Hampshire walk: Upton Grey and a Gertrude Jekyll garden
- Credit: Steve Davison
Explore the countryside around Upton Grey and discover one of the most complete Gertrude Jekyll gardens in the UK says Steve Davison
From the picturesque duck pond at Upton Grey the walk heads through fields and woods to reach the neighbouring villages of Weston Patrick and Weston Corbett. Originally known just as ‘Westone’ in the Domesday Book, the additional names were derived from 13th century owners of the manors - in the case of Weston Patrick it was Patrick de Chaworth, whilst Weston Corbett was held by Thomas Corbett.
Weston Patrick, where the well-known gardener, writer and TV broadcaster, Monty Don spent his younger days, is home to St Lawrence’s Church. Originally built in the 12th century, the church was rebuilt in a Victorian Gothic style by Thomas Henry Wyatt - members of the Wyatt family lived at Weston Corbett House.
We leave the two villages behind and head through fields and along broad tracks passing Dower Farm to reach a track junction to the north of Upton Grey. It was through this area that the former Roman Road between Chichester and Silchester ran. From here we head for Upton Grey, to arrive at The Manor House - incidentally, the ‘grey’ part of Upton Grey is derived from the Norman family of de Grey who once owned the manor.
In 1906, Charles Holme, who had become interested in the work of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement, bought the 15th century Manor House. In 1908, he commissioned the renowned garden designer, Gertrude Jekyll, to transform the garden to include a wild garden, a kitchen garden and a formal garden.
In 1984, by which time the house and garden had become neglected and overgrown, the manor was bought by the present owners and they have faithfully restored the gardens to their original splendour, making them one of the most complete gardens designed by Gertrude Jekyll.
The garden is open during the summer, Monday to Friday till the end of July (www.gertrudejekyllgarden.co.uk). The final part of the walk heads down past St Mary’s Church, which dates back to Norman times, before passing the village hall and shop to arrive back at the duck pond - the Hoddington Arms is just a short walk away.
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• Distance: 5.25 miles (8.4km)
• Time: 2.5 hours without stops
• Terrain: Ups and downs, tracks and paths, some stiles and gates, sections of country road
• Start/Finish: Limited roadside parking beside the pond in Upton Grey, 2.5 miles of A339 (SU699482)
• Map: OS Explorer 144
• Refreshment: The Hoddington Arms
1) (SU698482) - From the junction beside the duck pond follow the road south-west (towards Weston Patrick and Herriard) for 350m and turn left through a kissing gate. Head up through the field and through a kissing gate at the top.
2) Bear right and left through the trees and then straight on along the gravel track. Pass though the trees (old pit on the right), ignoring a path to the right and left, and follow the gravel track.
3) At the top of the rise, just after the track curves right, turn left through the trees and follow the track to a T-junction. Turn right and where the track swings left, go straight on following a path through Privett Copse. Keep ahead at the dip passing through Little Park Copse.
4) (SU696466) - Leave the woodland and continue through the field, passing the powerlines, to a track. Go straight on down the hedge-lined track past some buildings and past a gate in Weston Patrick. Follow the lane as it swings right and left past St Lawrence’s Church, then down to the main road.
5) Cross straight over and follow the path along the left-hand edge of the field and then turn left through the trees. Turn right along the lane for 200m and where the lane curves left at a house, turn right over a stile, follow the fence on the left and then continue straight on up through the field.
6) (SU683474) - Near the top stay to the left of the buildings and then turn left along the gravel track. Cross the stile beside the gate and turn right along the lane for 200m, soon passing the entrance to Reed House Farm.
7) Turn right through a small gate and follow the track (bridleway) for 600m to a junction shortly after passing the farm. Here dogleg left off the track and keep ahead between the young trees (on the left) and hedge (on the right).
8) Pass under the powerlines, cross over the tarmac track and head through the trees. Cross straight over the road and take the track opposite (byway) for three-quarters of a mile to a track junction.
9) (SU691496) - Turn right along the gravel track for half a mile and where the track curves right, fork left and then immediately fork right following a path through the trees with a house on the right. Cross the stile and keep ahead, diagonally down through two fields separated by a stile.
10) Cross a stile at the bottom and turn right along the lane in Upton Grey. At the junction turn left - shortly on the left is the ancient yew tree and the entrance drive to the Manor House where you can visit the gardens until the end of July. Continue down the lane passing St Mary’s Church, then the village hall and shop back to the junction beside the pond - 100m to the left is the Hoddington Arms pub.
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