Thursday, 3 May 2012

Abbotstone to Alresford (Wayfarer's Walk 11)


Today looked like being this week's one nice day, so off I went to continue my solo project, the Wayfarer's Walk. I picked up the route at Abbotstone and continued along a green track to a path junction where I turned left and parted company with the Three Castles Path. There was a nice view to the south west as I turned.

Heading now south east towards Alresford, there was another "has it snowed?" photo opportunity.

When the sun came out, it became clear that this only works (if it works at all) under cloud - under sun the plastic is more apparent. At the end of this pleasant track you cross a small road and follow a path overlooking Arlebury Park. There is a lake in the foreground with the river Alre behind it. (There is degree of muddle in this area about Alre or Arle.) I was thrilled to see no less than seven grey herons standing motionless on the far shore, although I couldn't get them all in the picture.

The path leads down to the river, which is shallow and clear. There is a substantial lake to the right. The next section overlaps with a nice walk we did from Alresford to Abbotstone in 2010, by a more direct route.

As you enter Alresford town, the river bends sharply and is suddenly full of ducks. I couldn't identify the three in the foreground. They looked similar to the Mallards behind them, but were bit bigger and obviously the colour scheme is not quite right. An enquiry to the RSPB identified them as a domestic Mallard breed known as Buff Orpington. So not far out.

Further along, you turn a bend to be suddenly presented with the sight of this lovely cottage straddling the river.

Soon the path leads towards the town, past the Victorian fire station ...

... and up the charming Broad St (photo at the head of this post). Pevsner thinks it is (or at least, was) Hampshire's best village street. You then cross the main road to pass beside the church of St John Baptist.

The clock has the date 1811, but the base of the tower is 14th century and the brick top is 17th century. The rest is a not very inspiring late Victorian reconstruction

Conditions: cloudy becoming warm and quite sunny

Forward distance: 3.5 miles; distance now traveled 39 miles. Over half way!

Map: Explorer 132 (Winchester)

Rating: three and half stars. A much nicer day than recently, the pleasing town of Alresford and an interesting selection of water birds and even some butterflies.


At last some butterflies! Male and female Orange Tips, Brimstones, Speckled Woods, Holly Blues and a lone Peacock.

And water birds: Tufted Ducks, Mallards, Coots, Moorhens, a Gadwall, Swans, Canada Geese, Herons.

Flowers of the day

This seems to be Garlic Mustard - Jack by the Hedge.

And this Dusky Cranesbill made a fine splash of colour - as befitting a garden escape.

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