Friday, 20 February 2015

Reliving My Youth While Out Dog Walking Around Fareham in Hampshire

Being a 'War Baby' I was born in January 1944 at the Royal Naval Maternity Home, Rookesbury Park near Wickham, Hampshire. 

My Father was a Submariner based at HMS Dolphin Gosport and was overseas at the time chasing Japanese shipping.

My Mother and I lived with her Mother at Broadcut in the Village of Wallington for the duration, where, as I grew up, I would spend much of my youth returning to the village to fish in and play around the Water Meadows which bordered the River Wallington.

Today there is a Small Retail area where that house was with A Sainsbury's Superstore, A Dreams Beds Store and A Staples Office Supplies Store, which sits right where her home was.

Having recently moved back to the area, on Sainsbury's Day, I take the dog on exploratory walks reliving those days.  

Here is that Story so far.

 The Location of My Grandmother Home At The Front Door of Staples.

Here I am lying on a Blanket near to the Air Raid Shelter outside the house.

The nose of our car in the Sainsbury's Car Park.

For my very first Dog Walk I decided to find an old footpath which ran to the north from the house to the rear of the Water Meadows where we used go to play. Sadly today, not only does the East /West  M27 cut them in half but in the area from Sainsbury's to the Motorway is now an Industrial Park.

However, The Foot path was still there. so off we went.   

 As I leave the Industrial area I pick up what remains of the old footpath (or what may have been realigned).

 Just at the end in the Bright Spot is the Motorway footbridge.

 On the Footbridge looking westwards.

 To the east it heads for Portsmouth and all points toward Brighton.

 Raising the Camera the Westen end of Portsdown Hill comes into view on the horizon.

 On the other side the old footpath carries on between two fields.

 Over the fields the buildings of a local Public School sit in the hollow.

More countryside looking northwards.

When I took this photo it was for the Road Name. Little did I realise that I was also capturing a monument to a WW2 Hawker Hurricane Pilot, Flying Officer James Tillett who lost his life nearby. Apparently, James is actually buried in Anns Hill Cemetery in Gosport.

This part of the River Wallington used to be used as part of a Motorcycle Trails course with the entrance here and the exit further down stream.

This trap has been in an out of the river over the weeks but I have no idea what it is for.

When we were children some 60 years ago, some of the overhanging trees had had their roots exposed by erosion to such and extent that we could climb inside and set up our den.

Further along Spurlings Lane there is the start of a public footpath which crosses this field. However I would have to avoid it this time due to the ponies and the Bog just inside the gate.

The river passes toward the village of Wallington between meadow, homes and the main road.

On my very first walk I discovered the White Horse Inn where many of my relatives used to take a drink. A notice on the door said that well behaved Dogs could go inside so I decided to test the theory and take Digby in there so that I could have a coffee. 

It has now become our 'Regular' spot during Sainsbury's Shopping Day dog walks.

Like many of the countries rivers, it looks innocent enough now but is prone to Flooding .

These cottages back onto the river and below I spotted one of the Flood Defence doors in place.

The same cottage above with more below. At the other end is the old Ford Crossing 

The old Ford slope and the Old Road Bridge to Fareham, now only for pedestrian use.

Another local hostelry on the corner is the Cob and Pen Public House.

Either side of the Foot Bridge the river makes its way towards Portsmouth Harbour via Fareham Creek.

Across the River is where I began my journey that day. Where the White Van is, I used to stand and fish. In those days 65 years ago there was only a Post and Rail fence and as today, when a flood came the area now seen as a car park would flood to half a meter deep.   

By way of some catch up on a later walk. leaving the Sainsbury's Car Park onto the Wickham Road, just over the other side is this old Brickwoods Pub Building, now closed. I don't remember its name though?

I then walked up the footpath between what used to be St Peter & St Pauls Infants and Junior Schools. The Junior School here is now converted into Homes of some configuration. 

 During my Second visit I decided to explore a part of the Town of Fareham. Just up the hill from Sainsbury's is the Church of St Peter & St Pauls.

St Peter & St Paul.

