A Winter Miscellany. The club organises walks throughout the year. The following photographs illustrate a few of the unusual places visited by members of the Southern Area during the winter of 2011-12. The walk though Winchester, illustrated on this page, was organised by Kevin Arnold and Keith Lawrie who, to borrow from Monty Python's famous catchphrase, really provided something 'completely different'.

Above: Tucked away in the east end of Winchester behind the large modern Chesil Car Park lies the south portal of Winchester Chesil Tunnel, which gave access to Winchester Chesil station – built by the Didcot, Newbury & Southampton Railway, but later the GWR's outpost in the town. Not surprisingly, Chesil station provided services to Didcot, Newbury and Southampton, but they were infrequent and no match for what was on offer at the rival Winchester City station. The south end of the tunnel is used by Winchester City Council, while the north end is used by the Itchen Valley Rifle Club. A wall with a small door separates the two users. 3rd December 2011. (Jeff Vinter)

Above: Here's something you don't see every day – about 12,000 wheelie bins, waiting to be deployed on the street of Winchester. The explanation is that the city council uses the tunnel as its wheelie bin store, but it certainly makes for an unusual sight. 3rd December 2011. (Jeff Vinter)
Above: This is the north end of Chesil Tunnel, which is used as an indoor shooting range by Itchen Valley Shooting Club. Two members of the club's committee very kindly opened for us both the range and the door that links through to the city council's stash of wheelie bins. By using this connecting door, our party of 30 or so railway explorers were probably the largest group of people to travel the entire length of the tunnel since it closed to rail traffic in March 1960. 3rd December 2011. (Jeff Vinter)
Above: Back into the light: our party leaves the north end of Chesil Tunnel, which opened out into a deep cutting. Using public rights of way, the modern railway explorer can find traces of the old line for about a mile north of here, but then the trackbed disappears beneath the modern A34 dual carriageway. 3rd December 2011. (Jeff Vinter)
Above: South of Winchester, the DNSR ran over the impressive Hockley Viaduct before reaching Shawford Junction, just north of the modern Shawford station, where it joined the LSWR's main line to Southampton. After years of decline, Winchester City Council has finally allocated funds to restore the viaduct as part of a new trail which will link central Winchester with Compton to the south. 3rd December 2011. (Jeff Vinter)
Above: A close up of the arches at the south west end of Hockley Viaduct. The new Hockley link road, which feeds into the M3, runs immediately south of the viaduct, which is why the residents of this part of Winchester are so keen to see the viaduct retained – it acts as a barrier to both sight and sound of these two busy roads. 3rd December 2011. (Jeff Vinter)
Above: On arrival at Hockley, members returned to Winchester via the water meadows of the River Itchen. En route, they made a call at St. Cross Abbey and Hospital, where the famous 'Wayfarer's Dole' is dispensed. This is a tumbler of beer and small square of bread, which is representative of the simple meal once given to passing travellers in the Middle Ages. We know of no other place in the world where such a practice is still observed. 3rd December 2011. (Jeff Vinter)
Left: The striking gatehouse at St. Cross gives access from the nearby lane to the abbey and the main courtyard, which is overlooked by the Almshouse of Noble Poverty seen in the left of the picture above. By the way, who says that you get all the best skies in the summer? 3rd December 2011. (Jeff Vinter)
Right: With the exception of those members who are keen gardeners, many railway ramblers are not well versed about things that grow (as opposed to things which need to be fed with coal and water). However, we would be delighted to know what species of tree this is, which provided such a wonderful splash of colour on the occasion of our visit. The hospital gardens are to the left of the wall, the path in the foreground being the public right of way which follows the River Itchen back into Winchester. 3rd December 2011. (Jeff Vinter)