Sunday, 15 January 2017

Three Commons Walk

Iping Common
I have decided that INSET days are lucky as we seem to get very good weather and opportunities for walks that don't seem to exist at far too short weekends.  Autumn had sadly rather passed us by so it was a stroke of luck that we had a beautiful frosty day on our spare day.  With daylight hours short and a daughter that was a bit more reluctant to go far in the cold weather I chose for us walk number 3 in Pathfinder Guide number 52 More Sussex Walks.  This was one that we had last done when she was small enough to go in the backpack more than 10 years ago!  At 4 miles it is a pretty easy stroll but crucially it also misses the worst muddy conditions as the sandstone heaths over which most of the path passes is thankfully dry in the winter.
Flowering Gorse

We parked in the small car park on Iping Common.  We were by no means the only people there - the car park was unusually full for a weekday and we were soon greeted by the first of many dog walkers as we left the car.  Iping Common is a delight.  Open and airy and studded with mostly the odd birch tree and even small clumps in some places.  Few places look their best in the winter but I'll wager that Iping Common is one of them.  The low golden sunlight picks out the silvery bark of the birch trees and the dead grass very well giving the whole location a warmness that is missing from so many landscapes at this time of year.

Frosty Detail
Inevitably the gorse was already out in flower.  No matter how early I think it comes out into flower it always confounds me by being even earlier.  The only thing I can say with confidence is that it doesn't flower during June.  I think I have seen flowers on a gorse bush pretty much every other month of the year!  The odd splash of yellow did enhance the landscape even more.  As for other life - mostly this was in the form of small birds.  We managed to see a few of them, including chaffinches, sparrows and great tits.  I think this is supposed to be a good place to see more unusual species but sadly we didn't see any.

Vintage MG
Unlike my last visit here on the Serpent Trail this time I managed not to take a wrong turn and we headed across the Common pausing to take a look back when we got to the far end.  Over the brow of the small hill the path took a route down the shady side of a small wood and the frost had not even started to melt here.  That left some wonderful frosty shapes on the leaf litter and the grass - these are such a joy!

Eventually we found our way down to the lane where I seemed to walk forever on the Serpent Trail.  Happily we took a right rather than a left and headed away from the lane almost immediately.  It didn't go down too well with my daughter though as we had to climb a small hill.  So small in fact as to be inconsequential!  This passed by the back of the pub where we had lunch one summer day back in 2005 when we last passed by.  Sadly the pub is gone now and serves only as a private residence.

Approaching Stedham
We crossed the main road and walked down a tree lined lane for a short distance.  As we reached a small row of houses we turned right again (eventually when we found the sign) and headed along some field edges and screening woodland.  This was a most attractive section of the walk with some fine views northwards across the Weald towards the Greensand ridge a few miles away.

Daughter Racing Ahead
Below us the River Rother followed us in parallel and we were soon heading down towards its level.  The river was clearly a bit warmer than the surrounding air as it was generating a small amount of localised mist.  At the bottom of the valley we came upon the small village of Iping.  This is a very agreeable little place centred mostly around a mill on the River Rother it seemed.  Our acquaintance with the village didn't last long.  Once across the road we climbed up above the River once again and it was gone almost in the blink of an eye.  The river meandered away from us for a bit and we continued through another frosty hollow of trees until it came back to meet us about half a mile further on.

Former Pub, Stedham Village
At the next road we came upon the village of Stedham and this one was marked by an arched bridge across the river of some antiquity.  Alas our oath didn't take us that way but into the village itself.  With daughter I don't expect to have any nosy deviations from the walking route for fear of getting a moody backlash :)  Stedham is impossibly pretty and even daughter was smitten with the place as we wandered through.  Our eyes were particularly drawn to a phone box that has been converted by the locals as an information kiosk.

Information Kiosk
Just before leaving the village we hooked a right turn and walked down towards the pub on the edge of the village.  We had thought about using this as a lunch stop but were glad we hadn't banked on it as was shut this Monday lunchtime.  Luckily daughter had a change of heart earlier in the day and we had some lunch procured from a Worthing bakery waiting for us in the car when we got back.  By now daughter was looking forward to this and she was most surprised when we crossed the main road and walked across a short stretch of heathland to find the car once again.  I think the length of the walk rather surprised her - it was rather shorter than she thought it would be!

