Hampshire walk past Rotherfield Park
PUBLISHED: 15:33 19 January 2017 | UPDATED: 15:34 19 January 2017
© Steve Davison
Follow Steve Davison as he heads to East Tisted for a walk past the grandeur of Rotherfield Park, a familiar-looking house and an old railway line
On the west side of the valley, overlooking the village is the rather grand Rotherfield Park. The present house was built in the early 1800’s in a Tudor Gothic style, though the manor of Rotherfield dates back to the 12th century, when it was owned by Adam de Rotherfield.
The manor passed through a succession of Nortons and Paulets until it was sold in 1808 to James Scott, who rebuilt the house; it is still owned by the Scott family. The village, which lies east of the A32, is home to St James’ Church, largely rebuilt in the 1840’s. Inside are memorials to Norton family members. There is no pub, but 400m beyond the church is the village shop and tea room.
The walk sets out through parkland offering a great view of Rotherfield Park. Look closely and you’ll see what looks like a castle to one side of it, known as Gardener’s Tower, built in the 1850’s. The house starred in films and TV shows, including horror film parody, House of the Long Shadows (1983) and Agatha Christie’s Poirot After the Funeral (2006).
After passing near the house, the walk skirts round Plash Wood before dropping back into the valley. On the way there is a view of Pelham Place, a large gleaming-white early 19th century Tudor-styled house just to the north. The route crosses the former trackbed of the Meon Valley Railway which ran between Alton and Fareham, opening in 1903 and closing to passengers in 1955. We continue through fields and woods on the east of the valley before heading back, with a distant view of Rotherfield Park.
• Start/finish: East Tisted, layby on west side of A32 (SU700322)
• Map: OS Explorer 132 and 133
• Distance: 4.5 miles (7.1km)
• Terrain: Ups and downs, tracks and paths which can be muddy, stiles and gates, short sections of road
• Time: 2.5 hours without stops
• Refreshments: No pubs on the walk; village shop and tea room in village
• More Information: To find out more about Steve, including his books, visit: www.steve-davison.co.uk
1 (SU700322) – From the layby, turn left (north) alongside the A32 to the driveway on the left; some 60m along the lane opposite is St James’ Church. Turn left and follow the drive past the gatehouse, cross the cattle grid and continue gently uphill with views of Rotherfield Park. Pass another cattle grid and as the drive swings left towards the house, go straight on following a waymarked path through the trees. Cross a stile and follow the right-hand field edge, with Plash Wood on right. At the field corner cross the stile and continue along the right-hand field margin. Leave over a stile at the corner, bear half-left for a few metres and cross a third stile. Turn right and follow the right-hand field margin.
2 (SU692331) – At the field corner exit over a stile and turn right along the track, keeping Plash Wood on the right. Head down to a track junction and turn left down towards Lodge Farm; over to the left is Pelham Place. With care, cross the A32 and follow the signed path into the field and head up to the trees. Go up the bank and immediately turn right; warning – straight on there is a steep drop down the embankment. Having turned right, follow the path for 100m to a marker post, then turn left across the former trackbed and up the other side. Now turn left for 100m to arrive at a point opposite where you entered the wood. Turn right through the trees.
3 (SU707331) – Exit the wood and continue across the field. Pass through a strip of woodland and continue through the next field, passing just to the right of a pylon. Keep ahead through another field, aiming just to the right of the buildings at Shotters Farm. Turn right down the hedge-lined track (Shotters Lane). Cross the lane and follow the track opposite for 350, passing a barn. Turn right over a stile, head up to the top edge of the field and turn left, staying in the field and following the top edge to a stile in the corner. Go over this and head through the trees to enter a field over another stile. Head slightly left across the field, cross a stile and bear half-right to the hedge and leave the field over a stile.
4 (SU709317) – Cross the lane and enter the field opposite, follow the track alongside the right-hand hedge, soon passing under the power-lines. At the field corner, exit onto a track and turn left for 175m. After the gate on the right, turn right and follow the path through the trees. Continue down through the field to a stile and gate in the lower left corner. Keep ahead to the road (A32). Turn right alongside the road – take care as there is no pavement for the first 50m – before crossing the road back to the layby.