Saturday, 3 September 2016

Ups and Downs

The Bank Holiday weekend was certainly one of contrasting weather. We ventured out for a quick pootle around Martin Down on Sunday, but the drizzly weather meant that the final flourish of butterflies were largely hunkered down. Nevertheless, I marveled at the beauty of the raindrops clinging to the seed heads of Traveller's Joy/Old Man's Beard/Wild Clematis (call it what you will - so many names!).

The Monday was stunning weather-wise, and we chose a beautiful route from the lovely village of Wherwell on the River Test, crossing the crystal-clear waters and Chibolton Common, before heading back to the pub! In the afternoon, we eventually found out way to Harewood Forest (paths not clearly marked!), which apparently nobody visits as we had the place to ourselves! It was interesting to see the many concrete tracks through it - the area was used for various things during WWII so it must have been connected to that, but exactly what function the forest played was a bit of a mystery. well worth a visit though - a mixture of ancient hazel coppice, with stands of conifers and younger-looking oaks and beeches. Remnants of the ancient land use remain though, with Saxon boundary earth banks and ancient gnarled oaks atop.

I also managed to get out briefly the following day on my way back form work. I am lucky enough to pass Stockbridge Down on my way to work, and called in on my way back. It's an area of chalk grassland, with much archaeology and absolutely stunning views all around. A lovely way to end the day.


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