Saturday, 28 March 2015

Come walk with me ...

Yesterday dawned bright and sunny so we decided to take a morning walk in the village of St. Mary Bourne. This village has strong personal associations for me as it is the village where my Mum spent her childhood and was married and a place where I used to spend a lot of my school holidays staying with my relatives on their farm.

Have you got your walking shoes/boots on?  Then come and join me as we start our walk through The Rec (recreation ground) and then turn down beside the lake.

before turning uphill towards Derrydown Woods

where there are lovely views as you look left of the river wending its way down towards the viaduct.

Let's look back to see how far we have climbed.

 No spring lambs in this field at the top of the hill today, perhaps we are too early in the year.

We continue onwards walking along the ride at the edge of the woods

as far as the corner where we turn right back into open countryside

with lovely views across the fields.

and stop to photograph these lovely wild primroses

which have always grown at the top of the hill near the five lanes junction.

We then cross over and continue down the hill where a donkey comes to say hello to us

before turning right to walk along the byway to Haven Hill.

How lovely to see the school children playing outside and thinking that since taking semi-retirement I don't need to go to school every day. I still have this guilty feeling that I can go for walks in the countryside on school days!

We turn down Haven Hill and then walk through the meadows back towards the Rec.

but stop at each gate to read these signs that the school children wrote when this pathway was upgraded and the old stiles removed (probably about 10-15 years ago now).

We have now reached the road and instead of going straight ahead back to The Rec we turn left down towards the main street and the war memorial stopping on the way to take photographs of these lovely celandines and violets.

I also stop awhile at the war memorial to pay my respects to the fallen of the World Wars which include my Great Uncle - Hector Frederick Hibberd, who died in France in September 1918.

We turn down the main street with its beautiful thatched cottages 

past the alms houses

to the stream that meanders down through the village

past the Old Plough and over the bridge

and on towards the Church passing many other beautiful cottages

before walking through the Churchyard to take a photo of this lovely porch

and then turn back towards the Village Centre past The Summerhaugh

and back across the bridge to take the turning to the Rec and the carpark.

I hope you have enjoyed taking this virtual walk with me. One day soon I will invite you to share another walk with me.

Friday, 27 March 2015

A day by the Solent

We made a trip down to the Solent on Monday. For those of you who are not familiar with the Solent, it is the strait that separates the Isle of Wight from the county of Hampshire on the mainland of England. The main reason for making this trip was because my DH wanted to see the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier which is currently anchored in the Solent off Stokes Bay (it is too large to enter Portsmouth Harbour). Unfortunately Monday turned out to be a gloomy overcast day so the photos are not the best but I think they give an impression of how enormous this ship is, there were over sixty aircraft on the flight deck.

After viewing the ship from Stokes Bay and then Lee-on-the-Solent we motored a bit further down the Solent to Titchfield Haven and parked up at Meon Shore to eat our picnic lunch. This is a favourite spot of ours and home to a national nature reserve which attracts lots of bird life as it contains various wetland habitats and is where the River Meon joins the Solent.

The weather had brightened by the time we had finished lunch so we decided to walk around part of the reserve passing the little marina on the way where there were mute swans swimming amongst the boats and also an Australian black swan plus lots of little turnstones waiting for the tide to go out so they could feed on the mud at the waters edge.

As we entered the reserve I was amazed to see this patch of cowslips, very early in the year for them and these huge fir cones, the photos don't really give you the impression of how big they were.

Once we had reached the first hide the noise of the black headed gulls hit us, there were hundreds of them, plus other birds including oyster catchers, avocets, shelduck, black tailed godwits, teal and lapwing. Oh for a long lens so I could get better photos!

A distant shot of an avocet (the symbol of the RSPB)

This black headed gull made me smile, standing on one leg and screaming at the other gulls to keep away.

A black tailed godwit searching for his food

I took these next shots as we were walking between hides, the bright yellow of the gorse looked lovely in the afternoon sunshine.

as did these backlit reeds 

and finally some pussy willow.

I love the coast and it was good to spend a day down by the Solent where there is always plenty to see and do.