There is another route into the Churchyard 

 I was actually Christened in this church in 1944. Opposite is an arts centre which used to be an infants school where I first joined the education system.

The Infants School now converted into the Ashcroft Arts Centre

I still remember that first day at what was my first ever school and bawling my head off at this very gate as I watched my mother walk down the hill back to Wallington.  

 Now this gate is significant in that it is on the pushchair route from Wallington to the Town Centre. 
From the earliest age of recollection I remember refusing to pass through until I had rattled the Gate Latch below. Today, I just had to do it again for old time sake.  

The route from Church to Town past these lovely old Flint Houses used to be a straight footpath called Church Path, would you believe. Now there is an obstruction causing the route to jink about a bit.

 Now you need a Sign Post to point the way.

Oh! there it is, Where did that one come from? The Heads of Local Government reside here now.  

Around to the Left of the Town Hall I find the re aligned footpath. Not too confusing

My walk took me through the centre called West Street. Converted to a Pedestrianised Area 

 Making my way back to the Car Park I walked up High Street, the oldest and most attractive part of town with its Georgian Facades

 Now mostly offices and the occasional restaurant the second house  on the left used to be a Girls Public School called Wycombe House. It must have closed some years ago.

 The White House at the Top of the Photo was a Boy's Public Prep School called Lysses. This has also closed.

The Arched Windowed Building on the Right used to be an annex to the Wycombe House Girls School.

A week later and I repeated my walk into the countryside again 

 This time as I passed along Spurlings lane I noticed how well the road edges have been repaired.

 The Ponies were still in the field so I continued to walk along the road once more.

 This time I discovered another small meadow above and below where I could give Digby some freedom to roam untethered.

 Being a Tuesday this time the White Horse Inn was closed so, taking a round about route I approached the Cob and Pen for my coffee today.

 From the Footbridge I watched the antic of the Ducks and Seagulls being fed by a young boy with his father.

 Digby fancied chasing the local cat but a few Hisses put the idea from his head.  

 These two were trying to get ahead of all of the rest.

The following week there had been a few very stormy days. When I arrived at the bottom of Pook Lane, the road was flooded so I had to return to Wallington via the outward route.

 I climbed the embankment to get a better shot of the floods showing that the river had burst its banks covering the adjacent fields. I heard later on the local news that a lady had to be rescued from her car at this very spot.

 The Flood stretched across the fields in both directions.

 From here on down the flow was very fast indicating that it was a downstream flow rather than being caused by a High Tide backing up the river.
This photo by comparison with an earlier one indicated a depth increase of over 1 meter.  

 The Village defence walls were not breached so I was able to obtain my coffee today as usual.

The following week I decided to change my route and visit the town and the upper reaches and old part of Fareham Creek where it meets the River Wallington 

This old photo taken from the wall of the White Horse Inn, Wallington, shows Fareham Creek taken from the Old Town Quay

 I would choose a day when the tide was out revealing the Silt Mud that lies on the bed.

This view is looking back towards the Town and the sea revealing some recent Property Development in an area once the home to a terrace of old cottages. It probably looks wonderful when the tide is in 

 The other direction brings into view the area known as Cams after the nearby Hall, which in itself has quite an interesting history with an association with Lady Hamilton, said mistress of Admiral Nelson.

 Local folklore, when I was young, reconned that Lord Nelson would be rowed up Fareham Creek in a Whaler to 'visit her' when she stayed there.

Among the Trees on the corner opposite is the Delme Arms Pub named after one of the past owners of Cams Hall.

When I was about 15 and doing my own Paper Round in this area I met two young ladies who Stabled their Ponies behind Cams Hall. 

For the next year or so I blew all of my weekly earnings on a two hour riding lesson which began with me mounting the horse from the 5 bar entrance gate (It was a big Pony). 

We would then have to cross over this busy main road as we set off for our two hours through the lanes and hills around Wallington. Most enjoyable on a Sunday Morning.

 How times have changed. The Old Creek has now become a Lake?

 Even the Lug and Rag Worms have a Safe Haven here, it seems.

 Passing along the road under the Portsmouth/Southampton Railway Viaduct one can just see Cams Hall in the distance. 

