Walk completed August 16, 2014

Saturday, July 5, 2014

July 5, 2014 -- Day 20, Winchester to Warnford

The Rivers Test and Itchen are now behind me, and I’ll be abandoning river walks for a few days while I follow the South Downs Way to Eastbourne. I started today’s walk much earlier than usual because I couldn’t bring myself to pay £15 for a buffet breakfast. My map told me that there was a pub about halfway to my destination, so I decided on an early start without breakfast and a pub lunch.

The route I chose would have me walk almost a mile on the A31, a dual carriageway east of Winchester. Early on a Saturday morning, there was only a little traffic, but with no verge on either side, I had to walk in the median. The grass was about a foot high, and with last night’s rain, my boots were soaked in minutes. After about a half mile, I concluded this plan wasn’t very good, so detoured onto a private farm lane that intersected the A31. The farm lane was about ½ kilometer from the road I wanted, but it proceeded generally the direction I wanted to go, so I continued on it. The lane continued through a couple of gates, and into a large pasture with about 50 cattle grazing on a hillside about 50 meters east of the lane. All went well until I was completely passed the cattle, and then one bullock took a liking to me. He slowly came down the hill to investigate further, but then in order to catch up to me, he broke into a run. That attracted all the other cattle, who also broke into a run towards me. The bullock stopped about 10 yards from me with a puzzled look on his face. I flailed my arms at him, and he leapt up the hillside for about 10 yards. Then he stopped again.

When I continued on, he again ran after me, inducing the other 50 cattle to join in the fun. Again, he stopped about 10 yards from me, and a wave of my hiking sticks, caused him to retreat. Each time I walked on, he raced to catch up, stopping about 10 yards away, now surrounded by all of his buddies.

Andy, the farmhand at Inkpen, had told me that when cattle see a human walking, they assume that they are going to be led to another pasture, and, being curious, follow along hoping for greener grass. These cattle seemed to get more excited the closer I got to the gate for the next pasture, and as I came upon the gate, they all rushed towards me. I went through the gate and closed it in their faces. They looked disappointed. I’m glad the gate wasn’t locked.

The farm lane finally joined with the South Downs Way at a point called Cheesefoot Head, noted as the location where General Eisenhower spoke with American Troops before the D-Day invasion.

The South Downs Way is generally a bridleway, which means that the trail is typically 6 to 8 feet wide, well signed, and without stiles. Large gates allow for easy passage between fields. It is an ancient trail, following droveways and old paths along a chalk escarpment dividing the Hampshire and Sussex forests and the south coast of England.

At the first place to sit, I removed my boots and wringed out my wet socks. While I was seated, two riders came by on their ponies. They rode only slightly faster than I walked, and when I arrived at the half-way pub for lunch, they were there also.

Nadine on Kash

Helen on Minstrel

After lunch, I continued on, as did the riders, and I followed them all the way to Warnford, as they gradually increased their lead on me.


River Meon at Warnford

I met nobody else on the trail all day – surprising for a Saturday; the weather continued to threaten rain, but there was none all day.

© 2014 Ken Klug


  1. Wow, now even the cows are attracted to you! Sure can take some beautiful pictures, love all the green and colorful flowers.
    Hope it does not rain too much on your parade!

  2. Excellent photos, I am enjoying your entire trek. Bronwen