With breakfast at 8.30 we thought we were in for an early start – but we were thoroughly diverted, transported even by the delightful Corhampton Church (a few yards away from the Bucks Head).
Initially it was the old Yew tree which took my breath away. It hasn’t been formally aged but has a girth of around 23 feet which apparently gives it a date of planting at least 1000 years ago – What really amazed me was how healthy and majestic it seemed, truly a venerable entity.
The church (dating to 1020) and possibly built on an ancient mound of some sort or other is also a gem of a place. Much of the original Saxon building remains including its chancel arch, altar stone and sun (or Tide) dial. There is a sanctuary chair (possibly also Saxon or early medieval) and amazing wall paintings probably from the 1200s. It was humble but simply exquisite.
With that as the start of the day it was difficult to top, but Winchester Hill was amazing too – an Iron Age hill fort with Bronze Age burial mounds and like Beacon Hill fabulous wild flowers. A tad bit breezy when we were there but again worth a visit.
We headed on to Meon Springs where we ate our baguettes provided by the Bucks Head and watched people fly fishing in the trout lake. Seemed somewhat sad these beautiful fish were just being farmed for catching but even so it was a tranquil spot. We got talking to one of the fishermen who turned out to have been an official at the Olympic badminton event. You just never know who you’re going to meet.
I would have liked to stop at the Sustainability Centre in East Meon after that, but we’d never have got to Petersfield. As it was, after ice cream and scones, we got lost in Queen Elizabeth Country Park. I have to say we found the signage there rather confusing. Walking on cinder/rubble paths was also a bit exhausting, especially as my right leg had well and truly seized up by this point!
It seemed a bit of a shame that we had to break off from the route at Buriton and take the Hangers Way into Petersfield but, there’s always the next leg to look forward to (Buriton to Cocking and then on to Amberley).