3rd January 2017
Walking in the winter sunshine
- Author: Anne Cleaver
- Published: 6th February 2017
- Categories: Blog, Business, Clanfield
When the forecast promised a dry, sunny day on Saturday after all the rain of last week it was too good to miss. Our New Year’s resolution of more countryside walks had fallen foul of colds, flu and freezing weather in January. Time to put that right in February then.
My husband and I pulled on our walking boots and layers of warm clothing and drove up to one of our favourite spots – Ashford Hangers just above Petersfield. http://www3.hants.gov.uk/hampshire-countryside/ashford-hangers.htm
We parked beside the woods and our first view from the Shoulder of Mutton hill was simply stunning, with the tops of the Downs just peeping through the fog. It was a steep and sometimes slippery walk down to the Poet’s Stone, a memorial to Edward Thomas who was killed in 1917. From there we wandered along one of the many contour paths that are to be found on this national nature reserve.
Although the path was narrow and the trees crowded in on the path there were breaks in the canopy that allowed us to appreciate the view. You would perhaps think there wouldn’t be much plant life to see at this time of year but you would be wrong. The ferns, in the shade of the trees, were simply loving the recent downpours and we can across our first sight of a primrose this year. It was very small and a bit bedraggled but it was a very welcome sign of the spring to come. There was also a treat in seeing a rare flowering plant – a Stinking Hellebore to be exact. I didn’t get too close so I can’t tell you if it was ‘stinking’ but at least it was in flower.
We heard a song thrush and woodpeckers, who like us, can’t wait for spring and saw a couple of horse riders enjoying a quiet ride in these idyllic hills but we saw no one else in the two hours we spent walking. There are still places to enjoy the quiet of the countryside in Hampshire.
Best of all was that we raced home with good appetites and treated ourselves to a couple of Reeve Butchers delicious pasties still warm from the oven. OK, losing weight was the second of our New Year promises but let’s take this one resolution at a time!
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