STORMY skies and Indian variants did not dissuade the enthusiastic bunch of walkers who joined the first guided walks this year led by trustees of The Watercress Way.

A five-mile circular loop called ‘Martyr and other Worthys’ was led by Kim Adams. It is one of the eight walk challenges which splits up the marathon length trail into bite-sized chunks. Stephen Jeffery ensured no one was abandoned as back stop, easily recognisable in the charity’s new branded high viz jacket.

Thank you to The Chestnut Horse’s hospitality in opening early in the morning for the covid and risk briefing and for a relaxed lunch at the end of the walk.

Walkers discovered:

• the imposing house of a tea plantation owner in Easton;

• an abandoned medieval village and how fulling mills harnessed the Itchen to pound Fuller’s earth into cotton to improve the weave at Abbots Worthy;

• the 100 ft deep cutting chopped out by hand by navvies as young as seven, now called Broadview, in Kings Worthy where once steam trains of the Watercress Line pounded;

• the role of the Reading Room in Kings Worthy for illiterate adults in Victorian times whilst their children went to school.

The light at the end of the underpass tunnel under the M3 was noticed by all of us as we savoured a little bit more freedom and enjoyed the great outdoors that Hampshire offers.

The next walk on the challenge on Sunday June 6 called “Oxen, Kings and Bubbly” starting from Alresford.

Sign up for tickets here