Hampshire walk through Pamber Forest
- Credit: Steve Davison
Follow Steve Davison as he heads north to Little London for a walk through the ancient woodland of Pamber Forest
Our walk this month is based at the village of Little London to the north of Basingstoke, which, until the mid 19th century was a local centre for the production of bricks and tiles. Clay deposits in the surrounding area have been exploited since Roman times and tiles produced here were used in the nearby Roman town of Calleva Atrebatum (near Silchester).
After passing the village pub – The Plough – the walk heads for Pamber Forest. Managed by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, the forest is a remnant of a much larger ancient royal hunting forest. The wildlife trust have a number of marked trails through the forest to allow visitors to explore more of the ancient woodland.
A quick look at the map shows that the Portway, a former Roman road, ran through the forest on its way from Calleva Atrebatum to Sorviodunum (Old Sarum). Later on in the walk, just before Latchmore Green, we cross over the route of the Roman road that ran between Calleva Atrebatum and Venta belgarum (Winchester).
After passing Latchmore Green the walk meanders through fields before a short out and back loop allows a visit to St James’ Church, which dates back to Norman times. If it’s open, take a look at the impressive medieval wall paintings, including the murder of St Thomas a Becket. The final leg of the walk heads west past Bramley Corner back to Little London.
Anyone wanting a shorter walk can follow the short cut just before Latchmore Green, missing out the section past Bramley Corner.
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• Start/finish: limited roadside parking along Silchester Road opposite St Stephens Hall at Little London (SU623592); east off the A340 at Pamber End
• Map: OS Explorer 144 and 159
• Distance: 6.25 miles (10km) or 4 miles (6.5km)
• Terrain: fairly level, tracks and paths, some gates and stiles, sections of road
• Time: 3 hours or 2 hours without stops
• Refreshments: The Plough (01256 850628) at Little London
• More Information: To find out more about Steve, including his books, visit: steve-davison.co.uk
1 (SU623592) – From the layby, cross the road and turn left, following the road through Little London and immediately after The Plough pub (above), turn left and follow the enclosed path. Go through the kissing gate and continue westwards through the large field, ignoring a crossing path, to reach a kissing gate on the far side. Go through to enter Pamber Forest and keep ahead, ignoring a path to the right and at the split fork right to a junction. Go left and then right at the next junction and follow the main path through the wood to reach a wide gravel track.
2 (SU609603) – Turn right and follow the gravel track for just under half a mile to arrive at a T-junction. Turn right for 75m and then fork left, soon passing a seat. Keep to the wide path; there are a number of smaller side paths. Cross a stream and head up the gravel path, soon levelling off and passing another seat. Go through a gate to leave the wood and turn left along the road heading downhill (use the verge on the right). Just before the bridge, turn right over a stile and follow the signed path through the woods to join a track. Bear left along the track (not the path to the left) for 75m.
3 (SU627605) – As the track swings left, fork right. Go through a fence gap and keep ahead. Follow the fence, cross a footbridge and continue following the path as it bears right and shortly enters a field. Continue along the left-hand edge. At the end of the field bear left into the next field and follow the right-hand boundary. Go over a stile beside the large gate to join a lane; here there is a choice to be made:
• Shorter walk: cross straight over and pass the large gate. Follow the field edge through two fields to rejoin the main walk near some buildings and turn right.
• Longer walk: turn left along the lane to a junction at Latchmore Green. Turn right for 75m, and once level with the second thatched cottage, turn left past the large gate. Follow the path ahead. Soon a track joins from the right, continue straight on and keep ahead at the next track junction. Pass under power-lines and leave the track as it bears left, go right for a few metres and then follow the enclosed path. Cross a stile and pass some buildings to join a road.
4 (SU639591) – To visit the church at Bramley turn left along the road for 250m (care required) to a track on the left. Go through the small gate and follow the enclosed path to the church; retrace steps and follow the road westwards to Bramley Corner. If not going to the church turn right along the road (care required as this is quite narrow) to a junction at Bramley Corner. Turn right for a few metres and then left past a large gate. Follow the path through the field, later following the left-hand boundary and passing under power-lines. Cross a stile and follow the enclosed path, crossing two tracks and go over a stile beside a large gate into a field (shortcut rejoins here from the right). Follow the left-hand hedge, heading west, to the far side of the fields. Keep ahead along the track, later passing some stables, to join a road. Turn left to retrace the route back to the parking area.
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