Sunday, 21 October 2007

Riverside walk

Another beautiful autumn day today, so I decided to go for a walk along the Itchen, the river that runs through Winchester (Hampshire, in the UK). I set out from Winchester Cathedral. Anyone as old as I am will remember the song I was humming to myself as I walked through the passage beside the cathedral, heading towards the river.

This was the first glimpse of the river which I could hear from behind the walls. It appeared and then disappeared underneath my feet.

I found it again as I neared the Abbey Mill.

A sleepy pair of ducks were on the bank, ignoring the children trying to feed them with bread.

This is the City Mill, a working medieval mill, just behind the City Bridge. Near here stood the Eastgate, one of the five city gates. The structure used to include a porter's lodge and the chapel of St Michael. The nuns of St Mary's Abbey maintained the gate and the bridge in return for the right to collect tolls on all passing goods. The gate was demolished in 1768.

The view downstream. The river was running very fast today, although not nearly as high as it can be. I have seen it covering the footpath at times.

In pre-historic times, the Itchen flowed in two main channels. Following the foundation of the Roman town in about 70AD, this new artificial channel was created. This both reduced the chance of flooding in the town centre and provided an eastern defensive moat. In the medieval times, the river was twice as wide as it is today.

It runs on towards Wharf Mill which is now made into apartments. There has been a mill on this site since the 12th century. Segrim's Mill took its name from Segrim's Fount which was diverted in1360 to provide extra power. The existing structure was built in 1885 at the head of the Itchen Navigation canal.

The river then heads out of the city towards St Cross, through the water meadows.

A popular place on a pleasant afternoon.

I think swans are the most beautiful of birds.

Look Mum, no hands!

The footpath then heads out further through the trees, where you have a channel on each side. Unfortunately in the picture they look rather like ditches.

At that point I decided to head back, past the playing fields of Winchester College.

In the distance, a view of St Catherine's Hill, where at the foot of the hill are the remains of three past methods of transport - a disused road, a disused railway line and a disused navigation canal.

I did take quite a number of shots of the cathedral and some of the old houses around, but I'll save those for another time.


  1. Very pretty scenery... Amazing, we have had a wonderful Autumnal weekend.

  2. What a lovely guided tour in amazing fall collared scenery and you've capture it so well. You know I love all the four seasons and now fall is my favorite.

    Btw: Thanks for your visit and nice comments on my Love Story post :-)

  3. What beautiful pictures you take, and always with such a good commentary.

    I still can't get the song "Winchester Cathedral" out of my head.

  4. You seem to have the ability to capture the essence of a place in a sequence of photos that show it off to its best. I have often been to Winchester but have never seen the riverside like this. Thanks. LR.

  5. Oh, that was the most lovely stroll along the river! I'd have loved to take a walk there. Very lovely surroundings!!!!

    The swan photos are magnificent, especially the mirrored one.

    Pssst. Don't forget to post Your Oddly Ghost post tomorrow Tuesday :-)

  6. I remember that song!! such a lovely tour and beautiful pictures, the swans are wonderful!

  7. What beautiful photos of some really fantastic places to be able to walk and visit! Loved your pictures and the opportunity to visit your area that way.
    Thanks so much for stopping by and especially for commenting too! Come back again - many times, I hope!

  8. Thank you all for your very generous comments.

    In my haste returning from France I left the camera's card behind, so I've been champing at the bit to get a new one. This was the first opportunity for an outing with it.

    I'll have to give you a guided tour one day LR ;)

  9. A. --

    The photos are wonderful. Thanks for sharing -- though have to say that it makes me rue my not ever having gone on that walk (or even known about it) the one time in my life that I visited Winchester... ;S

  10. YTSL, if you had only the one visit to Winchester, I would say there were more than enough other things to see and do. It is a very pleasant and historical city.


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