On Monday we decided to walk in a location where we haven't walked before. I pulled directions off the internet and off we went by car to Longparish. This is a village quite close to us and we have driven through a number of times but never stopped off - what a treat we had in store.
The walk was called the Riverdance walk (and no, Michael Flatley was nowhere in sight) but the walk is so well named as it takes you backwards and forwards across bridges over the River Test and its tributaries giving you stunning views of the river.
Having parked the car in the village hall carpark we set off down the main street passing this pretty cottage on the way.
A little further on a stream runs parallel with the road and over a little bridge was this grindstone, not sure why it was there but thought it would make an interesting photo.
A little further on we turned off the road along a track and then turned right along the edge of some fields, the rape field is in full colour as you can see from the photos below.
This has been a very good year for blossom and this tree looked magnificent, I love the beautiful backlit photo I took standing underneath the tree looking out.
Think this one might be a wild cherry tree but not too sure.
Turning down a little lane back towards the road we passed a delightful cottage with these lovely tulips and bluebells growing.
We were now back walking on the road for a little while, these sheep must have been so hot in their thick woolly coats as it was such a warm day.
A bit further down the road we passed a lovely little riverside garden, there was no building there so I guess it belonged to the people who lived in the cottages on the opposite side of the road. A lady was tending the garden and was quite happy for us to take some photos.
Shortly after this we turned off the road and had our first sight of the main river. We stopped awhile on the long bridge to watch the trout in the river and take in the stunning views.
The route then took us over a small common and then followed the river down to the Upper Mill, a 19th century corn mill which has been beautifully restored to full working order.
We criss-crossed the river several times as we made our way down stream. We had fun spotting the different species of butterflies and wildflowers growing on the banks of the river.
We spent a long time trying to get a photo of the orange tip butterflies but they just wouldn't settle long enough for us to snap them. I did manage to get a photo of the speckled wood butterfly (above) and we also saw peacocks, red admirals, and brimstones.
The route then took us across some water meadows and across the only stile on the walk. There were lots of pheasants around but the one in the photo below took our eye as it was so pale compared with pheasants we normally see.
At the end of this part of the walk we could have taken a lane back up to the village street but we decided to extend our walk by walking down by the Lower Mill and past the lake and the weirs before reaching a trout farm.
At first we thought the heron in the photo above was a model but then it moved and it was definitely real!
We crossed so many bridges we gave up counting.
It was definitely time for a rest when we reached this lane so we took advantage of these tree stumps to rest our weary legs for a little while ....
.... before continuing onwards past the entrance to the trout farm and then making our way back to the village.
This was to be the last time we crossed the Test, I love the way the sun is shining on the water making it look all sparkly.
Almost back to the main street now but had to stop and take a photo of this delightful rockery bordering the little stream.
Finally we reached the carpark and we were just about to get in the car when I spotted a cart and horses coming along the road so just had to take one last photo.
A delightful walk and the furthest I have walked for some time, I did struggle for the last half mile but we will be returning to walk this route again soon as we enjoyed it so much. Our walks are definitely helping me on my weight loss journey and I hope that I can manage longer distances as time goes on.