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Hampshire walk - the villages of Upper and Lower Wield

PUBLISHED: 10:24 27 October 2014 | UPDATED: 10:24 27 October 2014

The Ox Drove an old cattle droving route makes for fairly easy walking © Steve Davison

The Ox Drove an old cattle droving route makes for fairly easy walking © Steve Davison

© Steve Davison

Steve Davison leads the way on a walk through the neighbouring villages of Upper and Lower Wield

For this month’s walk we head for the rolling countryside to the west of Alton that forms a patchwork quilt of arable fields and small woods to visit the picturesque villages of Upper Wield and Lower Wield; the former has the church, the latter has the pub.

On setting out from Upper Wield be sure to visit the little Church of St James, which dates from the 12th century. Inside is a late 12th century Purbeck marble font, fragments of a medieval wall painting and an elaborate monument to Sir William Waloppe (d.1617) and his third wife; he was High Sheriff of Hampshire and Mayor of Southampton.

From the church, the walk heads through fields with distant views to reach The Ox Drove. This tree and hedge lined track was once a drove route for cattle and now forms part of the Oxdrove Way, a 25-mile figure-of-eight bridle route. After following the old drove route for one and a quarter miles we head south to join another long distance route, The Three Castles Path, which we follow back to Upper Wield. This 60-mile route between Windsor Castle and Winchester was inspired by the 13th century journeys that King John made via the castle he built near Odiham.

Along the way we pass through Lower Wield, home to the aptly named Yew Tree pub – spot the large yew tree tucked in beside it – before heading across fields to pass the village hall (once the local school) and a tree with a circular seat, which was planted in 2002 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee, before arriving back at The Green.

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Information

• Distance: 5.75 miles (9.2km)

• Time: 2.5 hours without stops

• Terrain: Gentle ups and downs, tracks and paths which can be muddy with stiles (some dog friendly) and gates, sections of quiet road

• Start/Finish: The Green at Upper Wield south-east off the B3046 at Preston Candover, limited on street parking nearby; grid ref SU629386

• Map: OS Explorer 144

• Refreshments: The Yew Tree (01256 389224) at Lower Wield

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1 (SU629387) – From the junction at the southern corner of the village green in Upper Wield, head north along the road signposted for Preston Candover for 50m and turn left along the lane signposted for the church. At a small parking area on the left, turn right along the lane towards the church and village shop. Fork left through the gate into the churchyard. Continue past the church and leave the churchyard in the far right corner. Pass left of a large barn and cross a stile. Keep ahead through two fields separated by a stile, staying right of a small building in the second field and then continuing ahead with a hedge on the right. Cross a stile at the corner and continue alongside the fence (house to the right) to leave over another stile. Turn right along the lane to a right-hand bend.

2 (SU627390) – Here, turn left over a stile beside the gate and follow the driveway for 100m before turning left over a stile. Once in the field turn right and follow the right-hand boundary through two fields for two-thirds of a mile. At the far side of the second field turn left, staying in the field, and follow the right-hand hedge to the corner. Cross a stile and turn left along the lane to a gateway on the right. Go through this and follow the path across the large field, passing a dip mid-field. On joining a shaded byway – The Ox Drove (which is also the Oxdrove Way) – turn down to the right. Cross the road and continue along the track opposite for slightly under a mile to reach a path junction by some trees at Bradley Corner.

3 (SU622416) – Turn sharp right up beside the trees and continue alongside the hedge. Go through into the next field and continue straight on mid-field before following the edge of Park Copse on the left. At the corner continue through the trees, keeping right to enter another field. Continue slightly left to the corner and go through the trees to a crossing track. Cross straight over and continue through the trees into another field. Keep ahead, soon following the left-hand margin. Continue through trees and where the track turns left go straight on over a stile beside the gate, following the fence on the left. Cross a stile into the next field where the path splits.

4 (SU634402) – Take the left fork diagonally across the field. Cross the stile and keep ahead to cross another stile in the far left corner. Follow the enclosed route; go through a kissing gate and down the steps to a lane. Turn right following the lane as it curves right. Soon fork left through a kissing gate, keep ahead through the field aiming just left of the house, go through another kissing gate to a lane and turn left down past the Yew Tree pub. Just after the national speed sign turn right over a stile and follow the field margin on the right. Keep ahead through the next field and pass through some trees. Continue past the village hall and keep ahead across The Green back to the start.

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