For many years the Hall Building was derelict, but now I believe that it has been refurbished and is the centre of a Golf Club 

 Fareham Town is back in this direction .

An Egret fishing just below me in the Backwater from the river outlet.

Between 1620 and 1920 there was always a Tide Mill straddling the River Wallington's egress into the Creek, as this photo from the White Horse Inn in Wallington shows.

 Today there is a Replica in almost the same spot which is a popular restaurant atthe entrance to Cams Halls Drive.

During my next visit to town I took a diversion along Hartlands Road to the Creek where I found myself in the wrong place having to cross the dual carriageway and then duck under the iron railing put there to prevent the likes of me doing such a thing.

Once across the Gosport Road I took this shot of the Old Lower Quay where the Flour Mill building still stands to the right of the shot. I need to take a walk there to see how that area has changed,

Just in front of there there used to be an old Large Tin Building where the local lads used to climb onto the roof and then jump into the creek. It had to be High Tide or a rocky muddy bed would meet you on the way down.

On the other Town Quay is this large crane used to unload the coasters which moor their. Years ago it used to be run by Fred Dyke and was 50% for Coal and the rest was for Ballast dredged from the Solent. The old Crane in those days used to run on its own Rail Track.

I cant remember when the White House was last inhabited but it is now used for offices by current owners Lafarge Tarmac

Just around the corner is the last of a row of these old Sheds which used to be used for Boat Building specialising in beautiful Clinker Built Wooden Hulls. It was lovely being able to wat the shipwrights working and to smell the wood as we went by. 

Opposite is The Upper Quay Marina, a new development since we last lived here.

Looking back to where the rest of the Boat Building Sheds once stood is now a group of Infill Flats, A Feature to be found all over Fareham with Back Land Development 'GONE MAD'! 

The Councillors and Planners have failed abysmally to protect the Character of the Town as it used to be, which is very very sad.

At least Bath Lane Recreation Ground is one place they have not managed to ruin yet. It is much as it was in my youth, minus the small stadium used by the Town Football Club, Now moved to a new park near Redlands Lane.

More shots across the Marina and Looking Down the Creek.

Looking across the water towards the shore near Golf Course at Cams Hall. There used to be a grassy promontory along there somewhere which our family used for the occasional Picnic. Remembering how filthy the Creek always was, I cannot believe that I learned to swim over there.

It was nice to see that Swans have adopted the waters these days.

The Old Harbour at Bath Lane has been developed with these few boats moored there now. With the Gas Works and Gasometer once located nearby, I can't remember if this area was once used to supply its Coal in the old days? 

This is a new Diamond Jubilee Memorial Rock has an unfortunate Dirt Trap spoiling the effect and trapping water which will damage the plaque over time.  

To get back into town now I had to pass under the By Pass through a tunnel decorated in designes submitted by the Local School - A type of Planned Graffiti. At the opposite end there is now a small car park with this very useful map of the Town Centre.

At the top of Bath Road is this beautiful Cedar Tree which seems to have been there forever. Under it once stood the Cedar Garage which in itself was a piece of the local Architectural heritage, now lost to more Flats

Turning westward again towards West Street there is the Red Lion Hotel which from the outside does not appear to have changed at all in 40 years. I noticed that what was the then New Venue of the Stable Bar at the rear is now just a function room.

On the opposite side of the Road is Soothills Bakery which we used to know as The Corner House Bakery. To this day it appears to have retained its popularity and reputation for lovely Cakes and Buns as well as excellent bread.

Union Street is a Tiny Back Water road leading to The High Street. Back in the 1970's an old colleague started a small Clothing Factory in one of these buildings. I think it was in the one with the Red Tiled Bay further up the street.  

On my most recent walk I went back to the Riverside from Pook Lane and Spurlings Lane. This time the ponies had been removed from the meadow and I was able to follow the footpath diagonally towards the river.

As one might expect after so many years, the banks are overgrown now 

Here the old Tree Roots are almost impossible to see under the brambles and old branches.

A week or so ago this whole area was under deep and fast flowing water.

Looking back across the field the gate that I have passed through is just visible.

