A Light in the Woods – Memories of Catherington Lith

Catherington Lith is an elevated wooded area close to Horndean village, Hampshire. Horndean is situated some 10 miles north of Portsmouth on the A3. My parents bought Hollybank (see photo above), a bungalow situated in a clearing in the woods in 1951. We lived firstly in Highland Rd Southsea and then in Lake Road, Portsmouth and Hollybank was an escape to the country for weekends and holidays. There was a chemical toilet located close to the building, no electricity or gas and no running water (we had a water purifier to cleanse rain water). There were a number of ways of getting to the bungalow; some from the A3 and others from Catherington village or Five Heads Road. We mostly took the lane off the A3 just west of Horndean village by the Bettaworks timber factory (no longer there) and up the steep hill in to the Lith. Once up the hill there was a wide path through the woods, just wide enough for a car which lead to the top entrance to Hollybank. To the Catherington side of the Lith were fields. The approaches to the Lith from Catherington across the fields were mainly either by way of a gate from All Saints Church grounds or by a path adjacent to the Jolly Farmer pub (now The Farmer).

During 1952 there was a period when I attended Catherington Infants School. My father had bought a shop (with accommodation) in Lake Rd, Portsmouth and the move from Highland Rd, Southsea (again a shop with accommodation) meant we needed to stay at Hollybank for several months during the move while the new shop was sorted out. I will always remember walking across the fields to the school with my mother and avoiding the cow pats and enjoying the dampness of the early morning dew.