Walk: 34 Rockbourne

Date: 29-Oct-11

Weather: Fine, some cloud, not too cold

Attendees: Wifey, fiends

Flora and Fauna: Lots of Neds, Sheeps, Squiggles, Buzzard, lots of big ferns on the banks of Whitsbury fort

The roads around Salisbury were empty so we got there earlier than I expected. Parked up in the Village Hall in Rockbourne and de-bused.

Crossing the road brings you into someone's driveway. Big house but feels odd. Path round the back to the church.

Lovely old cottages in front of the church which rises up behind. Path to the southeast passes to the south of the graveyard and the views are fairly obscured to the south due to a high wall and hedges. Lots of pheasants in the fields to the north.

After about half a mile we turn northeast on a gently rising track that finally allows us to look at the views into the valley. Peasants running every which way in the fields as we walk past them. Must be another shoot on.

Path then drops to a crosroad of tracks and we continue northeast. Field of sheep now. Black one in work mode. To the left clearly marked shooting stands, must be a shoot on.

Another rise and we enter stud country.

Here we stopped and had a chat to an 80-year old Yorkshireman who used to farm in these parts. Walks the paths we're taking every day after he had his hip replacement. Keeps him fit and out of the house. Nice chap, for a Yorkshireman ;-)

Round the back of a small modern housing estate and we're in Whitsbury. Turn right into the road and pass the Cartwheel Inn (closed, we're way too early, sigh). Then turn left up a little rise and into a paddock of the Whitsbury Stud. Fromhere on in we cross paddocks,m gallops and paths through the stud. Girls on leads.

We cross the first paddock walking uphill to St Leonard's Church. Taking a moment to sit on the bench in the graveyard looking back down the path into the valley. Could sit forever.

We now walk all the way clockwise round the church and enter a track going left out of the back gate and into the stud. Lots of yearlings in the paddocks here gallumping around, happy to be alive. A group of six came over and said hello. Not phased by the fiends at all, and black dog was silent!

Onto the drive out of the stud to the left, right at the road then left back through the stud. Interesting sign leaving the drive - visiting mares this way - well it is a stud.

Couple of horses being taken out caused the black one to bark - I reckon it the clip clop noise that triggers it.

Along a beech lined gallop passing stables playing the Smurf's song to the neds and some mares waiting to be serviced.

All downhill from here, through a few sets of gates, across a field of sheep, black one didn't even notice. Buzzard soaring across the field. Round a farm with lots of very ecclesiastical looking buildings back to the church, through the driveway again and back to the car.

Second AA walk done.