10 winter walks in Hampshire this New Year
PUBLISHED: 09:55 07 January 2014 | UPDATED: 11:25 05 October 2017
© Steve Davison
Steve Davison suggests ten short walks across Hampshire to get you out in the bracing fresh air over New Year. For maps of each route, see the gallery on the top right of this article
Start/finish: White Hill car park (SU516565), 1½ miles south of Kingsclere on B3051
Map: OS Explorer 144
Distance: 2¾ miles (4.3km)
Refreshments: None on walk – choices in Kingsclere
1 (SU516565) – From the car park go back to the main road (B3051), cross over and go past the gate, following the track round the top of the deep hollow of The Warren. Continue along the crest of the rolling downs with lovely views to the right to reach the trig point on the summit of Watership Down (if you want a longer walk you can continue westwards following the Wayfarer’s Walk).
2 (SU496568) – After admiring the views turn round and head back – the return walk reveals equally lovely views this time looking east to the large mast on Cottington’s Hill (TV transmitter for Berkshire and North Hampshire). Pass round the top of The Warren again and cross the road back to the car park.
Start/finish: Canal car park near the Barley Mow pub (SU778537)
Map: OS Explorer 144
Distance: 3¼ miles (5.2km)
Refreshments: Dogmersfield – The Barley Mow (01628 824212)
1 (SU778537) – From the car park, turn right along the towpath following the Basingstoke Canal which opened in 1794, and pass under the Barley Mow bridge. Continue alongside the canal for 1 mile, passing two more bridges. At Sandy Hill Bridge leave the canal and turn left across the bridge; keep along the enclosed track towards Sprat’s Hatch Farm and join a surfaced lane.
2 (SU767525) – Turn right through the kissing gate and follow the enclosed path between fields. Continue along the surfaced track then left at the junction, go through a gate and turn right alongside picturesque Tundry Pond – a great place for bird-watching. At the trees bear right between the fences and cross a stile. Go over Blacksmith’s Bridge, turn left and follow the canal back to the car park, passing a WWII pillbox on the way.
Upper and Lower Wield
Start/finish: Roadside parking near the church, just north and left of the three-way junction in Upper Wield (SU628387)
Map: OS Explorer 132
Distance: 2 miles (3.3km)
Refreshments: Lower Wield – The Yew Tree (01256 389224)
1 (SU628387) – Head north-east and bear left through the churchyard passing St James Church (pop inside to see the detailed tomb of William Waloppe). Leave through the far corner and bear right, passing left of a barn. Continue across two stiles (fence on right) to a path junction. Keep ahead, crossing two stiles to a lane. Turn right and at the right-hand corner go straight over a stile, continue with trees to the left and straight on through the next field to a path junction. Keep ahead mid-field and then continue with trees on the left before following the tree-shaded path to a minor road in Lower Wield.
2 (SU634398) – Turn right and shortly after passing The Yew Tree pub turn right at the footpath sign and follow the right-hand field edge. In the next field bear half-left towards a tree on the far side. Keep along the path through the trees, passing behind a school. Continue over the common in Upper Wield, staying close to the right-hand edge. Cross straight over the minor road and go along the lane back to the parking area on the left.
Start/finish: Car park in Selborne on the B3006 (SU742335), 3½ miles south of A31
Map: OS Explorer 133
Distance: 3½ miles (5.4km)
Refreshments: Selborne – Selborne Arms (01420 511247); Queens at Selborne (01420 511454); café at Gilbert White’s House (01420 511275)
1 (SU742335) – Head back to the main street and turn left past the Selborne Arms and, just before The Queens, turn right down Hucker’s Lane to its end. Continue along the track (byway) through the trees. Emerge from the trees and head down the field edge, later pass a house to a surfaced track. Keep ahead to Priory Farm and fork left, keeping left of the farm buildings. Follow the track as it curves left into a field and turn left on a path along the field edge, keeping Coombe Wood on the right.
2 (SU751343) – Continue past the ponds and shortly follow the Hanger Way alongside the right-hand field edge. Cross Oakhanger Stream and up the slope to enter the churchyard (the church is worth a visit); keep ahead to the main street. Cross over and turn right, then left along Gracious Street. At the corner, keep ahead through the kissing gate and follow the field edge to a stile. Turn left following the fence – to the left is Gilbert White’s House – to a path junction. Left heads to the car park; instead turn right up the zig-zag path (admiring the view). At the top turn left following the path down and turn left along the lane back to the car park.
Stockbridge Common Marsh
Start/finish: St Peter’s Church, High Street (A30) in Stockbridge (SU355351); roadside parking
Map: OS Explorer 131
Distance: 2½ miles (4km)
Refreshments: Choices in Stockbridge
1 (SU355351) – From St Peter’s Church head east along the High Street to the roundabout, beside The White Hart pub, and turn right along Trafalgar Way. Where this minor road bends right go straight on following the Test Way (footpath and cycle route) for slightly over ¾ mile, ignoring a crossing path on the way.
2 (SU354336) – Turn right through a small gate to enter Stockbridge Common Marsh (National Trust) and follow the boundary on the left to the river. Turn right following Marshcourt River (a tributary of the River Test) northwards. Cross the bridge at the corner and keep ahead through fields, later with houses on right, to the High Street. Turn left back to the church.
