Monday, 23 March 2015

A Visit to Stokes Bay to see the USS Theodore Roosevelt today

Traffic around the Coast Road today has been manic as everyone wants to view the USS Theodore Roosevelt which is anchored in Stokes Bay on the Solent for the next 5 days.

We were also there to try the area as a new Dog Walking place.

As we arrive at the beach, there she is. Here 5000 troops will be desperate for their 'ferlo' to somewhere in the Uk from the Bars of Portsmouth to all points north. She is too large to get into Portsmouth Harbour so two local Boat companies are being used as a ferry service.

The Bay here has a wide walkway showing some of its wartime history with these old concrete plates.

The ship has all of its Aircraft on deck while in port to allow servicing to take place. Under way, they would all be in the hold. One of the Blue Funnel Steamers used as a ferry is moored at the rear end.

Ahead of us as we walk the coat is Fort Gilkicker, one of the many Palmerston Folly ring of Forts built around Portsmouth Harbour.

Behind the Fort are the Alverstoke Lakes which border the Stokes Bay Golf Club

In the other direction is Ryde on the Isle of Wight in the distance.

Just off shore is another of the Palmerston Forts, this time a Sea Fort, one of three. Spitbank Fort, which has now been converted into a luxury hotel.

At the end of this walkway we meet the Outer Fence of what is now a Prison used to house Illegal Immigrants until they can be deported. Everything from here to Portsmouth Harbour is Ministry of Defence retained property.

The prison fence drops into the deep shoreline. In the background can be seen the Seaside Resort of Southsea.

Another view of Ryde with the distinctive Church Spire on the skyline.

Looking back at Fort Gilkicker and the lake.

The Golf Course borders the Prison and the Beach. A Lone Golfer approaches the Green.

One of the Blue Funnel Boats makes its way back to Portsmouth followed by one of the Wightlink Car Ferries.

The Carriers from the rear as she swings untethered on the tide to change direction 

Walking back along the path which goes behind the fort. The White Sign indicates that it is now owned by the McAlpine company

The Main Entrance.

Looking to the left into the Ramparts

Looking to the right.

There is a plan lurking somewhere to convert these old buildings into a set of luxury apartments.

From Behind the Raised Beach one could imagine that the Aircraft have been moved onto the beachside.

I came across this Commemorative Plaque celebrating the building of one of the D Day Mulberry Harbours just here. 

The local Sailing Club Building was the control centre for the WW2 D. Day Embarkation .

Looking along Stokes Bay towards Lee on the Solent

Another D Day Commemoration Plaques

The sun came out and the bay took on a Mediterranean appearance. 

One of the Many Solent Beach Information Boards to be found along this coastline.

The sun and the Fishermen in silhouette.

The Pebbles Bistro with its Cafe next door. A good place to stop for our coffee next time.

Asbestos Fly Tipping on our Country Lanes

During our wallington Dog Walk last week, having checked my map I decided to try a new and extended route across some fields along the footpaths.

This footpath starts at Sperlings Farma and makes a round trip around Whitedell Farm, or so I thought?

When the Concrete Road runs out then this track forms the route before crossing two styles where it crosses two fields.

I could see that the path turned to climb the hill but I had to scale a five bar gate to get to it.

The path climbs the hill and passes Whitedell Farm before joining Whitedell Lane as planned.

Whitedell Lane turn into the Farm Yard just here.

A typical working farmyard.

It was a misty day looking North towards the Wickham area.

At the top[ of the hill these Steel Monsters continue their way towards Portsmouth. 

Most farms have their rubbish pit.

Whoops! Coming at it the wrong way around, I realise that I should not be there at all so will not be going that way again. Back to the Map for next time!

I pause to look both backward and where I am heading, towards Fareham in the distance.

As I approached the bend in the road, I thought that I was coming upon the aftermath of an accident. Not at all. It was the work of Fly Tippers.

About a half mile of Open Bags filled with old corrugated Asbestos Roofing materials. 

