Droxford - Hambledon Circular
12 people attending
0 places left
9 people waitlisted
The valley of the River Meon in Hampshire is celebrated for its prettiness, but many only know it from driving along the A32. The only way to really savour the riverside cottages, ancient churches and cosy pubs since the railway line was cut in 1968 is to leave the car and set out on foot, of course. Whereas the villages are charming, the landscape can be a little imposing, with the highest point on the walk being over 200 metres above sea level.
This walk (please click here to see the route at the Ordnance Survey website) begins and ends relatively easily with a walk along the track bed of the aforementioned railway line. At Meonstoke it picks up the South Downs Way and ascends the Iron Age hillfort (600-300 BCE) and national nature reserve of Old Winchester Hill. The hillfort's ramparts enclose much older Bronze Age tumuli dating from 4500 to 3500 BCE. There are still some climbs after this, but in general a relatively easy walk becomes even easier.
However, as you bask in the July sunshine on this wonderful place, it won't be the human history on your mind as much as the natural history. This precious piece of unimproved chalk downland is home many rare butterfly species, including the Adonis blue, chalkhill blue, common blue, dark green fritillary, marbled white, meadow brown, small heath, small skipper, and the speckled wood. There is also a diverse bird population, including the European green woodpecker and the turtle dove. Many species of orchid can be found on the hill including the fly, bee and frog orchids.
Ancient footpaths, lanes and droves will then bring us south to the village of Hambledon. Known as the 'Cradle of Cricket'. It is thought that Hambledon Club, one of the oldest cricket clubs known, was formed in about 1750. The famous Bat and Ball Inn in Hyden Farm Lane is next to the historic cricket ground. The parish church, St Peter's and St Paul's, dates from the 13th century and is built on the site of a Saxon church. It dominates the view up the pretty high street of pastel-coloured cottages.
Heading west over the Downs and across fields arable and pastoral we'll reach the village of Soberton. Here the early 16th-century Church of St Peter and St Paul, and The White Lion, a 17th-century public house stand out in the pretty village scene. The final stretch of the walk will return us to Droxford which has a typical Hampshire village church of sturdy Norman fundamentals. The early Georgian Old Rectory opposite the church is the finest in a village of abundant fine houses and the earliest parts of St Clair's Farm are dated to 1200. Droxford, more to the point, has a perfect pub for the end of the walk: The White Horse.
Dogs are welcome to join us on this event but we do ask the following: Please ensure you adhere to the Countryside Code at all times - see (Keeping Dogs Under Effective Control) If your dog is uncontrolled and strays in open land frightening other animals or livestock, the leader is supported by the OutdoorLads board of trustees to ask you to leave the event as this is not acceptable behaviour.
IMPORTANT! - Participation Statement
You MUST complete a Participation Statement, here, in addition to booking your event space before attending an OutdoorLads event. You only need to complete this Participation Statement once, not for each event you attend.
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 can only attend one OutdoorLads micro event a week. (Leaders to leave at least three days between events they lead.)
- 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!
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.
By signing up to and attending an OutdoorLads micro event, you are confirming that you have read, understood and accept the content of this statement.
(Picture credits: View from Teglease Down: Photo © Chris Gunns (cc-by-sa/2.0); South Downs Way bridleway south of Winchester Hill: Photo © Richard Law (cc-by-sa/2.0); Friesians on Whitewool Hanger: Photo © Richard Law (cc-by-sa/2.0); Road on Teglease Down, Hambledon; Photo © Andrew Smith (cc-by-sa/2.0); High Street, Hambledon: Photo © David Martin (cc-by-sa/2.0); Footpath along Speltham Down: Photo © Peter Facey (cc-by-sa/2.0); South Downs Society Green Travel Walks Week (108): Photo © Basher Eyre (cc-by-sa/2.0); Droxford: Photo © Margaret Sutton (cc-by-sa/2.0). All pictures are copyrighted but are licensed for reuse under Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 2.0 and are here attributed to their copyright holders.)
What to bring
Hand sanitiser and a face covering: whilst we are living with Covid-19, please bring your own to events to help keep everyone safe
Water: bring at least two litres
Medicines: if you have hay fever, diabetes, minor ailments etc.
Day rucksack: typically 20-30 litres, they are comfortable to wear and allow you to use your arms freely
Boots: waterproof and breathable and designed for hiking, trainers are OK if the ground is dry and there’s little chance of rain
Gaiters: recommended for wet weather or boggy conditions
Socks: proper walking socks will keep your feet dry and help prevent blisters
Layered clothing: lets you quickly adapt to changes in the weather and body temperature. Go for a base layer (vest or t-shirt) and a mid layer (a micro fleece or shirt) and in cooler weather add an outer layer (a windproof jacket or thick fleece)
Trousers: ideally no jeans as they become heavy and cold in the rain, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry and on warm days shorts are OK
Waterproof jacket: essential when hiking in all but the calmest of weather, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry
Gloves: Windproof, or better still, waterproof gloves are the best choice, bring a spare pair if expecting rain
Hat or cap: stay warm in winter and shaded in summer
Sunglasses: for any sunny day, even in winter
Sun cream: can be useful even on cloudy and winter days
Snacks: bring biscuits, energy bars, gels, bananas, chocolate or dried fruit for example and put them somewhere easy to get hold of
Lunch: bring a packed lunch
Food & drink
Please bring a packed lunch and plenty to drink with you as there is nowhere to get lunch on the walk although a pub stop may be in the offing. Bring enough to drink (2 litres minimum is recommended) if the weather is hot.