After a break for a number of years, the John Pinkerton II ran a public trip to the Old Thatch Cottage and Millenium Barn, Winchfield for the National Gardens Scheme Open Day in September. We were pleased to welcome guests from as far afield as Skegness and Devon; also a couple of Australians – though they admitted to living a little more locally!
With no recent rain to create mud, we were able to disembark passengers at Stacey’s Bridge and use the short footpath to the road, from which it was a brief walk to the entrance, whilst the boat continued to Barley Mow to wind.
Many crew have admired the bronze horse – Venetia – in the garden facing the canal, and this was an opportunity for some to get close.
The secluded sundial garden in front of the building leads on to the cottage garden, resplendent in colour, and the specially crafted gate to the vegetable garden, made from old garden tools. The Long Border emphasises the main entrance; opposite is the donkey manage, and honey bees were seen working from the hives.
Predating the Canal, Old Thatch is thought to date from around the mid-17th century, when it would have been a simple A-frame hovel, without a chimney. Over the years a a chimney and upper floor were added, and the current owners completed restoration by adding a kitchen and bathroom, and re-thatching the property in 1987.
Just time for a cup of tea and a slice of cake before we had to start the walk back to the Barley Mow wharf.
Several standing stones line the verge of Sprats Hatch Lane – it would be interesting to know their true origin.
A well-worth while trip for all, topped off by the retrieval of a scarf from overhanging vegetation opposite the dredger, lost on the outward leg from Odiham! A brilliant day, with weather to match.
Let’s do it all again next year!