Tuesday 13 February 2024

Marwell to Woking

The rain was just starting as we left our hotel, but it was only light and didn't really spoil our 15 kilometre cycle ride to Winchester. Once there we left the cycle path, took one turn and straight away came across the famous statue.

King Alfred the Great, looking triumphant in middle of his roundabout. 

'Scholar, soldier, statesman, King Alfred restored Winchester after the Dark Ages and made the city his capital', said my guidebook. He died in 899, which seems a startling long time ago.

We were getting cold and wet by now, so we abandoned plans to do a city walking tour, and went straight to see the cathedral.

I was pleased to see that this cathedral, like Salisbury, has no scaffolding around it, but it also doesn't have a spire. Why not? Well apparently it did originally, but it fell down in 1107.

Getting colder by the second we decided to head to the train station and catch the fast train directly to Woking. (This wasn't a cop out, it wasn't always part of the plan as the distance is too great to cycle in a day.)

After a lot of drama and delays we arrived at Woking station which wasn't too far from our hotel, so off we went again.

In the distance we saw Newark Priory. It was built on an island of the River Wey between 1189 and 1199.  The ruins of it are now on private land, so impossible to get close to.

The Priory was dissolved by Henry 8th in 1537, and was destroyed by a cannon from a nearby hill.

It is said to be haunted by monks who wander around the flat watery fields, but fortunately they didn't trouble us as we cycled slowly on our way.

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