Scenes during a walk in late autumn, from Bishops Sutton near Alresford, to Gundleton and back.
An old granary at the northern edge of Bishops Sutton, perched on staddlestones to keep it drier and relatively rodent-proof:
A new house (Southview) built next to the Watercress Line. This is looking west:
Watercress line from Bighton Lane, looking east:
A dovecote in a scruffy garden near the railway:
View from Bighton Lane to Northside Farm and Sutton Wood:
Geese and cows at Cliveden Farm, Gundleton:
Cliveden. And I thought all of this part of Hampshire was super-expensive:
Feeding the horses near Gundleton. They were very hungry. C fetched them fresh grass and I pushed the fallen hay to their side of the fence:
Into an autumnal Sutton Wood:
Out of the wood, looking west. The familiar landmark of Great Clump, Cheesfoot Head in the distance:
Looking south from Northside Lane to Park Dale and the woods of Bramdean Common:
Back under the Watercress Line (ex Mid Hants Railway).
The bridge arch. Always interesting patterns of decay on these bridges. This bridge would have been made around 1865. Just visible top right is one of two small trees we saw somehow growing from between the bricks:
The site of the source of the short River Alre, which springs from east of Bishops Sutton and flows a few miles before joining the Itchen near Alresford.
Lots of crows! They were all on the field before we came.
Not quite *the* Alresford but a another Alres-ford (dry) at Water Lane, Bishops Sutton:
Milestone at Bishops Sutton. Apparently Winton is an abbreviation of Wintoniensis, the meaning of Winchester. Tasker is a 19th Century ironworks company.
A typical row of Hampshire flint cottages, at Bishops Sutton.
And the rather more fancy Sutton Manor
A glimpse of Bishops Sutton Church, with its high weathervane:
And right at the end of the walk we saw a bird of prey swoop across the road into the hedge. We stood and watched for a while before it went deeper in to eat its prey. Later we identified it as a kestrel:
Six years ago, I took a similar walk. Here is the video.
From Camden in London, west along Regent’s Canal path to Little Venice at Maida Vale. The path soon leads to Regent’s Park, where the canal cuts trough the zoo, and the back gardens of some stately homes side by side along its banks. Then there’s a tunnel, so one has to re enter London streets a while, before the busy but tranquil Lisson Grove moorings and Little Venice itself. After an unusual request, I walked a little way along the Grand Union Canal, to Paddington Station.
A proper South Downs Walk. Continuing along the long distance path from the downs south of Kilmeston, along a bit of the South Downs Way before cutting south past Lomer, Preshaw, the legendary Betty Mundy’s Bottom and Corhampton Down, noisy that day with the shooting. The path then heads in a more easterly direction past Corhampton golf course and onto Fir Down above Droxford. After the village we cross the River Meon and follow the water meadows to the small village of Soberton. Outside the White Lion pub I met a white cat, who I was told is deaf and blind.
Into the South Downs National Park after heading south from the market town of New Alresford (my new home town). The Wayfarers Walk then passes through Tichborne, across the small at this stage River Itchen, Cheriton, Hinton Ampner, Kilmeston and then up onto Kilmeston Down for a spot of sheep herding, and Mill Barrow Down.
Hampshire in the spring. A walk I took in April continuing the long distance path through the low downs of central Hampshire, nine miles or so from the Candover Valley to Alresford. The walk crosses the same stream many times, and passes by the villages of Totford, Northington and Abbotstone. The stream enters the very short river Arle which we see at the end of the walk with its ducks, swans (building a nest), geese and trout. Apologies for the wind noise.
It’s hard to believe I’ve made 60 walking videos! This one is a little different from the usual countryside walks:
A walk from Camden to Hackney Wick along the towpath of the Regents and Hertford Union Canals. The walk goes through or near Kentish Town, Islington, Hoxton, Haggerston, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, before branching off to the north east and Hackney Wick, towards the Olympic Park. A quieter alternative to walking in London by road, this took about three hours.
More London walking videos to follow later this year I expect.
The fifth stage of my Wayfarers Walk route, from the village of Dummer near Basingstoke, to Brown Candover in the heart of Hampshire. The walk goes over Becket’s Down, giving fine views over southern Hampshire.
An almost-loop at the very western edge of the South Downs National Park. From Magdalen Hill east of Winchester, up towards Cheesefoot Head and then across the downs to Morestead. Then down into Chilcombe through the firing range and finally across the M3 into Winchester via The Soke.
The fourth stage of my Wayfarers Walk hike. This walk is a loop, with the first half on the long distance path to Dummer, then back to Deane via North Waltham, Steventon, and Ashe. The source of the River Test is at Ashe. The walk crosses the mainline railway, the M3 and the A30.
Here’s a video I made during the second stage of walking the 70 mile route across Hampshire. A high downs section with great views passing south of the Highclere Estate, home of Downton Abbey; Beacon Hill; Great Litchfield Down, Ladle Hill, leaving the long distance path at Watership Down, of book and film fame, for Sydmonton and Old Burghclere.
The first five miles of the 70-mile Wayfarer’s Walk long distance path. This hike is high on the North Wessex Downs, starting near Walbury Hill, the highest point in Southern England at nearly 300m. The path leads south east from Berkshire into Hampshire, past West Woodhay Down, Eastwick and Highclere, where I turned back. Half way back I left the Wayfarer’s Walk for Combe and around from the south to Combe Gibbet and Inkpen Hill. Features a view of Highclere Castle, location for Downton Abbey and fine views north. Filmed last Saturday.
A 2 hour walk from the village of Southwick in Hampshire, along the north side of Portsdown Hill, past HMS Dryad at Southwick House, into the woods near Widley and back via Lye Heath and Place Wood. Pretty much the entire walk was on land owned by the Southwick Estate.
