Looking at the Countryside Surprise Winter Walk Tuesday 16 January – Leader Jill Green

13 people met at Winford.  The start time was made to fit in with the hourly bus and some members did use this service.  The weather forecast was bad, we had lots of really heavy rain recently so all expected proper mud.

The group walked up towards Sandown Airport but turned onto a permissive path into the top of Borthwood.  We stopped to view the wonderful old oak trees and looked at some oaks that had been coppiced many years ago.  We left the wood and walked past the hill of Queens Bower.  Interesting discussions took place about the history of this small hill and how it got it’s name.

On down the muddy bridleway to the site of the 2005 Alverstone dig where the leader produced 4 large photos and told people a bit about the dig.  The site is very interesting and very complicated, an Iron Age crossing was found built by craftsmen, a Roman one on top, followed by a Saxon one.  A medieval  mill was also found and over 1000 items have been removed.  Jill passed round the cutting from the IW County Press 26/08/05.  Mr Paul Newton, the owner of the land was having a conservation lake made but all work was stopped for 4 months. Colin Pope told us the sweet chestnut that was found and carbon dated showed it came from the period just after the Romans left.

Then we went into Alverstone and heard how the Village Hall was saved for the local people.  On to the old railway, across a bridge to another permissive path, which is a wonderful new path through the marsh and willow carr on land owned by Wight Nature Fund, over to Hill Farm, along to Hill Top Lane and so back to Apse Heath.  The rain held off until the last 20minutes.

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