Dawn to Dusk Day a real success – for the 4th year running!

Dawn to Dusk - Sutton Scotney Walk April 2019 Chris Under The Bridge

The Watercress Way charity held its fourth Dawn to Dusk Day on Sunday 28th April 2019.

Dawn Chorus Walk 4.30 am at Couch Green

Over 20 Dawn Chorus walkers met in the darkness to experience a few minutes of silence in the darkness, before a robin heralded the start of the Dawn Chorus on the track at Itchen Abbas.

A gentle stroll led us along the railway line and then down the Lime Avenue to the river.

Many species were heard as the day began – blackbirds, blackcaps and wrens prominent amongst them.

Trustee Clive Cook  was joined by Phil Jeffs to enable walkers to identify the different birdsongs.

By sunrise we were alongside the river, identifying sedge and reed warblers, and when we went back to refreshments at the Couch Green car park, we had seen or heard a record 36 bird species – including the Avington peacock, and a tawny owl in the darkness before the dawn!

Great tit, Blue tit, Blackbird, Wren, Robin, Canada goose, Jackdaw, Blackcap, Chiff Chaff,  Nuthatch, Song Thrush, Pheasant, Mute swan, Chaffinch, Reed warbler, Mistle thrush,  Rook, Heron, Little egret, Jay, Yellowhammer, Sedge warbler, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great spotted woodpecker, Mallard, Moorhen, Carrion crow, Magpie, Greenfinch, Tawny owl, Green woodpecker, Seagull (of some sort….), Wood pigeon, Stock dove, Peacock (!)

Cycle Ride of The Watercress Way

Tempted by a great ride – and coffee and cake at The Cricketers in Alresford a team of twelve mountain bikers set off from Sutton Scotney to cover the 26+ miles around The Watercress Way bike route.

Trustee Tony Langridge led this slightly different route, which stays on roads and bridleways, and passes by a number of pubs.

The cake at The Cricketers in Alresford was so good, by the time the photo was taken, the cake had all gone!

The ‘Ultra Runners’ repeated their marathon too, stopping at some of the sponsoring cafes and pubs around the route whilst raising money for Parkinsons UK.

Geocaching at Worthy Down Halt

Children could try their hand at Junior Geocaching at Worthy Down Halt.

Devised by Trustee Kim Adams, clues encouraged youngsters to find hidden items whilst learning about the area.

Adults were relieved to be provided with the answer sheet!

Sutton Scotney Heritage and Ecology Walk

The sun turned out for the afternoon’s History and Ecology walk from the Gratton recreation ground in Sutton Scotney at the more civilised time of 3pm.

We were delighted to see some of the Dawn Chorus Walkers again.

Led by Trustee Jim Thompson and Chris Cornell, we visited scenes from the history of the railway as well as exploring the ecology of the area.

The crowd of about thirty – with ages ranging from 2 and a half to quite a lot older! – visited the newly cleared railway arch in Wonston Road, saw the crop markings of the old railway line, and followed the Dever to find watercress.

Stopping at The Wonston Arms for a welcome drink in the sunshine, the group took the delightful footpath back to Egypt- that’s the Egypt in Sutton Scotney!

Jackie Porter, Chairman said “Many of us had walked over 17km on the day, and others had ridden or run a lot further!

Our Dawn to Dusk Days raise the profile of the charity and offer a wide range of activities to learn something new, enjoy the countryside and heritage around us and to be active.

I’d like to thank fellow Trustee Mike Collis who co-ordinated bookings and information as well as helping with marshalling.”

Readers can sign up for quarterly news of more events on www.thewatercressway.org.uk  – just scroll down to become a “Friend of the Line’- it’s completely free!

Regular updates are also available on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and the Charity has a few gaps for trustees if you are interested in volunteering with this busy charity.

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Free events for all to enjoy and learn more about the Watercress Way, the marathon length circular trail N.E. of Winchester, following old railway lines and historic ancient droves.