Old Winchester Hill
Start/finish: Old Winchester Hill NNR car park (SU639213), 1½ miles south along Station from A32 in West Meon
Map: OS Explorer 119
Distance: 2 miles (3.3km)
Refreshments: None on walk; West Meon – The Thomas Lord (01730 829244) and Tazzina Café (01730 829882)
1 (SU645213) – From the back of the car park go through a small gate and head west steeply downhill (circular walk). Near the bottom of the field turn left, soon passing to the right of some trees. Bear right through a wood following the path as it bears left and rises, leave the trees and head south-east, steeply uphill to a path. Turn right, keeping the trees on the left, to a track beside a seat and information board. Keep ahead and soon turn right to the trig point and view indicator.
2 (SU639205) – Before leaving take a walk round the earthworks of the Iron Age hill fort that crowns the summit of Old Winchester Hill for some great views and then head back to the seat passed earlier. Turn right through a large gate, following the track with trees on the left. Shortly before the road turn half-left heading north, parallel to the road, back to the car park.
Queen Elizabeth Country Park
Start/finish: Queen Elizabeth Country Park main car park (SU719184) just off A3 between Petersfield and Horndean
Map: OS Explorer 120
Distance: 3 miles (5km)
Refreshments: Café at Queen Elizabeth Country Park
1 (SU719184) – Head south past the café and visitor centre using the footpath running parallel to the drive. On reaching the drive, cross over and turn left through the car park, following the South Downs Way parallel to the drive on the left. Later join the drive and keep ahead to enter the small car park at Benham Bushes, just off the hairpin bend. Continue north-eastwards up the forest track following the wooded valley for just under ¾ mile.
2 (SU729192) – Turn sharp right at the track junction and follow the track due south to a cross-track junction. Turn right up the track (following the Staunton Way), pass the brow of the hill and start descending. Later the track descends more steeply and curves right before reaching the surfaced drive passed earlier, from here retrace the route back to the café.
The River Hamble
Start/finish: Holly Hill Woodland Park (SU501078) on Barnes Lane in Sarisbury Green off the A27
Map: OS Explorer 119
Distance: 3½ miles (5.6km)
Refreshments: None on the walk
1 (SU501078) – From the back of the car park, go through the gate and follow the path which curves left to a cross-junction. Turn right (The Old Carriage Way) keep ahead and cross Waterfall Bridge, continue along Horse Chestnut Avenue to reach Holly Hill Lane. Turn right to a junction and go left along Crableck Lane, later a track – just follow the footpath signs to reach the River Hamble.
2 (SU489084) – Turn left following the riverside path for 1 mile (river on the right). At the footpath sign turn left away from the river to join a lane (Brook Avenue). Go left for 200m to a right-hand bend and keep ahead to re-enter Holly Hill Woodland Park. Follow the left-hand boundary to the viewpoint and continue north-eastwards for 800m, ignoring side paths to reach a cross-junction with a bridleway. Keep ahead and then fork right with the lake on the left, go right at the next junction and then straight on at a cross-junction back to the car park.
Bank and Gritnam
Start/finish: The Oak Inn, Bank (SU288067), off A35 just west of Lyndhurst
Distance: 2¾ miles (4.4km)
Map: OS Explorer OL22
Refreshments: Bank – Oak Inn (02380 282350)
1 (SU288067) – From the junction, follow the lane south for 600m, passing just left of the Oak Inn, and shortly after a left-hand bend turn right through a gate to enter Brick Kiln Inclosure. Follow the gravel cycle track southwards for slightly over ½ mile, leave through a gate and keep ahead over Butts Lawn. Keep to the main gravel track as it curves right and continue for 300m to a track junction.
2 (SU291054) – Follow the track slightly right and go through the gate into Hursthill Inclosure. Follow the gravel cycle track for 200m heading west to a cross-track junction. Turn right (north) soon crossing a bridge over a stream. As the track bends left, fork right (straight on) along a ride for 400m, keep left at the fork through Gritnam Wood to the little hamlet of Gritnam. Turn right along the surfaced track back to the Oak Inn at Bank.
St Catherine’s Hill
Start/finish: Car park at Black Gang viewpoint (SZ490767) on A3055, 1¼ miles west of Niton
Map: OS Explorer OL29
Distance: 3 miles (4.6km)
Refreshments: Niton – The White Lion (01983 730293)
1 (SZ490767) – Cross the A3055, up the steps (signposted St Catherine’s Oratory) and through the kissing gate, then head diagonally left up Gore Down. Cross the stile in the top fence and head for the stone structure. Known as the ‘Pepperpot’ this used to be the tower of the 14th-century St Catherine’s Oratory. Turn left at the fence (on the right) heading downhill. Turn right through a gate and follow the bridleway across the field, soon following a fence on the left. Go through a gate and continue along the enclosed bridleway to a junction.
2 (SU500774) – Turn right down the hedge-lined path (Bury Lane) and keep ahead down the lane (Pan Lane) past Ladyacre Farm to a T-junction. Turn right past the Church of St John the Baptist. At the junction, bear right (A3055) to the edge of the village and fork right following a bridleway west, past fields for slightly under ¾ mile to a metalled track. Turn left to the road; go right for a short way before turning left across the road. Follow the path across the field and turn right to the corner (house) before turning right again back to car park.
To find out more about Steve, including information on walking books, visit: www.steve-davison.co.uk