Friday, 6 January 2017

Compton and Loseley Park

Compton Church
Autumn had arrived and despite the continuing good weather it was quite clear that days were getting colder and the dew more pronounced.  Hence on this walk despite the wonderful conditions we ended up with very wet feet!  My daughter had a rather random inset day in the middle of the week and with most of her friends away doing something else she decided that she wanted to make the most of a wonderful autumn day and have some fresh air with me.  She picked out this walk as an introduction to the North Downs for we have some intentions of doing this as a family walk next year.  It is walk 14 from the Pathfinder guide number 65 Surrey Walks.

Watts Gallery
We parked up by Watts Cemetery just outside the village of Compton.  I have been through here many times and always think how attractive it is.  It also reminds me of the famous footballer/ cricketer from days gone by.  The idea of any sportsman excelling in two sports simultaneously these days is unthinkable.  The start of our walk was alongside a road, which wasn't the best introduction especially as it was so busy on this Wednesday morning.
Sunken Path
It was a relief when we got to the Watts Gallery, home of 500 pieces of work of the famous painter and sculptor G F Watts.  I wasn't sure it was open as we passed by but made a metal note of perhaps visiting some time in future for a closer look.  We joined the North Downs Way at this point and would follow the path almost all the way to Guildford.  The path ran steadily uphill for quite a while but not so much as to be noticeable to daughter (she seems allergic to hills at the moment).  The path was very pleasant, passing along field boundaries, through sunken sections and across stretches of woodland, now showing advanced stages of autumn.  The sunken section of the path hinted that this was an ancient thoroughfare, perhaps between the village of Compton and Guildford.
North Downs Ridge

Along the way I had the best chat with my daughter as we admired the surrounding countryside.  Walking really stimulates good conversation I always think.  This walk sparked conversations about history mostly - surrounding us were relics from pre-history in the shape of tumuli and from World War II in the shape of pillboxes.  Daughter seems to be particularly enjoying history at school at the moment so relating what she learns there to the landscape around really sparked her imagination.  On the way along this section of this path we passed a large group of ramblers.  I was thankful they were going the opposite way to us.
Former Guards Van

Eventually at the top of East Warren we reached the summit of the walk and it was downhill into the Wey Valley.  This is a section of the North Downs Way that I remember from my outing in 2004.  Back then I was faced with a field of sheep mostly gathered around hay dispensers.  There were none now and the field looked like it had been grazed for a while so lush was the grass.  We looped around the field and I looked out for an old railway guard's van that I had spotted last time.  I was pleased to see it was still there although noticed that it had disappeared further into the vegetation.  Eventually I suspect that nature will reclaim it completely.
Weald View

Just before we reached the main road that leads into Guildford we took a sharp right and headed up a steep hill that took us around the perimeter of the Surrey Police College of Brabhoeuf Manor.  This looked like a very well appointed place for would-be police officers and had a magnificent setting overlooking the Weald.  The path stuck rigidly to the perimeter fence as we went up and over the ridge on which it sits.  Eventually when we got to the bottom of the hill we reached the corner of the fence and went our separate ways.  For us we turned right again and headed back towards Compton.

Considering that we were only about half a mile from the path on the other side of the ridge the character of the path could not have been more different.  We passed by the hamlet of Littleton and then crossed into Loseley Park.  The house at the centre of the park, which we could see from a distance, seems to have been made up from other treasures taken from earlier buildings.  Much of the stone came from Waverley Priory while some of the internal panelling came from Nonsuch Palace, places I have visited on other earlier walks.  The house looks like a treasure to be visited next year with our newly acquired membership of the Historic Houses Association.

We passed by the fishing lake at the bottom of the estate and round the perimeter until we reached the former main drive.  This was a magnificent avenue of trees, now starting to shed leaves and conkers and the path was becoming littered with autumn debris.  The scene was rudely interrupted by the group of ramblers that we had encountered earlier.  It looked very much like they were doing the same walk as us albeit in the opposite direction.
Loseley Hall

At Polsted Manor we changed direction, heading along the metalled Polsted Lane into the village of Compton.  We had intentions of a pub lunch in Compton at the Harrow pub but when we arrived it wasn't open.  It seems to be a Thai restaurant these days so not sure we would have gone for that in any event.  The last stretch of the walk though Compton village was along the main road, which wasn't the nicest way to end any walk but we did at least get a good look at the church and even crossed the road so we could get a good look inside.  A most attractive church it was too, especially decked out with autumnal flowers and ready for any harvest festival service that might be held.

