Saturday, 30 March 2013

Hambledon to Ports Down (Wayfarer's Walk 16)

 Church St, Hambledon

I had set aside yesterday and today to finish a report for a client, but a great effort yesterday nearly completed the job and I decided to go out for a walk today as a reward. Angela suggested doing the penultimate leg of the Wayfarer's Walk and off we went in two cars to do so. It was actually last November that we did the leg from Corhampton to Hambledon, in bright, warm sunshine - it seems hard to credit it.

We picked up the route in the pretty village of Hambledon and walked along the street opposite Church St to climb the short, steep Speltham Hill. From the top there were excellent views down over the village, nestling in its valley.

The route now led across brown, recently plowed fields, to the outskirts of Denmead. It then followed a straight line through housing developments to emerge on the southern edge of the village and cross a golf course. All pretty dull. Only at Closewood House did we see anything to catch our interest - these lovely curved upstairs windows, pushing through the line of the roof.

Now past a pig farm, a stream, more fields, a copse or two and a road to reach Purbrook Heath. At the entrance to the heath - seemingly actually more farmland - was the wonderfully restored Tudor Cottage.

 Now we followed a track between fields and then a path at the back of a housing development to emerge onto the high ridge of Portsdown (well, at 116m it is not really very high, but it does a commanding position over Portsmouth). We admired the delicate birds on this gable.

Soon we reached today's end point: the car park above Collyer's Pit with fine views, albeit very hazy in the late afternoon, towards Portsmouth. The Spinaker Tower which we climbed on last year's city walk around Portsmouth can just be made out on the right. The Isle of Wight is clearly visible in the background.

Slightly to the left, was a fine view over Langstone Harbour, with its surprisingly narrow mouth.

Conditions: not as cold as of late, maybe 5 degrees. Cloudy, but some sunshine.

Distance: 7.5 miles, so 64.5 now covered. The end is in sight.

Map: Explorer 119 (Meon Valley, Portsmouth, Gosport and Fareham).

Rating: three stars. A difficult time of year: the brown fields and leafless trees and hedgerows made for a walk that lacked visual stimulation.


We saw some clumps of Lesser Celandine, offering the proof that many people are demanding of the end of this long cold Winter and the arrival of Spring. I didn't take a picture this year, but I was pleased to find that last year's rather good one was taken on almost the exact same day, on a earlier leg of the Wayfarer's Walk.

We also saw a fine, bold Mistle Thrush on the golf course and heard the remarkably loud drumming of a Greater Spotted Woodpecker in a Newlandsmoor Copse.

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