Bags and Bags of  Dangerous Rubbish. I took these shots from the distance of a nearby field where we walked past this mess.

I would be turning right at the next gate but the rubbish was strew on all down the lane.

Another look back up the lane where I had just come from. This was obviously a Shed Roof Replacement Job judging by the Large Sheets of Wood seen here as well.

I popped into Surlings Farm to ask if they knew about it and apparently the Council, who would have to clear it up, had already been informed.

 I intend to re trace part of this route next week. I wonder what surprises that trip will bring?

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

A Short Visit to Wickham

A Short Visit to Wickham 

Wickham is a small village set on the Meon Valley just a few miles north of the town of Fareham. 

Years ago the community there was mainly rural and agricultural but now the village centre has become a popular shopping venue with small shops set around the large square with its pay & display car parking area.

The building here include some smart Georgian ones including The Old House Hotel in the background with its unusual steep sloping roof to the ground floor.

This building containing Lilly's Cafe also carries the villages Diamond Jubilee Clock.

Unlike many such beautiful buildings which become offices, these two appear to still be residential dwellings 

On the opposite side of the square are this line of small shops with one converted into a lovely arcade containing various shops including an antiques centre and another small coffee shop. 

At the far end of the square is the post office and general store completing our tour of the square.

It was a sunny but cold day so our next port of call was to be The Kings Head, for a warm cup of coffee. Like many hostelries in the area it is also Dog Friendly allowing Digby to come in with us. 
Those of you with a keen eye may have spotted the Jack Russell dog looking out from the window over the old Coaching Garage. 

The Kings Head was built in 1767 as a Coaching Inn and today alo has a Skittle Ally and a lovely Children Friendly garden

It was quite busy inside but we managed to find a place in the Library Room where Digby could be out of the way.

Needless to say with so many books to view on offer we spent an interesting time there browsing. 

I am always fascinated by the decor in these old places and could not resist a scan of the wall hangings. It was a great find to discover these pictures with their association with local wartime activities and Sir Winston Churchill. 

Reading this one, signed by Dwight D Eisenhower appears to be a document to be read out to all of the troops waiting to embark on the 'D' Day Landings.

An interesting line up of the top men with  Eisenhower & Montgomery in the middle. 

Sir Winston Churchill himself

' Churchill signs an Agreement for Closer Commonwealth Solidarity at Southwick House on 16th May 1944 ' . Apparently, he was also in favour a some sort of European Alliance after the war???

These two Old Risque' Cartoons may only be 'viewed' from inside the Male Toilets.

I could not resist them for their colours and interest even if the underlying 'joke' of their time is not always clear.

That was our short visit to Wickham. 

The next time we go we must also make time to visit the famous Chesapeake Mill building and Antiques Centre located in Bridge Street. The mill was built using timbres from the captured United States Frigate Chesapeake in 1812.

A couple of weeks later we revisited Wickham again and went straight to Chesapeake Mill.

From the Square the road bends to the right and down the hill to the River Meon where the Mill is located. There are som amny old period buildings here which add to the character of the area.  

This narrow path with its railings protects pedestrians form the traffic.

Looking back up the hill 

And here is the Mill in all of its glory, filled with small shops and cafe

On the opposite side of the road the Mill Stream may be seen re joining the River Meon.

At the side of the mill, the old Mill Stream runs alongside the building.

Further down the road is an old disused railway bridge from the Meon Valley Line which ran from Fareham to Alton. The track base is now a footpath for keen walkers to use.

Looking Upstream where the Meon flows towards us.

The road, looking back zig zags up the hill towards the Village Square

To the right of the Mill is the Cafe.

Opposite is the 1921 Victory Club building.

In the Mill Car Park is this unusual form of  Well, The Dip hole as the plaque below indicates, was used as the village water supply years ago.

Having visted the shops and made a few purchases we head back to the village and another coffee in the Pub,

 Here are a few more of the interesting buildings we pass on our way

That is our visit to Wickham.