Affluent Hoods and Ancient Woods Northwest of Winchester (2)

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Lowland and Hill Walks
Sep 05

14 people attending

6 places left

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Distance is 23 km (14 miles); total ascent is 342 m; terrain is undulating with one main long gradual ascent and descent and others; surfaces are dirt, grass and tarmac (a lot of the walk will be on tarmac).

This is the version of the walk aimed at those coming by train. It will be led by Gavin Blackman. Please find Simon Ellicott's car-based version by clicking here.

Using (and at the end of the walk, reusing) a straight route out of Winchester, we'll be out onto the downs in no time where their late summer splendour, sweeping scenery and dense woodland will delight our senses. Coming off the downs we'll come to the village of Crawley which was remodelled by an industrialist in around 1900 to perk up its prettiness. The result is quite eclectic with original Georgian and Tudor buildings mixed up with their mock successors and timber-framed cottages that seem rustic, arts and crafts or even Bavarian. After that, the village of Sparsholt will seem like an anticlimax (or a relief) but is equally lovely (if not more so) as its beauty is less contrived.

The sights:

Farley Mount Country Park: The Woodland Trust state that Farley Mount Country Park (named after the famous monument to a horse, named "Beware Chalk Pit", which later carried its owner to a racing victory in 1734) is 'a large area of open country and woods, including chalk down grass land, Forestry Commission plantation and Crabwood which is ancient woodland Local Nature Reserve...a popular place to relax and view woodland wildlife...Over 80 hectares (200 acres) of broadleaved woodland, hazel coppice with oak/ash overstorey, and rich with woodland flowers.'

Crawley: Transformed into a model village by the Otto Ernst Philippi, managing director of J & P Coats Ltd of Paisley, the thread manufacturers, from 1900. His home, Crawley Court, is now the headquarters of Arqiva which is responsible for most of the UK's TV broadcasting infrastructure. The ITV's text service Oracle was invented there, and NICAM was developed. We might see the house and extensive transmitter array at a distance. St Mary's Church is of Norman origin, but the nave and aisles are late C14 and the church tower top is 1901. The Dower House is early C17 but with a Neo-Tudor extension, noticeably the water tower. The timbered and gabled Fox and Hounds pub was recreated in 1907. Orchard Cottage and Orchard End cottages are the most appealing, as are those near the pond which is where we'll have lunch.  

Sparsholt: On a slight hill giving a lovely view and with good arts and crafts housing among the thatched cottages. St Stephen's Church was rebuilt by William Butterfield, 1882-3, although incorporating many earlier fragments. The three Netherlandish sculptures of C16 are worth seeing. Around the village are some fine trees such as redwoods and a grove of cedars at the war memorial. Sparsholt College teaches agricultural qualifications. The main building is Neo-Georgian, 1929; library is 1993. 

The route (please click the link): 

Walking along the busy B3049 northwest through Fulflood and Weeke in Winchester (there's a pavement) will bring us to the edge of the city where we'll pick up Lanham Lane which will take us to Sarum Road which will in turn bring us to the woodland and grassland of Crab Wood and Farley Mount Country Park. Descending through the wood northwards we'll reach a byway that will take north then northeast and over the B3049 Stockbroidge Road. A country lane will take us to Crawley where we'll walk through the village and have lunch. Footpaths and bridleways will take us south to Sparsholt College and east to Sparsholt village and continuing south east, Dean Lane will take us back to the Weeke area of Winchester where we'll retrace out steps back to the starting point. 


I love having dogs on my walks and this walk is moderately suitable as there will be woodland and arable land for the dog to run free, but also some sheep pasture and country lanes where the dog will have to be leashed. Warm weather could be exhausting for them and any dog off a lead must be obedient. 

COVID-19 - IMPORTANT: Please read the following before you sign up to this event:

  • Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, even if they are extremely mild, or who lives or is in a support bubble with someone showing symptoms, is asked not to attend. This is in line with the government’s coronavirus advice.
  • All are required to practice social distancing – staying 2m (not 1m) apart at all times, including the lunch stop.
  • Unfortunately, there won’t be any planned pub / café stops en route or at the end, and please don’t share sweets or snacks with others – we’re sorry!
  • Please bring your own hand sanitising gel for your own use throughout the day. Use of face coverings is at your own choice, but please bring one with you just in case it's needed. 
  • Each person should only attend one OutdoorLads event a week. (Leaders excepted on events if they are leading.)
  • On walks, one person to hold open gates and allow everyone to walk through – so minimising surfaces that multiple people touch. 
  • Be aware that opportunities for toilet stops may be minimal if facilities are closed.
  • Please, please cancel at your earliest opportunity if you are unable to attend or are unwell, so that we can allow others to take up these valuable event spaces.
  • Much as it's difficult - no handshakes or hugs!

COVID-19: Participation Statement

OutdoorLads draws your attention to the fact that travelling and being away from home increases the risk of receiving and transmitting Coronavirus, whilst it is present in the UK. You are likely to choose not to participate in OutdoorLads events whilst there is a risk of Coronavirus transmission. However, should you choose to participate in OutdoorLads events whilst the risk is present, you must be aware of and follow the law and government guidelines, both when travelling to and from events as well as when participating in events.

Please note that every person participating should be aware of (and accept) that those members perceived as ‘in charge’ or leading the event are not experts,  do not need to be experts, and are not regarded by OutdoorLads, or themselves as experts, but are amateurs with some experience in the event type and who are happy to impart their knowledge.  Any advice given should be considered with this in mind by the recipient.

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(Picture credits: Monument View by Richard Dorrell; Track in Farley Mount Country Park by Richard Dorrell; Near Lanham Lane by Pierre Terre; Crabwood Vale by Pierre Terre; Farmland seen from the Sparsholt Road by Barry Shimmon; Clarendon Way in Farley Mount Country Park by Chris Heaton; Leafy path near Up Somborne by David Martin; The Fox And Hounds, Crawley by Maigheach-gheal; Thatched cottage, Crawley by David Martin; St. Mary, Crawley, Hampshire by Andrew Mathewson; Crawley, The Dower House by Chris Talbot; Crawley - Village Street by Chris Talbot; Pretty Thatched Cottages in Crawley by Maigheach-gheal; Crawley's Village Pond by Barry Shimmon; St Stephen's Church, Sparsholt by Jon S. All pictures are attributed to their copyright holders and are licensed for re-use under Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0.)


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