I have never seen this number of black sheep in one field in my life so far! WE passed these sheep on one of our long hikes from Kingsclere. This was taken near Hannington and was a lovely sight to see.
This part of Hampshire in England is a favourite part of the countryside for Steve and I. Walking trails around this area take you through the Sydmonton Court Estate, Watership down, The Gallops, Ladle Hill on great Litchfield Down, Burghclere and surrounding areas of Ecchinswell, Hannington and Kingsclere. It’s impressive walking trails are equally as good in the winter months as in the Summer. The country home of Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber is Sydmonton Court; it’s beautiful, surrounded by well maintained landscapes and magnificent views.
We have spent many enjoyable hours walking around this part of Hampshire and I would have to say this is one of the best walks in the area (see my hiking blogs) We would often finish up with a pint or two in the George and Dragon Pub in Wolverton Townsend or another local pub in the area.
We could see this TV transmitter from the garden at Haughurst House and it reminded us every time of the wonderful countryside and walks up and around Hannington and Kingsclere. I called this ‘Steve’s Tower.’
Particularly in the winter time, I would quite often make a batch of healthy wholemeal cheese and onion scones to take on our long hikes, usually taking around four hours (21kms) and finishing around lunchtime for a pint in a lovely country pub. wonderful!!
With our supper already sorted for this evening (Steve has made a Beef Rendang with rice and flat breads!) and after all our jobs done, we were looking forward to a couple of quiet drinks down at our local pub, the Pineapple, at Brimpton Common.
We had both been to the gym earlier that morning so there wasn’t any guilt about a beverage or two. We were extremely delighted that Robin Redbreast joined us while we were there. He loves the beer garden at the Pineapple. We must remember to take a few little bits of bread for him next time we visit!
So, it was very relaxing, sipping on a Stowford Press Cider in the lovely beer garden with Robin and Steve who ejoyed his pint of London Pride.
It’s Saturday morning and I have walked the dogs, been to the gym (got saturated by a heavy down pour on the way back!!) walked to the local shops with Steve, read the papers and have done a bit of house work. The weather is crap…..typical English weather…..wet with occasional sunny intervals and a slight chill to the air. This is meant to be Summertime!!!!!
So, I’m preparing Cannelloni for supper tonight. It will be a well deserved treat. It’s my own recipe, made with wholewheat Lasagna sheets (‘cos we’re healthy!) and works very well with all the other flavours in the dish.
I feel like a relaxing quite night so, Saturday night at home in the cottage will be just that….supper in front of a lovely fire with some decent TV, wonderful. We’ll walk down to the Pineapple Pub for a drink before hand (raincoat will be a must!) This is rural Hampshire, not much excitement here at the weekend unless you’re invited to a party. That could be a different story!
The recipe is quite yummy……..serve with a crisp green salad or on its own with a lovely glass of red wine. I will post the recipe soon………
I was working in the cottage doing some of my colouring work when Steve arrived back from the local shops. As the door opened he said, “The Lambs are out again!” Bloody hell, not again, I thought to myself!
We raced down to the field near the veg patch and there they were…the fattest lambs you have ever seen, munching on grass without a care in the world!
John the gardener had alerted Steve and helped us to herd them back into the field. No, I didn’t leave the gate open again. They pushed their way out through a hole in the wire fence. Can’t believe such fat animals could squeeze through such a small gap! John patched up the hole and I made a few phone calls to alert the owners. The fence needs some attention in the next day or two as there appears to be a few more holes where they could easily find another escape route! Another exciting afternoon in a quiet rural part of Hampshire.
Indi, the older of the two Labradors I look after, is still pretty impressive for his nine or so years on this earth. He can still haul his body over the odd fence on this big estate we live on and he keeps himself very trim with a number of sports he takes part in.
He is one of the best gun dogs around who also has a great love of tennis which heis not supposed to play! He’s a great swimmer and especially loves to swim in the river and streams down in the woods and water meadows. You will often see him taking a dip in the large swimmingpool during the summer months on the estate and always leaves the pool in a gentlemanly manner! unlike his mate Jester who bounds out of the water as quick as he can, shaking himself off carelessly.
Indi also is a great wrestler and usually wins his daily bouts with the young Jester. Jester occassionally squeels like a baby when things get too rough but loves the game all the same.
