Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Alresford to Hinton Ampner (Wayfarer's Walk 12)

St Michael and All Angels, Cheriton

This week's good day, so back on the Wayfarer's Walk. I started on the edge of Alresford, walked down the road and crossed the A31 by a footbridge. Then across a golf course, along a section of road and a triangular route around fields brought me to Cheriton Mill. All pleasant enough, but undistinguished.

However, things began to look up with the crossing of the small, but clear and fast-flowing river Itchen. It is near its source here, but goes on to merge with the Alre and then swing south through Winchester.

The path then follows the line of the Itchen through fields to reach the pretty village of Cheriton. We were here last year on a walk from Hinton Ampner with Viv and Giles. I briefly detoured to visit the  the church, which I described last year, based as ever on Pevsner. The re-set 13th century porch is very attractive.

Walking back along the road to rejoin my path, I was struck by this sign, later repeated on a small bridge over the river. It is clearly an early example of the modern trend towards notices whose function is not so much to inform as to disclaim responsibility.

The path away from Cheriton was through delightful open country with Middle Farm to the left.

The view looking up through the wayside trees was pretty good too.

A hedged track brought me to the edge of Hinton Ampner, the latter part being the reverse of last year's walk. I decided to stop there and was pleased to find on the map an excellent direct track which took me most of the way back to Alresford. So this became something closer to a circular walk.

Conditions: bright, sunny and increasingly warm.

Distance: 8 miles in all of which 4.5 were forwards along the Wayfarer's Walk; 43.5 now covered.

Map: Explorer 132 (Winchester).

Rating: four stars.


Another reasonable crop of birds, a bit different from the last couple of times:  Mistle Thrush, Nuthatch, Goldfinch, Heron, Sky Lark, Black Cap, Swallow, Kite, Buzzard.

Flower of the day

Lots of members of the Buttercup family in evidence, including some fine Marsh Marigolds by the river. This I think is the Meadow Buttercup.

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