Compton and Shawford Walkers’ Group: The Bell and Clustered Bellflowers

Five members of the walking group plus two dogs enjoyed a “local” walk in the sunshine of the autumnal equinox. According to the forecasters, this will have been the last day of summer with winter upon us by the time you read this report. Who knows whether to believe them?

Our outbound route passed Compton Lock and Hockley Mill, then around Hockley golf course to St. Catherine’s Hill where morning coffee was enjoyed overlooking Winchester. A short stretch over Tun Bridge and a permissive path through the College grounds took us to The Bell for a quick half pint. Then another short stretch onto Whiteshute Ridge for our packed lunch, again overlooking Winchester but from a different angle. The return journey was straightforward passing Sainsbury’s, Texas and Yew Hill.

St. Catherine’s Hill was especially colourful with purple knapweed and other wild flowers including a patch of Clustered Bellflower (Campanula Glomerata) on the ramparts of the old hill fort. Bees and the odd butterfly were busy on the ivy flowers in the garden of The Bell. English White cattle watched us pass and then resumed their grazing on Twyford Down and again on St. Catherine’s Hill. A family of swans with six cygnets similarly watched us pass alongside the river above Tun Bridge.

In spite of the seemingly erratic progress, we completed the advertised nine miles in time to return for a spot of mid-afternoon gardening.

Ian and Pat Acton