I went for a walk today, in the brief brighter morning. I'm glad I did because it started raining later.
I set off from the bridleway behind St Cross Mill which is now privately owned. It looks like an idyllic setting.
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.
But his friend thought I was paying him too much attention.
I followed the path uphill.
Something has been stripping the bark off the trees. Could rabbits leave tooth marks like this?
And then I followed the path down again. I did manage to get down without losing my footing .... too much.
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.
A little closer to St Catherine's hill. You can see there are people climbing it.
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.
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?