Steve Davison on the hunt for the famous golden postbox in Bentworth
PUBLISHED: 12:32 20 May 2014 | UPDATED: 12:42 20 May 2014
© Steve Davison
Steve Davison leads the way on a 5 mile walk exploring the countryside around Bentworth, keeping an eye out for its famous golden postbox
Our walk this month starts beside St Mary’s Church in the picturesque village of Bentworth. At the time of Edward the Confessor the land formed part of a royal manor which, following the Norman Conquest, was given by Henry I to the Archbishop of Rouen (France), and it was his successors who built the church during the 12th and 13th centuries. Several hundred years later, Monsigneur Andre Pailler, the then Archbishop of Rouen, dedicated the lovely stained glass window commemorating Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee in 1978.
In the churchyard, near the War Memorial, is the Bentworth Thorn, a descendant of the Holy Thorn of Glastonbury. According to legend, Joseph of Arimathea thrust his staff into the ground at Glastonbury where it took root and flourished, flowering each Christmas. Unfortunately, the original tree was felled by Oliver Cromwell’s soldiers during the Civil War.
From the church we head across open farmland to join the Oxdrove Way near Rushmoor Pond; this long distance route follows tracks that were once used for droving cattle. After meandering along the track we pass Gaston Grange and head through Gaston Woods – a great place to see bluebells in late spring and early summer – before following Mucklands Lane back to Bentworth. Just after passing the pond look right for a glimpse of Hall Place. This medieval hall-house was the original manor house before the present Bentworth Hall was built.
At the village green, overlooked by some lovely cottages, is The Star Inn, which is home to the annual Bentworth Blues Festival held in August. Nearby is the village’s most recent addition – a gold painted post box – celebrating Peter Charles who was a member of the UK equestrian jumping team that won gold at the 2012 Olympics.
From here you can head straight back to the church which cuts one mile off the walk, or continue on a circular loop through open fields and along tracks and lanes to pass The Sun Inn before heading through the churchyard back to the start.
Distance: 5 miles (8.2km)
Time: 21/2 hours without stops
Terrain: Some ups and downs, tracks and paths which can be muddy, gates and stiles (all dog friendly) and sections of road
Start/Finish: Limited parking beside the church in Bentworth, a short way off the A339; grid ref SU665402
Map: OS Explorer 144
Refreshments: Bentworth – The Star Inn (01420 561224); The Sun Inn (01420 562338)
How did you find our walk this month? Get in touch via @hampshirelife on twitter and facebook and let us know...
1 (SU665402) – From the church head back to the main street and bear left towards the village green. Turn right along the northern edge of the green and turn right through a kissing gate in the corner. Here the path splits, take the left-hand fork alongside the fence on the left. Cross the stile and keep ahead through two fields separated by another stile. Cross over the lane and follow the path through the field keeping the hedge on your left, later with a fence on the right to join an enclosed path; to the right is Powells Farm. Turn left to a track by some trees and turn right gently uphill to the trees.
2 (SU653408) – Head diagonally left (west) across the large field, aiming for the top left corner, to reach a track just south of the tree-shaded Rushmoor Pond. Turn left along the track (Oxdrove Way), soon descending towards Ashley Farm. Keep ahead along the concrete track as it passes the houses to reach a road and bear left (straight on). At the sharp left-hand bend go straight on past the gate and follow the enclosed track (byway) for slightly over 1/2 mile to a track junction.
3 (SU647391) – Turn left through a gap in the hedge following a waymarked path up beside a high fence. Go through a gate and keep ahead following the fence through another gate; to the right is Gaston Grange. Keep ahead through Gaston Wood and after 200m fork left (north-east). Later, leave the wood and follow the left-hand field margin as it soon curves left and then right. Follow the track (Mucklands Lane) past Wellers Place Farm and later bear left along the road, soon passing the pond to a track (Tinker’s Lane) on the right. Ahead is the village green, The Star Inn and the gold painted Post Box (for the shorter walk turn left at the roundabout and then bear right back to the church).
4 (SU663400) – To continue the walk turn right (left if coming back from the village green) along Tinker’s Lane (track), heading south for 400m to a crossing path. Turn left, cross the stile and follow the left-hand hedge. At the kink in the hedge, leave the field and keep ahead through the hedge gap, now with the hedge on the right. Go straight through the field before continuing alongside the right-hand hedge through the next field. Leave through a gap in the corner and turn left up along the lane. Continue past The Sun Inn to a T-junction and cross straight over. Follow the enclosed surfaced path, go through a small gate and keep ahead through the churchyard passing to the left of the church before leaving through the lychgate.
See more walks and other ideas on getting out and about in Hampshire here.