The two dogs have a great life here in Hampshire and are lucky to have each other’s company. Steve and I are just back from taking them for a walk in the woods this morning and as I peeked through the door to the dogs room just a while ago, the two of them were sleeping like babies. We’ll take them out for a run this afternoon through the fields while we check on the sheep, so they’ll have another lovely day of exercise. Happy, healthy dogs!
We woke to a beautiful sunny Sunday morning but extremely cold, around -2 degrees C. Perfect walking conditions for a long hike with only a breath of wind. The night before we organised our gear, set the table for breakfast and made a few wholemeal cheese and onion scones to have with our thermos of coffee along the way. Today’s hike would be a round trip of 20kms (around 12.5 miles) and would start in the lovely village of Kingsclere towards Hannington, Sydmonton through to Ecchinswell and finally back to Kingsclere.
Walking in freezing sunny conditions, with hardly a breath of wind is a sure way to wake one up early in the morning…..and we started early, just as the sun was coming up and the cold air was at it’s chilliest.
After walking a continual slope for ten minutes or so, we were as warm as toast and enjoying the peacefulness and breathtaking views on such a still sunny Sunday morning.
We stopped for coffee just after Hannington seeing only a few dog walkers in the distance. That went down wonderfully well but we didn’t stop for long as the cold was settling in my body again.
We made our way along The Wayfarers path towards the Gallops. The views towards the Gallops was amazing with large sweeping fields lit up by the clear bright sunshine.
We crossed the main road at White Hill and noticed a huge number of cars parked along the roadside. As we continued to walk we could see a number of kites being flown near to Combe Hole. It was an impressive sight.
So over the Gallops we go and passed Watership Down and through the magnificent Sydmonton Court Estate, the country home of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. This leg of the walk is definitely my favourite. The grounds are beautifully maintained and the trees on the Estate are just magnificent to say the least.
We also pass by some beautiful Pollo horses at Sydmonton Farm. They all looked very relaxed feeding on the grass in their well maintained fields.
By this time we had been walking for around 2 and 3/4 hours so time to have another coffee and try out one of my cheese and onion scones. Well, they were pretty decent I would have to say and Steve loved them (of course!) We were off again enjoying the morning and now appreciating the efforts of getting out of a cosy warm bed early to brave the cold!
We pass a row of lovely country cottages called Laundry Cottages. Maybe in the past they were housed by workers on the Estate? They are in an elevated position and the outlook from their front must be beautiful. So now the walk takes us through Watership Farm and Stables. We pass quite a lovely pond which is still frozen over……temperatures were still hovering around zero!
On to the village of Ecchinswell now and I was starting to feel a little tired now……but we had to keep going!
Through Ecchinswell and we felt like we were definitely on the home straight now. We passed over a lovely bridge and stream and the ground seemed a lot softer under foot which meant temperatures were rising. A little too late for us though.
The slight slope back to Kingsclere seemed to go on forever and I felt I was dragging my feet a little! Steve kept the pace up well though. I think he was thinking “The faster we go, the quicker we’ll finish!!” We were also thinking about The George and Dragon Pub in Wolverton Townsend where we were going to rest our weary feet. I think perhaps that is more likely why Steve’s pace kept up!
So, it felt like a great achievement walking the 20kms and although I felt a little knackered I knew my fittness was improving and that was an extremely satisfying feeling.
So to The George and Dragon we go for a pint and review our walk and photos…….a great way to spend a Sunday morning that’s for sure.
The George and Dragon was quite busy being Sunday lunchtime and our favourite table by the inglenook fireplace was already taken which wasn’t at all surprising on such a cold day. We settled for another table….closer to the bar and not as far to walk which pleased Steve very much. We talked about the walk and looked at all the photos we had taken throughout the morning….hope you enjoy a few that I have included in this post. Cheers!
We have known this pub for only a short time but can safely say it would have to be run by the most welcoming, friendly couple.
Alan is spot on with the care of his real ales. Bombardier and Hobgoblin are the most popular and always poured expertly by Alan or Sylvia his hard working wife. She has the gift of the gab, always with a smile on her face. Even when their boiler decided it wanted to go to heaven, she made sure her customers were kept warm with the open fires blazing constantly….still with a cheery smile.
It’s a great locals pub and a good spot to call in for a quick glass or two.