Sunday, 24 February 2008

A walk to St Catherine's Hill

I went for a walk today, in the brief brighter morning. I'm glad I did because it started raining later.

river with mill

I set off from the bridleway behind St Cross Mill which is now privately owned. It looks like an idyllic setting.

black Welsh mountain ram

Along the way I came across some friendly sheep who clearly thought I would feed them. This one was a little more shy than the rest.

black ram with white ewe

But his friend thought I was paying him too much attention.

I followed the path uphill.

stripped bark

Something has been stripping the bark off the trees. Could rabbits leave tooth marks like this?

downhill path

And then I followed the path down again. I did manage to get down without losing my footing .... too much.

St cross hospital

A view of St Cross Hospital from the other side. It gives a little more indication of the extent of the buildings than the view from the road.

St Catherine's hill

A little closer to St Catherine's hill. You can see there are people climbing it.

Itchen navigation canal

The Itchen navigation canal was built in 1665. It was an important route between Winchester and the sea. Amazing to think that this was an important route, when you see it today.

The irrigation system of winter flooding and summer draining allowed the areas to be intensively farmed but fell into disuse in the 20th century when alternative fertilizers came into use.

The stepped pathway up St Catherine's Hill. At this point I decided I didn't have enough time to get to the top, let alone back again, so I'll save that for another day.

arch under viaduct

I tool the easier route back, which led me beneath the old Hockley Viaduct. The viaduct, 2,014 ft (614m) long with 33 arches, once linked the Didcot, Newbury and Southampton railway with the the Great Western Railway, and was in use for passenger traffic until 1960, and freight until 1966. It is the largest brick built structure in the country and the oldest with a concrete core. In years to come, will they regret not having preserved this better?

10 comments:

  1. Enjoyed the photos. Bet you're right about dismantling the railway line.

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  2. Beautiful place. Let's hope they preserve what's left.

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  3. If that tree were here, I'd say beavers were the culprits.

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  4. Thanks all! They will regret not preserving it but they've been talking about it for years..
    Hi janeway, yes that did spring to my mind so then I thought of badgers. I really don't know.

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  5. Love your photo-essay. On one hand, you've got me wishing I could go on that walk. OTOH, also feel to some extent that I've managed to do so virtually by way of your photos. :)

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  6. YTSL, I take that as a huge compliment, coming from the supreme photo-essayist that you are!

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  7. What an exciting landscape to walk around. I'm fascinated. really;)
    All the variations - from plain nature, animals, architecture, well prepared trials to historical monuments. Old England at it's best.

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  8. Thanks Tor, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I certainly did.

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Forethoughts, afterthoughts, any thoughts. Tell me.

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