I remember this weir very well when it was first introduced. I have climbed up that slope many times years ago. In fact it used to be a good place to catch tiny elvers (eels) as they wriggled their way up river.  

Down Stream the bank is still just as inaccessible, probably through lack of use by both people and animals.

Looking down onto the weir slope, along these edges is where the elvers could be seen and possibly caught. 

Judging by the foaming, the river a still has some pace left in it from the recent rainstorms.

Evidence downstream that there has been some cattle movements across the ford here in recent times. 

This is how I remember the river bank being all along the edges with massive hollowed out Tree Roots where Children could get right inside and build a den. 

More Gravel Banks, Pools and Fast Eddies where Roach could be seen and fished for.

An then we meet the M27 once more where is carves its Scar across the top of the town. From a quiet back water to now constant traffic din, my childhood memories seem but a distant dream.   

At least the Tunnel has a built in Footpath to take us to the other side where we meet and have to cross another fast road exiting the Wallington Industrial Estate

The one remaining part of those Old Water Meadows, boxed in by the River and the Industrial Estate is favoured by Local Dog Walkers so we take advantage to give Digby a free run around.

I found this footpath following the opposite side of the river. It looks as though it has recently been refurbished which is good.

Lastly, we arrive at the Footbridge to take us across to the White Horse Inn for my Morning Coffee.

While sipping my coffee I remembered noticing this interesting beer from The Dartmoor Brewery - 'Jail Ale'.

Coffee and Beer don't really go together but, hey, I could not resist. It proved to be a marvelous pint and I am sure that if Ann is driving, next time, the Coffee may have to go for some more of this wonderful Solent Life.

The following week being the last in February 2015, I decided to go and explore what is know locally as the Lower Quay area. Sadly, the tide is out again exposing the sea of mud and silt.

When I last visited here there were no marinas with boats everywhere. Just a few used to be moored in the centre of the Creek.

Just here is an underpass under the Gosport Road. The artists have been at it deterring the graffiti in the best possible manner

This road used to be the original Gosport Road, now a quiet backwater. This building used to be one of the last Boat Building sheds along the front. A least it is still related to Marine activities opposite.

This always was a popular pub and still appears to be well supported. Sadly no time for a visit today to see if they are also Dog Friendly as many pubs in the area seem to be.  

I had noticed  on an earlier occasion that the old Rising Sun on the Corner of Mill Road, my fathers local, has now gone.

This Mill was still active when I last lived in Fareham. Now another set of apartments but with a good view from the upper floors for some of them. 

This magnificent Georgian Building seems to have improved over the years been very well cared for it seems.

Where the old Red Tin Shed once stood ( our jumping off point) the area is the Marina's cluttered car park.

With a bit of foresight it could have made a lovely leisure site with that outlook across to the Cams Estate?

I remember these cottages when they were run down and uncared for. Now look at them in all of their splendor.

The view towards Bath Lane is really too good to spoil.

The Golfers at Cams Hall are just a Good Drive away 

Another smart survivor of yesteryear, and still looking like the warehouse that it always was.

This must be a Conservation Area as it looks really smart now with all of the homes being well cared for and a nice clean roadway.

Another old warehouse now houses the 2nd Fareham Sea Scouts Headquarters. When I once joined the Cub Pack there they used to he housed in the Hall at the end of Mill Road next to a Car Breakers Yard, the one we used to know as 'The Old Tin Tabernacle' 

I used to visit that Breakers Yard once a week as a schoolboy as I returned from my Saturday 'Granville' styled bicycle delivery round for the local Greengrocer, located on the corner of Beaconsfield Avenue. He was a Steam Modeling Engineer and I would collect any useful pieces of Bras or Copper Tubing for him there.   

Someone will get lucky when they purchase this large Cottage just around the corner. 

One more very Quaint Cottage that judging by the amount of wood and logs stored outside ought to be very warm and cosy inside.

The last of the old converted working buildings here. As the name would indicate, somewhere near to here was a Rope Making business yeas ago.

I remembered this old footpath and now, seeing how long and straight, could this have once been the very Rope Walk referred to in the name. 

