Hampshire walk around Preston Candover

Just after leaving Preston Candover the walk heads through several fields © Steve Davison

Just after leaving Preston Candover the walk heads through several fields © Steve Davison - Credit: Steve Davison

Follow Steve Davison to Preston Candover for a wander in the rolling countryside between Basingstoke and Alresford

This walk starts at the village of Preston Candover, tucked amongst the gently rolling landscape that lies between Basingstoke, Alton and Alresford. The name is derived from ‘Prestecandevere’ meaning ‘Candover of the priests’; the Candover part probably stems from ‘caniodubri’ which means ‘clear waters’, referring to the stream that rises from several springs just to the south of the village.

The Manor of Preston Candover was first mentioned during the reign of Edward III when it was held by the Hoyville family, although before this date the manor may have been called Candover Scotland. In 1368, the manor passed to William de Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, before passing through a succession of families until it was sold to George Long, a Parliamentarian during the Civil War, however, during the conflict the manor house was destroyed.

From the car park we follow the main street southwards to reach the village green with its war memorial, old water pump and pub, the Purefoy Arms; ahead of us is the late 19th-century Church of St Mary the Virgin. The village did have a much older church, built in the 12th century situated further to the south. Sadly, following a fire, only part of this church, which is cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust, remains.

We then head through fields to Bradley Corner and shortly join the Three Castles Path as far as the village of Bradley. This 60-mile long distance route runs from Windsor Castle to Winchester via Odiham Castle and is based on the journeys of King John during the 13th-century.

The little village of Bradley, first mentioned in a charter made by Edward the Elder in 909, has a number of picturesque thatched cottages near to the village pond, whilst a short way to the east near Upper Farm, is All Saints Church. Parts of the church date from the 13th century, although it was mostly rebuilt in 1870s.

After leaving Bradley we join the Oxdrove Way – a 25-mile off-road figure-of-eight route – for a short while before following Oak Hill Lane back towards the village; on the way there is a view of Preston House to the west. The house, built by William Guidott, in the 18th-century, is now the home of Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover – member of the Sainsbury’s supermarket family – and his wife, Anya Linden.

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• Start/finish: Parking area opposite the primary school in Preston Candover (SU607418) on the B3046 between Basingstoke and Alresford

• Map: OS Explorer 144

• Terrain: Easy ups and downs, tracks and paths, some gates no stiles, sections of road

• Distance: 4.75 miles (7.5km)

• Time: 2.5 hours without stops

• Refreshments: The Purefoy Arms (01256 389777) at Preston Candover

• To find out more about Steve, including his books, visit: steve-davison.co.uk

The walk

1 (SU607418) – From the parking area, cross over the road and turn right (south) along the pavement to a junction beside the small green and war memorial; just along the main road on the right is the Purefoy Arms pub. We fork left and follow the lane for 50m, with the Church of St Mary the Virgin on the right. After the second thatched cottage turn left through a small gate and follow the enclosed path through two more gates to enter a field. Continue straight on, heading east. Go through a hedge gap and continue through the next field. Go through another hedge gap into the next field where the path splits. Turn left alongside the hedge to a junction with a byway to a small copse at Bradley Corner.

2 (SU622416) – Stay in the field and turn right along the path (with the trees on left). Continue alongside the hedge and go through a gap in the hedge at the field corner. Once in the next field the path splits, turn left up beside the hedge, following the Three Castles Path. Continue through the next field and then keep ahead down the track with the open field on the right. Where the track turns left, go straight and follow the hedge, then keep ahead along the tree-lined track to a lane at Bradley.

3 (SU634416) – Turn left and follow the lane as it swings right with a pond on the left. At the next corner – where the walk follows the lane as it swings left – you can take a short detour up to All Saints Church; fork right up the surfaced track for 125m towards Upper Farm and go through a gate on the right to the church; retrace your steps and turn right along the lane. From the pond follow the lane north-westwards, keep left at the junction (the Three Castles Path goes right), the route is now following the Oxdrove Way. At the cross-roads turn left along the road signposted to Preston Candover for half a mile, ignoring a waymarked track (Oxdrove Way) to the left on the way beside a large barn.

4 (SU623419) – Turn right through a gate and follow the hedge-lined track (bridleway) uphill, later with a wood on the right. Keep ahead, and follow the bridleway down to a T-junction with Oak Hill Lane. Turn left along this track (byway); later you can see Preston House over to the right. Turn right along the lane to a T-junction and turn left towards the village; take care as there is no pavement until you reach the village shop, then continue to reach the parking area on the right.


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