Jan 282006

Distance: 16.9 km (10.4 miles)
Time: approx 5hrs
Height gained: (Not recorded)
Map: Outdoor Leisure 131- Romsey, Andover & Test Valley
Parking: Vernham Dean, adjacent to playing field (SU 344564)
Refreshments: Pub in Vernham Dean (SU 341565) at start/finish (nothing else on route)

View the route in OS Openspace:  Vernham Dean (opens in a new window)

Jan 012005

A previous visit to Dovedale some 2 years earlier saw extemely wet conditions and flooding in Dovedale itself. This year, I had been hoping for better conditions – maybe even a cold bright winter’s day with a hard frost. Alas, I was to be disappointed as the day was very grey and the ground quite waterlooged from previous rain; at least there was no flooding, though! Nevertheless, the walk through Dovedale is worth it regardless of the conditions.

Distance: 17.3 km (approx 10¾ miles)
Time: approx 5 hrs
Height gained: 472 m
Map: Explorer OL24 – The White Peaks
Parking: Parwich (SK 190543)
Refreshments: Seasonal small take-way at Milldale (SK 148548)
“Peverill of the Peak” Hotel (SK 157506)
“Sycamore Inn”, Parwich (SK187547)

View the route in OS Openspace: Parwich, Dovedale & Tissington

The starting point for this walk was for me partly dictated by the fact that I had rented a cottage in Parwich but in reality can be started from anywhere on the route. I would recommend the site of the old station at Alsop on the A515 on the Tissington Trail at SK 155549)

Leave the village following the country lane to Alsop. Just after the end of the speed restriction signs, take a path on the L and climb diagonally R across and up the hill. Pass through a squeeze stile (the first of what seems like a hundred or so!) and continue on to cross another stile to join a walled path coming in from R. Continue on heading W and keeping to the ridge. Path to the L of Parwich Lees through what seems like parkland and drop down to cross a lane. Climb another stile into the field and head SW to a stile by a gate still going downhill. After climbing the stile, head still SW and climb fairly steeply uphill, heading for the high point. Pass to the L of a small copse.

The Tissington Trail should now be visible; head towards a bridge under it and continue immediately into a field straight ahead (do not take the more welcoming farm track on the R) and head up to the main A515. Climb a stile and watch carefully to cross the road to turn R and walk along the grass verge. Take the next minor road on L (signed “Alstonefield” and “Milldale”). The short stretch of road walking is almost a welcome relief after the mud of the fields. Just after the 13% road gradient sign, watch for a path on the L. Take this and follow initially generally NW, then SW. Soon there are good views on the R towards the N end of Milldale and the River Dove, then the weirs of the river before soon seeing the lovely little Viator’s Bridge. The path drops very steeply down to the river. With luck, the little cafe in Milldale will be open and offer a range of snacks and drinks.

I had planned to walk on the R bank of the river for a change but having experienced the conditions underfoot earlier, I decided to follow the very popular well-maintained path on the left bank again. So, recrossing the bridge, follow the path S with the river a joyous companion for the next 2 or so miles. This path is extremely popular even in the depths of winter so put on a brave face to the masses and give them a cheery greeting as you pass (or do as some people do and refuse to make eye contact!)

There are many interesting geologic rock formations along this part of the walk. However, I will not be describing any of them and if you want to know more, type “Dovedale” into a search engine and I’m sure you will soon be deluged with information! Apart from a stiff up-and-over a rocky crop all this is very easy walking so enjoy it while it lasts. All too soon, we emerge from the narrow confines and are confronted with the huge Thorpe Cloud rock. This is the first of the string of hills that go now all the way up and beyond the border with Soctland. If you’re still feeling energetic, then its a good climb to the top (but remember that there’s still 2hrs of the walk to go yet!) This is a good place to stop for a breather and watch the world and his wife either huffing and puffing up Thorpe Cloud or else trying to cross the greasy stepping stones across the river to the Staffordshire bank. Alas, no-one fell in whilst I was watching!

Leave the river and the hordes and continue to head generally S climbing up Lindale. Keep to the L at the foot of Hamston Hill and after the brow of the hill, The “Peverill of the Peak” hotel will we seen. Still going L and heading E and then NE to follow the wall and pick up Limestone Way which will be our route back to Parwich. The going under foot is gain very difficult in places. At a turn L to head H before very shortly going R across stiles heading NE again. Cross a minor road and continue on into field all the time heading generally NE. Emerge on to a road and turn R to climb up to the main A515. Continue straight across through an impressive gateway (alas one of the gate pillars has collapsed) now following the minor road into Tissington down a tree-lined avenue.

