Portsdown Hill – best viewpoint over Portsmouth

When you visit a new city, don’t you wish you could see its situation and understand it from the air?  You can do so when travelling to Belfast of course but it is quite rare. In Hampshire, it’s uniquely possible, thanks to the long chalk ridge of Portsdown Hill.  The highest point lies within Fort…

Café culture experienced!

I wrote recently about the sudden influx of cafés arriving on Southsea Beach and I have finally made it to eat at the newest, Southsea Beach Café.  We sat outside with The Hound who was immediately made welcome and offered a bowl of water which of course, he turned down scornfully. He was waiting for…

Café culture finally makes it to Southsea!

It’s like waiting for a bus for ages. First one comes and then another in close succession.  So it is with the former catering wilderness that was, until recently, Southsea Beach in Portsmouth, Hampshire – even The Guardian picked up on the new Southsea buzz a few weekends ago. Taking The Hound for walks along…

Hinton Ampner Bluebell Walk

As the recent and very sad fire damage of Clandon House has shown, the treasures protected for us by the National Trust are not here forever and we should take advantage of them when we can. It was with this in mind that I re-visited Hinton Ampner in Bramdean, Hampshire – one of my very favourite Trust properties…

Quintessentially English – it’s Bluebell time!

Nothing shouts Englishness as much as a bluebell does – a sentiment outlined in today’s Daily Telegraph. They are early, they are bright as a button and it is said that half of the world’s population of bluebells are based right here on our soil. So where can we spot them? Probably in your nearest…

Picture alert! Spring is here!

Every year I am taken by surprise by the early Spring arrival of banks of vibrant yellow flowers – the blooming of the rape seed flowers offering banks of yellow contrasting so beautifully with the bright green of neighbouring fields. So if like me, you feel these vast swathes of yellow enhance our country landscapes,…

Country Pub Series: The Bird in Hand, Lovedean

I first wrote about my local – The Bird in Hand – a while ago now but am reprising the post as it has just enjoyed a rather viscious battering from food critic, Tom Parker Bowles in Event Magazine – Mail on Sunday.  I admit, I don’t really go out to Sunday lunch but on every…

Pawprint Series: An Autumn Walk

West Walk, Forest of Bere My favourite time of year is when summer turns to Autumn and you see a final burst of activity in the forests and woods around Hampshire, where leaves turn golden in the intermittent spotlights of sunlight, streaming through the trees and undergrowth. Park Wood, Forest of Bere As you walk…

Take three castles …

Over the last 12 months, I have had the good fortune to visit three castles – all with The Hound in tow – and they couldn’t have been more different. Take Southsea Castle, where in my mind’s eye, I can visualise a stressed and desolate King Henry VIII, standing proudly whilst watching his tried and tested flagship,…

Pawprint Series: Park Wood

It might come as no particular surprise to discover that Park Wood on the old London Road in Waterlooville was once part of the ancient Forest of Bere that covered most of southern England. Nurtured today by a group of friendly and committed volunteers under the overall purview of The Woodlands Trust, Park Wood is a small…