Along the Wayfarers Way to Combe Gibbet

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Lowland and Hill Walks
Mar 31

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11 miles 6 hours

The far northwest corner of Hampshire is dominated by a stretch of high chalk downland tumbling across the Berkshire border.

Our walk starts from a peaceful and ancient village of Ashmansworth, whose chuch is dedicated to Saint James the Great. It is the oldest surviving building in the village, with parts of the Grade I listed church dating from the 12th century, with a brick porch added in 1694 and the east wall rebuilt in 1745. The walls show the remains of medieval wall paintings thought to date from the 14th century and the turret houses three bells dating from 1588 to 1780.

The village is just south west of the top of a ridge line running south. With heights between 235 and 240 metres above sea-level, Ashmansworth is the highest village in Hampshire and a spot height of 242 metres is at the top of the ridge on the north east side of the village makes it one of the highest points in Hampshire.

It lies within the North Wessex Downs (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). Our walk sets off along the wayfarers walk gently ascending to follow the chalk ridge. The ridge overlooks Highclere Castle and Newbury, with views over large areas of Berkshire and North Hampshire. This delightful route passes three hill tops, Pilot hill (286m) being the highest point in Hampshire, Walbury Hill the highest chalk hill in England at 297m, and then Inkpen hill, at 289m.

At the summit of Walbury Hill is Walbury Camp Iron Age hill fort, the start of the Test Way and the Wayfarers Walk. On the adjacent Gallows Down are Combe Gibbet and Inkpen Long Barrow.

Thus far the route has no steep inclines, however our return route crosses a valley to regain height at Combe Hill and so is more undulating.  


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