Monthly Archives: January 2010


I know you don't're the ones with the big hairy doggie.....


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King John’s Castle

What started off as a short Sunday afternoon dog stroll, turned out to be quite an  informative adventure.  Just see what happens when you turn right, instead of (our usual) left on to the canal…

Well firstly the tow path is unexpectedly closed, apparently is it unsafe…which is incidental really when the alternative is manouverieng a big hairy doggie via the ‘diversion’ along a busy road…..without a lead!

Who forgot to bring the lead?

I was thrilled with King John’s Castle, the actual desination of today’s walk.  It must be about seven years since we last came here, probably on our mountain bikes and I remember it looking very unloved.  Covered in brambles, scaffolding and feeling very sorry for itself, I wasn’t expecing it to be so bold and outstanding today.  The restoration project  completed by Hampshire County Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund under the guidence of English Heritage have done a supurb job.  A local site to be really proud of, take a look at

King John's Castle

The remaining building is the rubble core of the original walls which would have had a skin of dressed stone and flints

Fabulous shapes left by the ruins of the windows......a bit Gaudiesque I think.

That's right, behind bars....where you belong!

Unusual octagonal designed Keep

Holes for floor joists and a chimney

In the late 1780 John Pinkerton, responsible for building the Basingstoke Canal would have been posed with problem of crossing the River Whitewater, the result of decision to the problem can be seen here with small, but adequately purposeful aqueduct.  During construction the River Whitewater was diverted into the outer moat of the castle to save time and effort on digging the culvert.

Whitewater Aquaduct at Greywell, where the River Whitewater goes underneath the Canal.

The 1,230 yard tunnel at Greywell was built between 1788 and 1992.  It collapsed in 1932 and there were no attempts to revive it as the canal had ceased to be a commercial trade route.  The tunnel is now a haven for bats, the cave like environment provides a constant temperature (100C) and high humidity providing excellent conditions for hibernating bats.

Greywell Tunnel - Home to Europe's second largest hibernating population of Natterer's Bats

Greywell Tunnel - Home to Europe's second largest hibernating population of Natterer's Bat

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Well, Well, Well…….

This area of Hampshire is very flat, so we thought we would take a visit to Horsedown Common this morning near Well as there is a trig point there which promises a height of 165 metres (whoopee), but hopefully also some views of the area.  The snow is still really deep, in some places up to our knees, the prolonged freezing temperatures have meant there has been very little thaw, although we did see some spectacular icicles hanging from house roofs.  On approaching the common (on the footpath) there was a notice attached to the tree stating the common was private property and that there was no footpath to the trig point.  Amusingly, there was also a notice on the trig point saying if you can read this, you could have read the other notice – so what were we still doing there.  It was at this point we heard a loud bellowing “Oi”……and we made a quick (as possible in knee deep snow) retreat back to the footpath……musing about miserable, cantankerous old land owners.
On further investigation back home it would appear that Hampshire County Council classified the area as common land without application.  An objection was upheld and the Association of Commons Registration Authorities refused to confirm the registration on 23rd may 1978.  However, it would still appear to be marked as common land, by the Ordnance Survey anyway.  Looks like the landowners still have their knickers in a twist over it!
Anyway, we should have lovely toned bottoms now from traipsing through all that snow.  Popped into The Chequers at Well for a quick half (forgot to take any cash), but were very glad to leave them to it….serving Sunday Lunches is not something I wish to revisit.

Didn't you read the notice??

Leaving footprints like that....they'll know you've been up here!

This better be worth it

Oi...Get off my trig!

View to Basingstoke from Horsedown Common trig point

Encounter with more pigs...very snorty ones too!

The Culprit.....

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The Perfect Scone…

Finally, after many expectant years, Julian triumphs and delights us all with edible scones.  Granny Dance would have been proud and so I understand, would certainly have approved of them being baked on a Saturday afternoon whilst listening to the football on the radio.  Yum….pass me the strawberry jam!

Oh, look carefully…..there is a big black nose hovering in the background…..

Ooohhh, they smell yummy!

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Apparently he wasn’t lost!

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Lovely evening sunset seen by Julian, somewhere between Crondall and Well…he was lost!  Strange for a man to admit that (especially when there is the sun to navigate by!!), but not strange that his was messing about in the snow with the Landy at the time.

Humm...that must be west then...

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A foot of snow….and rising

More snow….my woolly hat has never seen so much action. Julian’s school closed today so impromptu day off to play in the snow, we just had to convince Flo that it was a good idea…..

It’s always special when you draw back the curtains and your usual morning view has been replaced with a magical winter snow scene, and there had been some snow over night.  We could hear branches of the trees, so heavily laiden with snow, just breaking under the weight.  Quite and erie sound on Odiham Common, and lots of trees had fallen on the tow path.  The canal looked picturesque, on the brink of being frozen.

Julian going out now in the landy to get emergency rations….red wine and crumpets.  If  you have a real fire, you have to use it – now, where is the toasting fork?!

Good Morning Snow

I don't think much of walking in it.....but I love eating it!

"I'm just having a staring competition with big hairy doggie, then I'll be right with you"

River Whitewater - Literally

You'll never win Mrs Pig?

Footsteps, down the middle of the canal....weird!

Hummm, I seem to have got used to the snow now. Different doggie than the one who wouldn't stick her paw out of the back door this morning.

Odiham Common from Whitehall crossroads

Only 40 miles, but not going anywhere today...

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