We scratched Hinton (D)ampner off the visit list today. Too wet in the garden, said their website. The house is smothered in scaffolding. Try again later. And so it came to pass that we ventured into another National Trust site, right in Winchester itself. The City Mill was our pleasure.
We walk past this most times we go into the city but without our NT membership cards we would never have bothered to go in. Our loss. Small but perfectly restored. Today it was running to demonstrate milling to anybody who cared to enter. Free cakes and biscuits straight from the oven. Lemon and lime drizzle cake.
The other attraction is the wildlife that frequents the Itchen here. The star is the otter but daytime sightings are rare as you would expect. There is some excellent CCTV camera footage of otters in the mill (taken at 5.20am) but one volunteer said that he had only seen an otter once in 7 years. The vols are friendly and knowledgeable and tried to persuade me to sign up. I was more interested in the pair of young Grey Wagtails dibbling dabbling along the stones. You can’t go up to where the grain is put into the hoppers but you can go down almost to water level. So we did.