The first couple of miles were climbing on narrow roads, before getting to the east end of an MOD firing range & heading off the seal & starting to cross the fields on the top of the down. With all the hedgerows & green fields it was pleasantly English & the views improved as I climbed a little (there wasn't really much climbing in the part I did). I was pleased to not get very muddy at all, I was expected the chalk soil would have different ideas - but it was mostly just damp & not wet, sloppy mud.
|Back towards Winchester|
It's a little odd riding these sorts of trails in England - you never feel very far away from anywhere. That's sort of nice when you're by yourself. It was also very strange riding through some farmer's fields & then suddenly being turfed in to the middle of a farm's working buildings. There were dozens of pheasants scrambling out of the hedges & undergrowth, which was amusing.
I had a nice long descent down to the village of Exton, pity a lot of it had been rerouted a while ago (the signs said temporary, but they looked old) on to the road. Some nice big manor houses & deprecatingly named 'cottages' around here to look at while I snacked before turning around & heading back up the hill. Apart from the first part of the return, the riding was a lot easier than I expected - the GPS confirms I was very gradually climbing for a lot of the way out.
|The River Meon flowing through backyards in Exton|
|I probably would have fitted, if my Sat Nav had have sent me down here.|
Since I had parked at the Park & Ride lot, I could hardly not take the bus in to Winchester to see this historic town. A cathedral town, it was once the capital of England & the seat of King Alfred the Great. Lots of nice rambling streets & buildings doing their best to stay upright, it was pleasant strolling around.
|Winchester Cathedral - Jane Austen is buried here|
|This 18ft diameter, 1 ton piece was originally a (round) table & depicts Arthur & his twenty-two knights.|