Compton Village
This was not an especially challenging walk but was full of wonderful views through the best sort of countryside Surrey has to offer.  Although bounded on all sides by some very busy roads they did not impinge on the enjoyment of the walk at all.  Moreover it gave me a good opportunity to enjoy my daughter's company - a rare thing in these otherwise busy times.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Snowdogs by the Sea


At last we had a local Wild in Art Trail!  As you know we have become big fans of these trails and until now we have had to journey away from our home county in order to find one.  To be fair it was probably only a matter of time until one came to Brighton and when it came it was the theme of Snowdogs.  I'm not entirely sure why this was the theme chosen but it may have had something to do with local author Raymond Briggs and his famous creation 'The Snowman', which is still shown every year on television at Christmas.

Beach Huts

As with the zebras it was only myself and youngest daughter for this trail and we started out at Hove Lagoon for the first snowdog.  We didn't start too well actually for we found this one quite tricky.  It was called Boomer and eventually found it inside the café.  The dog was dressed up like a cassette recorder (remember them?) as a tribute to his sponsor Norman Cook aka Fat Boy Slim.  This DJ is now popularly associated with Brighton and is a massive supporter of the local football team.  He also happens to own this café so perhaps it wasn't any great surprise that we should find Boomer there.

Hove Promenade

Our route then ran along the seafront towards Brighton City Centre.  It was quite obvious that we weren't going to manage to see all of the Snowdogs on foot on this first day.  The shortest route between them was apparently more than 10 miles and we only had a limited time available.  I therefore devised a route that would find the most that we could with a view to coming back the following week to find the remaining ones in the car.  Thus we skipped number 2 and headed for number 3, the rather lovely fuzzy Snowbrador by Medina Terrace.  It was at this point that we realised that it wasn't going to be easy to get pictures with each one of the dogs for there seemed to be dozens of other people on the hunt too.  Perhaps it was because we walked the trail while they were still pretty new and the weather was still very warm.
Palmeira Square
Number 5 was next (there were 45 in total) and this was in Palmeira Square.  We discovered that we would have to quicken our pace between the dogs for we seemed to be caught in with a bunch of people that wanted to linger at every dog and clearly that was going to slow us up considerably.  This one was called Dave the Dog and had a motoring theme - this was probably about the sponsor rather than its location for I expected it to have a floral theme to fit in with the floral clock, which is housed in the middle of the square.  After our quick detour inland it was back to the seafront to see Pebbles back on the promenade.  This was a much more appropriate theme for it fitted in with the nature of the beach, which is famously made of shingle (much to my disappointment as a child).


As we continued towards central Brighton we passed the bandstand, still looking resplendent after its makeover a few years back (in fact I couldn't be sure whether it might have had another one since then?).  Flower was stationed outside (number 7) and number 8 was by the i360 a little further on.  Long time readers of my blog may remember me mentioning this installation being planned when I came last time a few years ago.  Well, now it is completed and despite the teething troubles since its summer opening, it is becoming established as a popular tourist attraction.  The original intention was that it would help pay for a replacement West Pier, but looking at the state of the old thing I cannot imagine it ever being rebuilt now.  My daughter and I looked longingly at having a go on the i360 but the queues were enormous so we continued on our way.  Bobby, the police dog (number 8) was keeping guard on the masses.

A little way past the i360 and we headed inland through the modern shopping centre of Churchill Square where we found one inside and one outside.  Getting pictures of both was quite difficult although the one outside was due to a very chatty cleaner who seemed to be acting as a personal groom to the little fella.  She explained that she needed to keep him spruced up as he was very popular.  He was called Blot the Dog.  The one inside recalled the Mod era of Brighton, which a nod to the film Quadrophenia, which was filmed here and recorded the struggles between the mods and rockers who fought on the beaches during the 1960s.

We had a bit of a walk to the next ones which were situated at Brighton Station. Smart Vibes was outside and was the first we had seen for a while that did not have a crowd with it.  We grabbed a piccie and headed inside to find Newshound.  This one was plastered with some of the more comedy headlines that have been featured in local newspaper The Argus over the past few years.  We amused ourselves for a few minutes reading them before moving on.

