It's a very convenient and welcome thing, to come across a fire in the middle of nowhere on a raw cold afternoon. For whatever reason, the local livestock wouldn't go anywhere near it. In the second picture, a cow is actually hiding in a bush.
I say in the middle of nowhere, but something dramatic has happened at St. Catherine's Hill. The recent application of a tarmac road surface to what was previously a muddy track along the bottom of the hill running beside the Itchen Navigation canal, has increased the visitor numbers tenfold. The opening of the cycle-way across the Hockley Viaduct hasn't helped, either. At various styles and gates there were actually queues, this afternoon.
Obviously, most of these folk aren't going to leave the path and actually venture onto the hill, at this time of year anyway. A lot of people claim to like the countryside, but seem reluctant actually ever to get any of it on them. However, we did see a couple of "Fenton the Dog" episodes developing, with hapless owners chasing poorly-trained off-leash dogs up hill and down dale, as they happily harried sheep. This may explain the cow in the bush, of course.
I'd hate to think that, come the summer, this beautiful and atmospheric couple of square miles will have become just another leisure park, with all the turf on the paths eroded away by mountain bikes, and pic-nic litter blowing around. A little more respect, please, people, eh?