<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Hampshire Life today click here

Hampshire walk in the South Downs at Chawton

PUBLISHED: 11:36 01 August 2017

The Church of St Nicholas in Chawton © Steve Davison

The Church of St Nicholas in Chawton © Steve Davison

© Steve Davison

In memory of Jane Austen, who died 200 years ago, Steve Davison heads to Chawton for a wander in the South Downs National Park just south of Alton

The reason many people visit Chawton is the novelist Jane Austen, who spent the last eight years of her life in the village. The 17th century house, now known as Jane Austen’s House Museum, where she lived with her mother and sister is open at various times (jane-austens-house-museum.org.uk; 01420 83262). During her time here, Jane wrote and revised six of her world famous novels, namely Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion; the last three being fully written while living in Chawton.

From her former home the walk leads us along part of the disused Meon Valley railway that once ran between Alton and Fareham. Don’t worry if you happen to hear the sound of a steam train in the distance, it’s not a ghost train on the old line but one running along the nearby Mid-Hants Railway Watercress Line between Alton and New Arlesford.

Soon we leave the old track to arrive at Upper Farringdon, home to thatched cottages and the 12th century All Saint’s Church. For a time, the Selborne naturalist, Gilbert White, was curate here while a later incumbent, the Reverend Thomas Massey, was responsible for the unusual Massey’s Folly – the large red-brick and terracotta tiled building opposite the church.

After wandering through the village (the shorter walk misses out this loop) we head back towards Chawton, passing the Church of St Nicholas. In the churchyard are the graves of Jane Austen’s mother and sister, both of whom were called Cassandra (Jane herself, is buried at Winchester Cathedral). Next to the church is the rather grand Elizabethan Chawton House. The estate belonged to the Knight family for several hundred years and later in the 18th century Jane Austen’s brother, Edward Austen Knight – he had been adopted by Thomas and Catherine Knight – inherited the manor, after which his mother and sisters moved to the village; Jane was a frequent visitor to the estate, and some believe ‘Donwell Abbey’ in Austen’s Emma was modelled upon Chawton House.

The 400-year-old house is now home to the Chawton House Library, a charitable centre for the study of Early English Women’s Writing, with a collection of over 9,000 books. The house and gardens are open at various times (chawtonhouse.org; 01420 541010). From here it’s a short walk back to the car park.


Information

• Start/finish: Car park (SU708375) in Chawton (behind the Greyfriar’s car park); just east from the A31 / A32 junction at Alton

• Map: OS Explorer 133

• Distance: 5 miles (8.1km) or 3.75 miles (5.9km)

• Terrain: gentle ups and downs, tracks and paths, some gates and stiles, sections of road and two main road crossings

• Time: 2 hours without stops (shorter walk 1.5 hours)

• Refreshments: The Greyfriar (01420 83841) and Cassandra’s Cup tea room (01420 83144) both at Chawton

• More Information: To find out more about Steve, including his books, visit: steve-davison.co.uk

The walk

1 (SU708375) – From the car park exit back onto the village street with Jane Austen’s house opposite and Cassandra’s Cup tea room and The Greyfriar pub over to the right. Turn left, then immediately left again and follow the lane for 250m before turning right into Ferney Close. At the end of the cul-de-sac take the path between the houses, go through a gate and follow the enclosed path. Cross a stile and down steps before carefully crossing the A32, then go up some steps and through a gate. Keep ahead and soon bear left through a copse before going right and left to continue southwards between fields. Keep ahead along the shady track for slightly under a mile, passing under a bridge on the way. On reaching another bridge, go up steps to the lane and turn left to the A32.

2 (SU704354) – With care, cross the A32 and follow the lane opposite signposted for Manor Farm, to reach a cross-track junction after 600m (the short walk turns left here). Turn right between houses, then bear left along Parsonage Close to a junction. Turn right to a T-junction and go left along The Street. At the next junction, with a thatched cottage opposite, keep ahead along the enclosed path. Once in the field, turn left following the left-hand margin and then right, staying in the same field. At the kink in the field boundary, turn left over a stile and head north through the field.

3 (SU717355) – At the field corner turn right over a stile and follow the enclosed path to Stapley’s Farm. Turn left along the track to a lane. Turn left and just after All Saint’s Church – with Massey’s Folly on the left – turn right along the track to a junction. Turn left, soon passing a barn on saddle stones and keep ahead to reach the cross-track junction passed earlier. Turn right up the track and keep ahead down through the trees of Berryhill Plantation.

4 (SU707361) – Continue down through the field and then Noar Copse. Cross the stile and keep head across the field to two stiles in the far corner. Cross the one on the right to follow the enclosed permissive path northwards, parallel to the A32, crossing another stile on the way. At the end, cross a stile and continue straight on along the lane towards Chawton, soon passing a driveway on the right that leads to the Church of St Nicholas and Chawton House (short detour). Continue along the lane to arrive back at the start.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampshire visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampshire staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampshire account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

10:40

10 of best photos of Hampshire shared on Instagram over the past week...

Read more
Tue, 12:47

We like to think that here at Hampshire Life we are at the forefront of our local food and drink industry; recognising the county’s diverse businesses every year at our Food and Drink Awards. However, Newcomer of the Year finalists, The Red Lion in Odiham seemed to slip through our net

Read more
Tue, 11:20

From saunas and spas to splashing about in fords… this New Forest gem shows why it’s officially Britain’s most beautiful village

Read more
Tue, 11:08

Broomsticks and bedknobs, Tudor mansions and Roman towns… A visit to Tadley is a surprise

Read more
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Foodie families who like period property and want the beach on their doorstep need look no further than Southsea

Read more
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Snowdrop season inspires people to get out and take a stroll through the countryside and that is no different here in Hampshire, as these beautiful photos prove…

Read more
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

This February 14 use your imagination and discover what Hampshire holds for the most romantic Valentine's Day ever

Read more
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Is there anything more refreshing than a stroll on a crisp winter’s day? We don’t think so! Here are a few of our favourite rambles across the county to enjoy this season

Read more
Thursday, February 1, 2018

Whether you want to treat her to ultimate relaxation with a spa day or an overnight stay complete with indulgent spa treatments, Champneys is a great gift for Mother’s Day

Read more
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Hampshire this month

Read more
Monday, January 29, 2018

Forget the snow and ice, love is the answer to the gloom of winter and there is nowhere better than Hampshire to share and express it

Read more
Monday, January 29, 2018

A new, old village? Or an old, new one? There’s definitely more to Four Marks than meets the eye

Read more
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Braving the winter weather, wildlife writer Tiffany Francis ventures in to the New Forest to discover more about the work of the community rangers

Read more
Monday, January 22, 2018

Choose from the best in Hampshire for your wedding venue. We round up 20 of the best

Read more
 
A+ South & South West
 
Great British Holidays advert link
 
Pure Weddings advert link
 
South West Life advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Hampshire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search