We headed next down to The Level to see Gizmo (number 41).  This was quite lonely in the middle of the park and we had all the time in the world to spend with him.  What struck me about The Level though is how much more of an attraction it now is.  A café and play area have been installed in recent years and the whole place was alive with visitors.  The last time I came to this part of Brighton I remember it being quite drab and a bit unloved.
Brighton Pavilion
St Peter's Church was next and Dudley (no.40) outside.  This unfortunate dog was the first to hit the headlines when it was graffitied within days of its installation.  It had been repaired when we visited but the underlying damage could still be seen.  The offender was named and shamed in the Argus and he claimed that he thought that he was contributing to the artwork.  Honestly!

Horatio - The Bathing Beauty

We wound our way back through the vibrant North Laines area.  This was always my favourite part of the city in which to shop as it has all manner of eclectic shops selling stuff you wouldn't find anywhere else.  If anything these shops have become ever more cosmopolitan although sadly I note that the prices have skyrocketed too.  We were on a mission this time though - no time for browsing inside or even window shopping.  We found Frank (no.32) and had to wait our turn once again before pushing on to Snowman's Nightmare (21) at the other end of the shopping area.

Pier Clock
A cluster of Snowdogs were to be found around the Dome and the Royal Pavilion and these were hunted down next.  I love the Pavilion - it is perhaps the most preposterous building in the UK and was built as a royal palace for George IV when he was Prince Regent.  He loved Brighton and made this his home during his short reign in the 1820s.  The Pavilion is styled as an Indian Palace and looks rather ridiculous even by today's standards, let alone what it must have looked like when first built.  Its life as a royal palace didn't last too long - Queen Victoria couldn't wait to get rid of it and the building is now owned by the city council.

Next stop was the Lanes.  This famous part of Brighton boasts extremely narrow streets and some high end shops.  We checked off the dogs that we lurking in the Lanes although this took quite a long time as again we dealt with a plethora of young children draping themselves all over the bases longing for their pictures to be taken.  I cannot really think of another trail that has captured the imagination of so many people.  My daughter and I had already concluded though that we preferred the zebras from a few weeks earlier.

Pier View

We worked our way back to the seafront and from here it was to be a straight run to Brighton Marina.  What we hadn't bargained for was a huge motorcycle rally and the road along the seafront was absolutely chock-a-block with gleaming machines, mostly very expensive looking.  There were lots of hairy looking men and women in tight leather gear admiring each other's machines and generally having a great time.  I'm not overly keen on motorbikes but even I could see the allure of these machines.


We popped along the pier for some respite from motorbikes and found Grrrace and Palace Pup (28 and 29).  The latter wasn't so easy to find and we ended up going all the way to the end of the pier before discovering her about a third of the way back.  She was rather ignored by other visitors; perhaps they all thought that she was part of the furniture?  Under the Sea (number 30) was getting a lot more attention but then it was stationed at the entrance to the Sea Life Centre and was therefore seen by every visiting child who went in.

Bike Rally

For the remaining part of our walk we passed more than a mile of motorbikes lined up.  I have never in my life seen so many lined up in one spot.  They weren't just English either - there were plenty from continental Europe and especially the Netherlands.  The rally was starting to wrap up though - some people were already roaring away and the din was unimaginable.  We were pleased for a short detour into St George's Church in Kemp Town, where we escaped for a few minutes to check out Smiley (no.34).  From here it was on to Brighton Marina to pick up the remaining cluster.

Brighton Marina

Brighton Marina was constructed when I was a boy.  It is quite an astonishing piece of engineering and one that I am not sure would be built today.  It is one of the largest man-made marinas in Europe and rather brutally occupies a space at the bottom of the cliffs at Black Rock.  As a marina I am not sure it was overly successful since much of the harbour space has been filled in and is occupied by shops and restaurants.  There were three Snowdogs among the shops and a unique one to finish off with; one made out of sand by the artist 'Anonymous'.  It was very sensibly fenced off so that it couldn't be ruined by vandals.  This marked the end of our walking tour seeing the Snowdogs.  It was a pretty comprehensive look around the city and we got to see most of the main sights.  We also saw 35 of the 44 dogs on foot with the remaining ones in a car tour the following week.  Sad to say that one was missing (Sparky no.42) and one was in London at Victoria station (45 Brighton Belle).  On the whole a satisfying walk and I have no doubt that the success of the initiative will bring a different trail in a couple of years time.
Sand Dog

