Hampshire walk around East Worldham
- Credit: Steve Davison
This month head to East Worldham just to the east of Alton, following part of the Hangers Way and visiting Binswood says Steve Davison
East Worldham is an area that has a long history stretching back to the Iron Age. Today, the small village is home to some picturesque houses, the Church of St Mary the Virgin which dates from the 13th century and a pub – The Three Horseshoes. Call in at the church to see some colourful stained glass windows and a 14th century effigy. This was originally thought to commemorate Philippa, wife of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer, however, recent thinking suggests it might commemorate Margery, widow of John de Venuz, who died in 1329.
After setting out from the village we follow part of the Hangers Way, soon passing King John’s Hill – once crowned by an Iron Age hill fort and later, a medieval royal hunting lodge – to reach Binswood. Owned by the Woodland Trust, this mosaic of broadleaved woodland and grassland offers interest throughout the year from fungi and lichens to flowers and butterflies - anyone wanting a longer walk could easily explore more of the wood and the adjacent Shortheath Common. During August, the fields to the north of Binswood are home to the Jalsa Salana, or annual gathering, of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in UK.
Soon we leave Binswood behind, following Green Lane to Wyck Farm, passing a converted oast house on the way. This was once a hop growing area and the hops were dried in oast houses before being used in the brewing industry - there is another oast house along Wyck Lane in East Worldham. The final leg heads through fields, crossing Pookles Lane, which follows a short part of a former Roman road that ran between Silchester and Chichester (the remains of a Roman villa were found near Wyck Place) before passing the church to arrive back at the car park.
• Distance: 4.5 miles (7.2km)
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• Time: 2.5 hours without stops
• Terrain: Some ups and downs, tracks and paths which can be muddy, gates, sections of road (pavement)
• Start/Finish: Car park beside St Marys Church (SU750381) along Church Lane off the B3004 in East Worldham, just east of Alton
• Map: OS Explorer 133
• Refreshment: The Three Horseshoes (01420 83211) at East Worldham
1 (SU750381) - From the parking area head back along Church Lane to the main road (B3004) and turn left. Follow the pavement eastwards for 200m, soon heading downhill, and then turn right across the road to the track. Take the right-hand of the two tracks, soon passing just right of a large barn and after a track joins from the left, turn left through a kissing gate. Follow Hangers Way diagonally right down across the field, aiming to the right of two ponds. Go through a gate and continue with the pond on the left. Pass a large gate and stile and follow the path half-right, following a line of trees - up to the left is the wooded King John’s Hill.
2 (SU755375) - Go through a kissing gate and continue through the trees, soon turning right and heading downhill to a kissing gate. Follow the left-hand fence through the field, then continue through small gates either side of a footbridge. Keep ahead through the large field, passing the power lines. Go through a small gate and cross the footbridge to enter Binswood. Immediately turn left and follow the grassy strip past trees and scrub for two thirds of a mile, staying close to the left-hand boundary and later passing a large metal pylon. Keep left to the corner, leave through a kissing gate and bear left along the track.
3 (SU768379) - Cross over the main road (B3004) and keep ahead through the trees. Continue slightly left across the field to the far side and exit onto a bridleway. Cross the footbridge and follow the tree-shaded route (Green Lane) for half a mile. Ignore a path to the left and follow the bridleway as it swings right and then left. Continue alongside the trees with a fence and field on your left and then continue across the field to the gate. Follow the track uphill and then continue along the tarmac lane for 200m - spot the converted oast house on the left.
4 (SU759396) - Once level with the house entrance on the right, turn left into the field. Here the path splits, take the left-hand fork alongside the field edge, keeping the trees on the left and then continue alongside the wall. Go through gates either side of the driveway and keep ahead through the large field, crossing a concrete track on the way. Cross straight over the tree-lined track (Pookles Lane) and continue across the field to a four-way junction. Keep ahead through the kissing gates, then along the enclosed path to another kissing gate. Continue through the churchyard, keeping left of St Mary’s Church, leave through a gate and bear right to arrive back at the parking area.
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