I seem to remember that during Rope Making the Twisting process takes place by stretching the plys out and running a trolley along with a winding device. This would need a long straight area.

Peeking between the railings there are more of the old warehouses.

At the other end of the footpath and the quay there it opens out again where more boats are moored.

This small Creekside Park, not looking at its best at low tide, is at the base of the Salterns residentail area which lies to the south of the Gosport Road  

 Walking back to Wallington now here is another view of the Pink Cottage

 As I head across the Bath Lane Rec. again, one last shot down the Creek.

The Pavilion Refurb is well under way, scheduled to be ready soon.

Passing through the Bath Lane underpass this time I remembered to record some of the designs made by local schoolchildren. 

These few are by Harrison Roads Primary School, once my Secondary School in the days of 'Banger Budden, ' Bitter Blow' Smithy, 'Rubber Slippers' Philips, et al. 

My most recent country ramble on 5th March took me back to the Corner of Pook Lane and Ranvilles lane where I noticed for the first time that there is a footpath through the Farmyard of Ranvilles Farm.

 One of the Waymarkers found attached to an old fencepost.

This part of the footpath is good in that it is a narrow concrete roadway put in by the farm for ease of access of their machinery to adjacent fields. 

The path splits into two directions and this is the 'Straight On' one. As today was exploratory I took the right hand one which climbs the hill. 

 From half way up the hill, looking back, I can see more clearly the back of Boundary Oak School at Roach Court.  

Looking to the South over the hedge row we are not that far from Wallington and the Town Hall in the distance.

Somewhere in this shot of the sky is a Skylark singing its head off as it climbs higher and higher before diving to earth and running along the ground to where its hidden nest is to be.

I have not seen or hear a Skylark since I played Golf at Machrihanish on the west coast of Scotland many years ago.

Having reached the top of the path it meets Whitedell Lane. To continue up the hill requires a short walk along that lane to the footpath marking Post to rejoin the path. That is one for another day. I turned and headed back as a Coffee in the White Horse at Wallington was foremost in my mind.   

As I arrived at the back of the Farmhouse I noticed this odd structure with its 'Flaps' open. The upper hexagonal part appears to be able to rotate so I wondered if it is a sort of Hide or even a small Observatory? 

I was just not quick enough with the camera to catch this pony with its legs in the air as it enjoyed rolling about.

It was soon back on four legs and feeding again.

 Back at the James Tillett Memorial Stone I notice that the Crocuses are blooming and the Daffodils will be out very soon.

Heading back to the White Horse, I noticed how the poor old river has lost its charm where the M27 cuts across it and now looks more like an Industrial Drainage Ditch here.

The Footpath under the Motorway with todays usual scars left by the Graffiti Merchants on its walls.

On 12th March I re trod the route through Bath Lane and the Cams area.

At the end of Bath Lane is this new development called Swan Quay. They certainly know how to pack them in.

Trusting that it would not be too muddy I took the creek side footpath along to the viaduct. Being effected by the tide there is one bad part but still passable.

The Path passes behind these newish homes in Dean's Park Road.

This time I made sure that I got a better shot of the Mill Pub & Restaurant. I seem to always choose a day when the Tide is out so I must come back on a High Tide day, but then I may not be able to use this path?

Looking back on both developments from the main road.

THis time I continued a little way along the footpath that skirts the Cams Hall Golf Courses  which allowed me two different perspectives on the Viaduct and the Mill Building below.

Crossing the Old A27 at Cams Hill I remembered doing my daily Paper Rounds along this road, as a lad, before I went to school.

Looking in the other direction I am right under the Flyover of the M27 Link Road into Fareham.

Turning again to the North I am alongside of the Roundabout Hotel set in a short stub of the old Wallington Shore Road.

 This Architects Practise is right next door. Having a son who is an Architect I took this one for him.

Just across the road this bollard lets visitors know that we are about to enter the Village of Wallington. I have never noticed any reduction in Road Speed along here?

However, woe betide anyone who ignores these small signs fixed to the long wall along the roadside. I was a little concerned that the graphics may indicate an expectation that your car will actually float on the top?

Best Wishes

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