The final stage of the King’s Way, along the Itchen Valley to Winchester, via Avington, Martyr Worthy, Kings Worthy, and Abbots Barton. The Itchen Valley always makes for a beautiful walk. Today’s was enhanced by meeting a couple of pigs. Many churches along the way, and I rested in some of them. I entered the Winchester from the north, via Hyde Gate and Parchment Street, the residential area seamlessly meeting the city centre. It’s always interesting arriving at a town or city on foot. The King’s Way ends at the Cathedral, after 45 miles in total.
The penultimate stage of my King’s Way hike, from where I left off on the Downs, not too far from Cheesefoot Head, down into the Itchen Valley via Tichborne. The church there has 11th Century origins, and at Ovington church there’s a Norman archway. Otherwise, rolling downland, open skies, arable land ready for harvest, curious calves, a gorgeous pub location, lamas, woods, then the bass and slight chaos of the Boomtown Fair at Mattersley Bowl, closing some of the South Downs Way for a week.
A good, satisfying meditation. Soon came the feelings of bliss, and a sense of light. Before long, there was that nagging feeling of looking in the wrong place or of neglecting something, so then I looked in that direction instead of the usual fritting about in thought, and there it was, the raw emotion of fear. So now that got bathed in the light of the mind emptied. What is the point of an empty mind and bliss when there is something left out? No, meditation has to include it all. It’s a total thing, or as total as it can be at any sitting, given that there are blind spots and deeper neglects waiting to be felt, addressed, acknowledged, listened to, unfolded, bathed. And then they are no longer what they were, what I thought they were, once met fully. So, to follow the nagging . It’s there waiting to be followed and soon, on the following of the gritty areas, even more ecstasy arises as the conflict dissolves. There’s the feeling, then the unfolding, bathing, and then passing beyond to newness and change.
Once I felt no more fear, I moved down into the body, as that has to be included too. I got as far as the stiff neck before the hour was up. What’s the good of a clear mind and heart if the body is still riddled? Again, include it all. No short cuts or fooling oneself.
I’m left with a curious longing in my heart. I’m following its lead as I begin today’s yoga.
Stopping in between postures is so important. This is when the energy of the posture can go to work on the system. I stop still for a minute and let everything settle down again , and for whatever has arisen to go where it wants to go. A strange pulsing at the base of the spine, rhythmical and pleasurable. Eyes fluttering. A little daydream. Pause. Then on to the next pose, steady and attentive.
I’m more and more interested in doing what is real and not what other people are concerning themselves a with. Not that what they are doing isn’t real, but my concern with their actions or opinions is immaterial and fading. Not to be self obsessed but our own selves are the important thing, how we are spending our on time an what’s going on within us. It’s easy to spend a lot of time concerned about others. No one needs your concern, even if they crave your attention.
At 11, out for a walk on the South Downs, continuing along the Allan King’s Way, the second to last stage. I parked up on Gander Down, where I got to last time, and hiked over the rolling countryside and down to Tichborne. From there it was a short hop over the A31 and further downhill to Ovington. Old cottages on the lane down to the river and the Bush Inn, in high contrast to lorry drivers shitting in the woods just above. A quick lunch in the shady garden then along the valley a bit on Lovington Lane, and left the King’s Way to head back to the Downs. The normally peaceful countryside now with bass on the breeze. The Boomtown Fair at Mattersley Bowl. After some shade on winding paths through woods, and back over the A31, my route took me into the car park. I had no idea it would. So there I was, hiking into the festival grounds. I explained to the security why I had no wrist band and where I wanted to go. It was like walking alongside some sort of prison. A trench had been dug outside of a high, green fence. A woman sat on guard high on a corner watch tower. Ska music early afternoon. The party one day in. Later, along the South Downs Way again, I met a few walking to the site. They had a ladder for the fence. Join us, they said. I forgot to tell them about the guard tower so I don’t expect they got in. Their van was parked near my car, scribbled graffiti and twitter accounts all over it.
A sleep back at home, then good to lounge about after the walking. Snippets of TV. Tyre walls on Grand Designs. An elephant mourning the loss of its friend. The brother in Little Miss Sunshine not speaking ‘because of Nietzsche’. Uploaded this from our Swedish holiday last month:
Came back from a night in London with a foot detoxification bath thing. I’ve no idea what it’s about but I stuck my feet in for half an hour. The water stunk! It felt nice around my toes, like bicarb of soda. Even if nothing else happened, my feet felt really clean and light afterwards.
The fifth stage of my King’s Way hike, from Featherbed Lane near Owslebury, through Bushy Copse and up onto the South Downs at Old Down. An already warm early morning turning to hot by the time I reached Cheesefoot Head. With some shade dotted about, the walk continued around Temple Valley, merging with the South Downs Way. I left the King’s way at Rodfield Lane on Gander Down, to head back south, via some woodlands and Longwood House, with its deep rhododendron plantations. 28 degrees by the time I finished and still only around midday.
A spring walk from the village of Hambledon in East Hampshire to Bishop’s Waltham with its Medieval palace, on market day. The path crosses the Meon Valley at Soberton before climbing to the semi-urban areas of Swanmore and Waltham Chase. This walk linked up places I hadn’t thought of as being near each other, intersecting the usual transport and valley routes.
The first stage of the Allan King’s Way, from Portchester Castle to Nelson’s Monument on Portsdown Hill. I then continued along the hill a way and back to Portchester at sunset. On the way: Portsmouth Harbour, Wicor, Foxbury Point, Cams Bay, Downend, Fort Nelson, DSTL Research Base, Portchester Common, Paulsgrove Lake, then the Roman Fort and castle right on the water’s edge.
One of my favourite walks so far, despite its proximity to urban areas.