I treated myself to a day off writing – my WIP will reach its conclusion in the next couple of days. Instead I pulled on my (now slightly smelly) running gear and headed off on a sunny morning.
To date I’ve been happy enough to do circuits of the neighbouring facilities briefly described in my last post, but this morning I headed to the southern edge of the compact city centre to reacquaint myself with the water meadows. The trails out that way are tailor-made for pedestrians. Bikes not so much though they are well catered for further out. Past Wolvesey Castle (970), the Hospital of St Cross (1132) and Winchester College (1382), this part of the country would be easily recognisable to those medieval folk if they were to pop back today for a visit.
The River Itchen splits into two branches and winds its way gently, reluctantly, towards the sea at Southampton.
Leaving the water meadows one joins the cycle network. One curiosity is Five Bridges Road, running straight across the meadows, but which seems to have been extinguished as a highway, leaving it free of traffic. This was possibly at the same time as the controversial M3 works back in the 1990s.
Hockley railway viaduct was abandoned as part of the Beeching cuts in 1963. It has particular links to D-Day with huge amounts of hardware and troops using the route to the south coast in the preceding 12 months. Happily it has been recently restored and made available to the cycle network.
Finally, a bit of hill training up St Catherine’s Hill, an ancient hill fort, which gives great views of Winchester and the surrounding land.
(No Winchester Cathedral yet – that will be my final stop before flying home.)