and occasionally rides a bike.
A word of warning. The walk descriptions are not detailed enough to guide you - please take a map. The batteries never run out, and you always have a signal. Oh, And don't take left or right as gospel!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Bike ride from Totton to Brackenhurst, Bolderwood and return via Lyndhurst

Thursday 29 August, with Harry. It's basically the same ride as Monday, in reverse. We tried to find another cut across from Matley Camp site to Brockenhurst, but ended up walking the bikes for about a mile.

Still and all, we saw a lot of puffball mushrooms, and a roof full of house martins - flying around and resting. I imagine they're feeding up ready for their journey south in the not too distant future.

Coffee in the woods, just before the Frohawk Ride, and lunch at Bolderwood. 
Do I have to move again?

28 miles and 630 feet of up and down. Cooler than on Monday, and fewer cars on the roads. It was beautiful weather for cycling.

Not le Mont Ventoux!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Cycling - Totton, Lyndhurst, Brockenhurst

Monday 26 August 2019, with Harry.
What a great pattern our GPS trace makes for a rather fine bike ride. Hot bank holiday Monday, and some horrible surfaces on forest tracks. Quite a demanding 28.4 mile ride, but enjoyable!

We headed for Lyndhurst via Deerleap and forest tracks, emerging on to Beaulieu Road, and reaching Lyndhurst near Boltons Bench. We walked through the very crowded and traffic-dense little town, then followed back roads to Emery Down and the Bolderwood car park. A good place for coffee, and it has public toilets. 

We were glad to escape the billowing barbecue smoke and ride downhill all the way into Brockenhurst. A courteous lorry driver held up the traffic while we and others crossed the main road!

Brockenhurst was busy too, and there was a mini traffic jam near Balmer Lawn, but once we'd passed that and were on forest tracks again, we saw very few people - a few families on bikes, a few people walking. 

We found a shaded spot for lunch near the Frohawk Ride.

Then it was back towards Beaulieu Road. We came out a short distance below Matley Wood, then retraced the route to Deerleap and back to base.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Totton, Eling, Marchwood

Almost 9 miles with Harry. A variety of urban, rural, and coastal scenery. Very hot weather.

Coffee with home-made scones...check.  Yogurt in the maker...check.
Duty done by the hanging baskets...check.
We went to Eling Tide Mill, via pedestrian walkways,
and Rushington Lane.
Bartley Water, I think...a muddy Usk-like river which goes through Totton
We had to cross the A35, using a traffic light controlled crossing to the east of Rushington roundabout. Then across the park and through the streets towards Eling, with its Tide Mill and harbour,
which I think is on Bartley Water, a tributary of the Test. 

Dashing headscarf

We walked up the hill to the church of St Mary the Virgin,
We assume the 20 hour stay applies to the Car Park, not the Cemetery.

with its picturesque churchyard, and continued along Eling Hill, past the King Rufus pub -
clearly a haunt of cyclists. We were also passed by a pony and trap, but I didn't manage a decent photo!

At a fork in the road we took the left hand  one, on to Bury Lane, which soon joined the major road, Marchwood Road. This has a cycle path/footpath running alongside, separated by a thick hedge, which made it pleasant to walk there. The road name changes again to Bury Road, and as it reaches Marchwood, Main Road. Just after this we found a tree stump in a green area to sit on for a while, to decide on the rest of the walk.

We decided to head for the water, and made our way along pedestrian paths north east through an estate, then continuing, following signs to Public Hard. We reached the yacht club slipway, and turned left along a path by the water. You could see huge container ships being loaded at the Millbrook Docks. The water is technically the River Test.

A bit of history

The path took us to a small beach area, with some heathland behind. Lots of blackberry bushes and blackthorn were growing there. We followed this close to the shore, passing a large jetty in an inlet. 
It continued through woodland, with salt marshes beyond. 

We could walk along a path closer to the marshes, with more open views.

This eventually came out on Eling Hill. 
A right turn and a short walk downhill, past the church and over the toll bridge to the Tide Mill Cafe. We had a very welcome large pot of tea, and a toasted teacake each. Alas too late for sandwiches!  We bought a loaf of the Mill's own bread - haven't tried it yet, verdict later!

It just remained to retrace our steps back to base. Another day when we haven't used the car before getting out.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Cycling from Totton to Beaulieu

18.2 miles with Harry.  

Through Foxhills to Ashurst, then along Whartons Lane to the main road. Cross over to Deerleap Lane, past Colbury church and the wildlife centre. Along the road to the junction, with a right turn to Beaulieu. Follow this road to a T-junction. Turn left. Ignore the turn to Beaulieu palace, and in a short distance turn left again into Beaulieu village.

In the last half mile or so, there were huge amounts of cars. In the village cows roamed loose. 
 These calves made a lot of noise for small animals.

Time for lunch...

We varied the route back by heading towards Lyndhurst, then taking forest tracks from Matley, crossing the railway line and returning to Deerleap, before retracing the outward route.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Totton and the Test Way

With Harry on a fine but not over warm day. Just over 9 miles of flat walking.

We set off at 9.45 and followed a route along footpaths, and through parkland, eventually arriving at a roundabout where we had to cross the A36. Here we turned left alongside the main road, then followed a path which took us to the Totton and Eling FC.

Some summer holiday activities for children were underway. No way out through there, so we headed back towards the place we should be, and found a path leading into the Testwood Lakes Nature reserve.

We turned left and headed towards the Testwood Lake Centre, half-hoping they might serve coffee, even though I had my flask with me! No luck - it's an activity centre for children, and a group were totally absorbed in pond-dipping.

But it was definitely time for a break, so we returned to a bench with a view.

We followed the path round the lake, almost circling it. The path on the east runs close to the River Blackwater, a tributary of the Test. At a junction we turned left and crossed this river.

A little while later we crossed the River Test, which has several "braids" around here.  Lovely clear water with lots of fish.
We passed ponies with foals, 
 a desirable restored mill
 and some fencing yards and the like.
We walked along Mill Lane. Shortly after the junction with Station Road we found the Test Way signpost on our right, to head more or less south.

 The path was on the right hand side of what seems to be a disused canal. It began as a weed covered stretch, then just a dry bed, and finally looked to be overgrown with reeds and himalayan balsam plants.

Towards the end of this section the path runs next to a railway line. we didn't cross the line, but turned right, soon crossed a bridge over a small river, where some boys were playing. Over to our left we could see the dockside cranes.
Before long we found the sign marking what used to be the beginning of the Test Way. It now starts, or ends at Eling. Close to the sign was a bridge over a larger braid of the Test. 

We spotted a decent place to harvest a few blackberries, before making our way into Totton itself. A few items from the supermarket provided us with lunch. The main road wasn't too inviting, but we found another footpath just across the railway footbridge. This path had yet more blackberry bushes.
 There is another section river, looking rather less inviting, muddy as the Usk.
 By roads and footpaths we wended our way back to base,well satisfied with our exploration of an area between Totton and Southampton, returning via darkest Totton.