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Marwell's Zany Zebras

Zebastian the Seabra
Following the success of the Go! Rhinos trail in Southampton organised by Marwell Zoo a few years back they came back with another in 2016, this time involving Zebras.  The Rhino Trail was set out to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of Marwell Zoo and I think this one is merely a sequel.  The sculptures were sold off at the end of the season for charity and raised over £100,000 for conservation.  There were 47 zebras along the way, 15 more than the 2013 rhino trail.  They were a little more spread out than before and new areas were explored, notably around the southern part of the city close to the docks.  Additionally there were a whole lot of smaller zebras that had been decorated by schools and community groups as well as a couple outside the city.  We focused on the large sculptures as we only had a few hours to complete the trail and the small ones were mostly in shops, some of which were closed on Sunday.
Canute Building
Our walk started at Ocean Village, to the south east of the city centre and close to the cruise ship terminals.  It was still early and so there weren't many people about.  We found the first sculpture easily; a rather dandy one covered in fish called Zebastian the Seabra.  It certainly was a good start!  Sadly its near neighbour wasn't so lucky as it had been removed for repair.  We weren't to know at the time but this was a theme for the day.  It was good to see a change of scenery for this part of the trail - although the buildings and docks have been regenerated it was clear what the heritage was as the footway still had the rails embedded where the dockside trains would once have plied their trade.
We headed on to Queens Park, crossing the old dockyard branch line on the way.  I was very surprised when a train actually crossed the line behind us as for all the world it looked like it was disused!  Queens Park was an agreeable little green space - we didn't come here last time.  Luckily all the zebras were in place - Henman (a rather whimsical piece); Rio (a celebration of Brazil for the Olympics) and Zayla.  The last one was the least interesting so far but looking at the caption it looks like this one is better viewed at night rather than a bright sunny day.  Apparently it creates an ethereal stripey look at night when the lights go out.

Detail on Reggie
Across the road from the park is a reminder of the passenger lines that called Southampton home.  Union Castle House is a fine looking building although sadly the passenger shipping line for which this was the headquarters is now long gone as are the classy looking ships that largely sailed to South Africa.  One shipping line still visiting the port is P & O and one of their ships was in on the day we were there - the rather classy looking Arcadia.  We got a good view of her as we came upon Seafaring Zebra on the dockside.

Last time we came to Southampton we enjoyed the city walls and in the vicinity of the Town Gate were another crop of zebras starting with the excellent Reggie.  This one featured a zebra monarch hiding small icons of famous kings and queens of history which fascinated us.  Next to the Town Gate was ZZ Top, which pleased my daughter no end as the zebra was made to look like a piano.  I did have to explain to her who ZZ Top were though!  Sadly the zebra did not sport a massive beard...
ZZ Top
From here the rhinos came thick and fast as we headed around towards Mayflower Park.  Next up was Biff sponsored by Biffa Waste (looking very much like his rhino counterpart), and inevitably perhaps Zebra Crossings showing a design complete with belisha beacons.Southern Gold wasn't quite in the same location as Reggie Rhino but the design was the same - a scene of sailing boats out on the nearby Solent.  This was possibly the last zebra that we truly had to ourselves - our early start had meant that few people were out doing what we were doing until now.
Ziggy Zebra all at Zee
Following the numbers of the zebras seemed a little counter-intuitive at this point for we could see what we thought was the next one further along the street, only to discover that there were several more that we should see before that.  One of them was a nod to David Bowie, who sadly passed away earlier in the year.  It was called Ziggy Zebra All at Zee and featured a number of cartoon ships.  The head was emblazoned like Ziggy Stardust. 
Ziggy Detail

The trail took a zig-zagging course through the narrow streets of the Old Town and back on to the QE2 Mile for a short distance, catching more zebras along the way until we got to the rather astonishing Holyrood Church.  This 14th Century Church is now a reminder of the horror of World War II as it remains a ruin after being bombed during the Blitz in 1940.  In 1957 it was dedicated as a memorial to the sailors of the Merchant Navy and makes for a magnificent tribute to the bravery of those men.
Remarkably a little further away is the church of St Michael’s, which emerged from the destruction of the city completely unscathed.  It is now the oldest building and the only one of the original churches that remains intact within the walled city.  Outside was a rather lovely Chinese style design called Carpe Diem, which we had plenty of time to admire since most people seemed to be inside the church attending Sunday morning service.

