I might never have found it,” I told him. “It’s one of the few places you can get lost on the Navigation.”
Then we carried on, hunger driving us to pick up the pace and get to the rustic benches as soon as possible. There aren’t that many dry places to sit on the Navigation, even in the middle of summer and this is one of the muddiest stretches. Continue reading water, dog dips and an interloper on the trail
When I told Commando I was going to walk the Itchen Navigation to Winchester today and CJ wanted to come along, he was concerned. He didn’t think CJ would cope with a fifteen mile walk, no coffee stops and nothing but nature to look at. In fact he suggested we get the train to Eastleigh and start off there, on the pretty part of the Navigation. CJ insisted he’d be fine though so, fairly early (at least for CJ), we packed some sandwiches and drinks in my rucksack and set off. Continue reading Putting CJ to the test