Hampshire walk at Ashford Hill
- Credit: Steve Davison
Follow Steve Davison as he heads to Ashford Hill in North Hampshire for a peaceful wander through fields, woods and national nature reserve
Our walk this month is based in the North Hampshire village of Ashford Hill, home to some picturesque thatched cottages, a Victorian pub, The Ship Inn and the Victorian Gothic-styled church – St Pauls – though this lies some distance from the village centre. From the recreation ground the outward section of the walk meanders through woodlands and fields to arrive at Baughurst.
From here the walk back to Ashford Hill follows part of the 78-mile long Brenda Parker Way (BPW). Developed by the Hampshire Ramblers in memory of a local walking enthusiast, Brenda Parker died in 2008 and helped to maintain footpaths as well as lobbied for countryside access for more than 30 years. The long distance path meanders through North Hampshire between Aldershot and Andover.
The final part of the walk heads through Ashford Hill National Nature Reserve with its mix of low-lying meadows and woodland. The nature reserve is home to a range of plants, trees and over 30 species of butterfly. On arriving back in the village the Ship Inn, with a view across the nature reserve, is just a short walk away.
• Distance: 5.25 miles (8.5km)
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• Time: 2.5 hours without stops
• Terrain: Ups and downs, tracks and paths which can be very muddy, some stiles and gates, short sections of road
• Start/Finish: Parking area beside the recreation ground in Chapel Lane, off the B3051 in Ashford Hill (SU555621)
• Map: OS Explorer 159
• Refreshment: The Ship Inn (0118 981 4504) at Ashford Hill
1 (SU555621) - From the car park, head down Chapel Lane and turn right along the B3051 for 300m. Shortly after the junction (Ashford Hill Road), turn left across the road and follow the track down past the garage buildings to a dip. Continue uphill and as the track swings left, keep ahead along a narrow path. Go through a small gate, keep ahead at a crossing track and continue for 300m to another track. Turn left, then almost immediately turn right along the grassy ride. Later keep ahead along the track. Pass a vehicle barrier to join a track (bridleway) at a bend and turn left along the track. At a split, fork right (yellow arrow) past a vehicle barrier and follow the track. Where the main track swings left, keep right (straight on) along a path, staying close to the woodland edge and soon heading down to a dip. Cross the footbridge, head uphill and then follow the track to join a lane.
2 (SU565606) - Turn right then left at the junction, heading downhill. After the sharp right bend turn sharp left past a gate. Follow the enclosed path (track) for 150m. Do not go through the gate ahead, but turn left through a small gate and follow the tree-shaded path. At the end, turn left through a kissing gate to a track and turn right. Later, keep ahead along the surfaced track to a lane. Cross straight over, go through a kissing gate and follow the fenced path. Cross a stile and footbridge and keep ahead. Keep left at the split, go through a kissing gate and follow the track as it soon swings left. Ignore a crossing track and follow the track as it swings right. Go through the small gate, go straight over the gravel drive, then through a small gate and continue past a cottage to join a lane.
3 (SU583610) - Turn left through Baughurst, passing Upper Farm and immediately after the converted chapel, turn left along Chapel Lane (Brenda Parker Way). Follow the track as it swings left at Curtis Farm, then go through a gate and follow the hedge-lined track gently downhill. Go through a kissing gate and follow the right-hand field edge. Head into the trees and follow the plank walkway, cross a footbridge and enter a field. Turn right and follow the right-hand field edge as it swings left. At the far corner, pass a large gate and turn right along Violet Lane to a T-junction. Turn right, then left along Inhurst Lane. As the lane curves right, go left past a large gate and follow the left-hand hedge. At the end of the hedge turn right through the middle of the field.
4 (SU571616) - On entering the wood the path splits, take the left fork. At the track go left and then almost immediately right following a path with a fence on the right. Ignore a bridleway to the left and one to the right, to enter a field. Keep ahead and in the middle of the field fork right to a kissing gate. Go through and follow the path as it swings left, soon with a stream on the left, crossing several plank walkways. Turn left through a kissing gate, cross the bridge into the meadow and turn right following the trees on the right. Later a path joins from the right, keep ahead and soon leave the reserve through a kissing gate and continue to the B3051 - 100m to the right is The Ship Inn. Cross straight over and follow Old Lane, keep left at the junction before turning left to the recreation ground and car park.
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