Steve Davison takes us on a walk around Binsted
PUBLISHED: 17:09 19 February 2014 | UPDATED: 17:10 19 February 2014
© Steve Davison
Follow Steve Davison on a 4 1/2 mile walk exploring the area around Binsted on the corner of the South Downs
Distance: 4 1/2 miles
Time: 2 hours without stops
Terrain: Some ups and downs, tracks and paths which can be muddy, stiles and gates and sections of road
Start/Finish: Roadside parking at the eastern edge of Binsted, 700m east of the village pub, 3 1/2 miles from the A31 at Alton; grid ref SU779411
Map: OS Explorer 144
Refreshments: Binsted – The Cedars pub (01420 22112)
More Information: To find out more about Steve, including information on his walking books, visit: www.steve-davison.co.uk
Our walk this month takes us to a quiet corner of the South Downs National Park and the hill-top village of Binsted, recorded as ‘Benestede’ by the Norman’s in the Domesday Book. For the most part, the route offers a mix of scenery passing through open undulating farm land with some lovely views as well as meandering past small lakes and woods. Those with a keen eye may spot an oast house (just after Point 4); at one time the area was known for growing hops.
At Binsted, the walk heads through the churchyard passing the grave of Bernard Law (1887-1976), better known as Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery of El Almein who lived at the nearby Islington Mill from 1947. Incidentally, the churchyard is also the final resting place of General Sir David Fraser, former Vice Chief-of-Staff who, during his later years, became a noted military author.
Pop inside the picturesque 12th-century Church of the Holy Cross to admire the colourful 19th-century east window and to see Montgomery’s banner hanging in the nave. Tucked away in the Chantry Chapel is the tomb of a 14th-century Crusader knight, Richard de la Bere, who once owned Westcote manor, once one of several manors in the area.
Surrounding the church is an interesting collection of buildings including the village hall. This was later renamed The Wickham Institute after its benefactor, Mrs Sophia Wickham who lived at Binsted Wyck (she was the grandmother of the Lady Charlotte Bonham Carter – the last descendant of the Wickham family from Binsted Wyck and the great aunt of the actress Helena Bonham Carter).
The final part of the walk leads past The Cedars pub before taking a short detour across fields for a distant view of Telegraph House (private). This was originally built as an Admiralty semaphore station to send signals from London to Plymouth. However, the arrival of the electric telegraph in the 1840’s meant that the line of signal stations was never completed.
1 (SU779411) – From the roadside layby head west along the road towards the village and turn left along the driveway beside the black-timbered Sawmill Cottage. Keep ahead along the enclosed track to a dip. Go straight on following the field edge on the right to a path junction and turn right along the grassy strip passing a lone tree. At the field corner, turn left keeping the field edge on the right, to reach a track. Turn left along the track to some houses and just after passing some fir trees turn right along the track. Continue through two fields to a signpost and path junction.
2 (SU782396) – Turn right across the field, later passing left of a lone tree. Cross the stile and keep ahead through the field to leave over another stile. Continue straight on, soon following a track downhill. Cross over the road and follow the lane opposite, signposted to Stubbs Farm, for 500m. After passing a large barn on the left, turn left to enter a field and then turn right following the right-hand field margin downhill. At the corner bear slightly left across the field and cross a footbridge in the trees. Keep ahead across the grassy area to the trees and bear left steeply uphill to reach an open field.
3 (SU764398) – Turn right to the field corner and bear right down through the trees to a sunken track. Turn right for a short way and then turn left on a signed path to enter a field. Follow the lower field edge through two fields passing a small lake on your right and then continue along the track into the trees to a path junction. Turn right, cross a footbridge and continue up through the trees to enter a field.
4 (SU766408) – Go straight on along the grassy strip to the trees (look north-west for a glimpse of the oast houses and West Court), turn right for 20m and then left, now following the field edge on your left. Enter the churchyard, passing the grave of Viscount Montgomery and follow the surfaced path which passes just to the right of the church. Leave through a gate to join a road (parking left and The Wickham Institute right), go straight across and follow the enclosed path. Later go down the driveway to a road and turn right through the village for 300m passing The Cedars pub. Just after the second junction on the right, turn left across the road and take the track past the house. At the wooden electricity pole turn right across the field for 450m to a marker post (ahead you can see Telegraph House), turn right along the track, later passing some houses, to reach the main road from where we started.