St Michael's Church

We passed by the Tudor House and down a narrow path through the City Walls to reunite ourselves with Snappy, the zebra we had seen from afar when we were at Zozy Zebra.  After the flurry of rhinos (we had already seen 17 at this point) we headed towards the West Quay Shopping Centre via an outlier near Ikea called Captain Stripes, which was a rather patriotic beast with Union Jack type stripes.  We found our way into the West Quay Shopping Centre and picked off the two inside - the nattily dressed Zoot Suit and the buzzy Ze-Bee.  We didn't linger in the shops as by now my daughter felt like she was on a mission and was anxious to make sure we kept to time!

Holyrood Church

Outside the shopping centre and we walked along perhaps the best preserved section of the City Walls, which date from the 14th Century and were built on the orders of Edward III, perhaps inevitably to repel the French.  Given how much modern building there is in Southampton it was surprising but pleasing to see the old walls still taking pride of place in the urban landscape.

Feeling fortified by lunch we continued our route along the city walls, which had been knocked about a bit to accommodate modern developments.  However, the magnificent Bargate is still intact and nicely restored to take pride of place on what is now the main shopping street. I wonder what mediaeval forces would have thought of that?  Since our last trip in 2013 there looked to be no progress with the Bargate Shopping Centre, which was still derelict.  The shopping centre was only opened in the late 1980s but following a chequered history it finally closed its doors for good a few years back and is boarded up.  Given the current economic climate I can’t see it being taken over as retail space again any time soon and looks like staying a blot on the townscape for some time to come.  On a happier note the two zebras on either side of the gatehouse were receiving a good deal of attention from passing shoppers.
From shopping to the park, our next zebras were to be at the bus station and the park opposite.  Sadly all we found were concrete plinths but no zebras as they had been taken away to be repaired.  Despite the signs asking people to stay off them, much of the damage to the rhinos appeared to be caused by people ignoring the notices and posing for pictures on the backs of the mascots.  Sadly these sculptures seem to attract unwanted attention and are vandalised regularly - obviously the fact that they are there for charity doesn't seem to matter to some.  At this late stage in the zebras being out I suppose that sadly we might have expected a few absences...
Civic Clock
The play area in the Park was absolutely rammed with children and families. Unlike last time we came when I had both daughters this time the one I did have was more focused on finishing than worrying about going on the equipment.  Feeling a bit stymied by the lack of zebras we escaped back into the shopping street and to the hybrid Zeffe, the winning design in a local radio competition and showing what a zebra with giraffe markings might look like. 
Who's You?
From the shopping street to another shopping centre – it seems that Southampton is remarkably well served by them.  In this one (Marlands), we seemed to hit the mother lode, for not only were there several of the original zebras (including ones that needed to be brought in from the street to protect against vandalism) but they had been joined by a number of the smaller ones painted by school children and community groups.  To be honest they were as good and imaginative as some of those painted by professional artists.  We spent a good deal of time in the main concourse of the centre and then in the Zany Zebras HQ, which was in a shop at the back.
Fantastic Mr Fox
We still had more than one third of the zebras to find after leaving the shopping centre but the remaining ones were concentrated around the civic heart of the city, being in and around the Civic Centre and the adjacent parks.  Sadly these were the ones that had suffered the most and many of them we had already seen in the shopping centre after their removal to protect them.  Walking round the parks was pleasant but mostly it was completion of the trail and looking at the flower displays that persuaded us to continue.
Unlike last time there was an additional loop to complete as there were some extra ones placed out on the way to the railway station.  Perhaps the most eye-catching was Frederic, a rather dandy looking creature ready to go on the stage at the Mayflower Theatre, which he was located outside of.  Daughter rather liked the next one too as the stripes were replaced by pens and pencils.  It all looked rather back to school for me!  The last one was a kite design outside the railway station.  From there we went and had some lunch and drove to the last one at Southampton FC's football ground at St Mary's which we thought was a bit too far to walk to.
This turned out to be a most enjoyable walk and a rather different experience to last time with the rhinos.  Having only the focused daughter with me meant that we completed it far quicker!  The people behind the trail really had done their very best to show off the best of Southampton City Centre.  Adding some extra sculptures went down well with us, especially as it meant that the trail was extended a bit.  We particularly enjoyed seeing the historic buildings at the south end of the city and the manicured and colourful gardens at the northern end.  On the whole the trail was a great advert for the city and the zebras kept us entertained along the route.  It was sad to see some had been removed and pleasing to see that some of the designs of the rhinos had been popular enough to retain for the zebras.  I have no doubt that following the success of this trail we might well see a different animal featured in 3-4 years time.