St Catherine’s Hill is only a couple of miles south of Winchester and is not only a haven for wildlife and history but offers breathtaking views across the city from the top.
Being so close to the city, St Catherine’s Hill is easy to get to with a park and ride bus taking you from the train station right to the foot of the hill. There is also a carpark there too if you decide to come by your own steam.
The steep chalk hill is immersed in history with the ramparts of an Iron Age hill fort still visibly cut into the rock. The outline of the fort can still be clearly seen circling the top of the hill.
There is also the mysterious “mismaze”. It is one of only 8 historic turf mazes remaining in England. The maze dates from the 17th century with it’s origins remaining clouded in mystery. Walking the maze is known locally as “tolling the labyrinth”
There is also an abundance of wildlife to spot on the hill. Throughout the year you might find a Shetland Sheep grazing nearby or during the summer there is a multitude of flowers and butterflies.
Each square metre of grassland can contain up to 20 different flowers, look out for the gorgeous musk orchid, frog orchid and autumn ladies tresses. There are also 25 different butterflies to be seen. Most notably the Marbled White, Chalkhill Blue and Brown Argus.
St Catherine’s Hill really is a little piece of paradise right on the doorstep of the city.