The village is well worth exploring and it looks as they little has changed over hundreds of years (well, if you ignore the tourists, the TV aerials, the cars…). Our route is up and through the churchyard. Do not take the obvious path to the other side of the churchyard but instead go across the grass and pass through a gate out in to the field. Cross diagonally to the L across the field and then head N to emerge on to a minor road. Cross the road and continue on through the next field. Turn R on to a farm track Follow this now heading generally NE and pass over the Tissington Trail. The track swings L as it drops down towards the farm and as it straightens out again there is a sign on the R to “Parwich 1½ miles”. Drop down to cross the brook and then one last climb of the day back up on to the ridge before dropping down to the village. The car or the cottage is then just a few steps away!

A wonderful day out and it’s reminded me of why I like coming to Derbyshire whenever I can.

Mar 212003

A walk taking in some of east Hampshire’s prettiest villages, with good views and generally good conditions under foot although can be muddy in places after rain. We were fortunate to walk this on a glorious spring day.

Distance: 8 miles (approx 12km)
Time: approx 2½ hrs.
Height gained: 249 m
Map: Explorer 119
Parking: Adjacent to Village Hall and Church (SU 606182)
Refreshments: Pubs – Exton (SU613208), Meonstoke (SU 612201)
and Droxford (SU 613186 and SU 606183)

View the route in OS Openspace: Droxford (opens in a new bowser window) or Droxford (opens in an image window)

From the car park, cross the A32 and walk along Hacketts lane, following the Wayfayers Way signs, heading W. Continue straight on to a path where the road turns R. Continue towards the hill ahead. At the foot of the hill, turn R and continue to follow the Wayfarers Way signs. After about 0.5km, as the path starts to descend on a more defined track, watch for a turning to the, almost hidden in the hedgerow. Take this path, leaving the Wayfarers Way, and continue climbing to cross a stile just before a minor road.

Continue across the road on to a very pleasant bridleway, heading generally W, then very soon almost S. Turn sharp R and descend heading N to a minor road. Follow the road straight ahead and a short while after the road swings L heading W, turn R to head N again to pass by a farm on the R and then a lovely house with a walled garden on the L. Continue on to enter a copse.

Continue straight across the B3035 across a field. At the time of the walk, the field had been very recently ploughed and there was no obvious path but the next marker can be seen straight ahead. Immediately after crossing the field at Bottom Copse, turn R to follow a bridleway heading east, then turn L at the farm to head N.

Cross another minor road and continue heading N into Corhampton Forest. At a T junction with another path, turn R and head E and then SE. Cross a minor road and continue straight on. The track now drops quite steeply. Just after passing a farm on the R, continue straight ahead on to a lane. Where the lane turns L, turn R on to a footpath, now heading S passing the infant River Meon and then over a stile before a wonderful old house (see photo above) just before emerging on to the busy A32. Turn R at the road, cross the road and continue heading S a short way, turning L (to head E) at a minor road signposted Meonstoke. Pass Meonstoke Church on the L (see photo above) and then a pub, climbing. At the road junction, turn R, now heading S, and continue along the minor road. Where the road turns L continue on into the entrance of a school. Pass by a school on the L and continue on a footpath.

Turn R at a minor road and climb slightly. Just after passing Meonstoke House watch for a gravel driveway on the R – the path can be seen to enter a small copse, running parallel with the minor road. At the road (B2150) turn L and then R on to Mill Lane, heading generally SW. Descend gradually to cross the delightful River Meon and then follow alongside the river, heading S, to pass by the lovely old Droxford Mill (now a private home -photo above) on the R. Continue straight across a stile until the churchyard of Droxford Church (see photos above). Turn R to enter the church yard, picking up the Wayfarers Way again. Pass through a final gate and the car should be straight in front.

A lovely walk for a warm spring day!

Jan 012003

Distance: 13.9 km (approx 8.6 miles)
Time: approx 3hrs
Height gained: (Not recorded)
Map: Outdoor Leisure 24
Parking: Parwich (SK 190543)
Refreshments: Pubs at Parwich (SK 187543) and Fenny Bentley (SK 175499),
Refreshment kiosk at Tissington (SK 177520)

View the route in OS Openspace: Parwich, Fenny Bentley & Tissington (opens in a new window)

From Parwich, leave in the SE direction and walk to where the road turns sharp left. Bear right and follow a track past the sewage works. Continue on a footpath, now heading more of less to the south where the track turns right into a field. Pass Sitterlow Farm and continue straight on, ignoring the farm tack as it swings up hill. As the path contours around the hill, turn to the left and make for a footbridge in the bottom RH corner of the field. Head up hill, crossing a stile. There is no clear route on the ground, but head to the left of the peak do not climb it as you will have to come down part of the way again. I learnt the hard way! Watch for another stile still heading upwards and then carry on, keeping the way on the right. Cross a minor road and descend to Lea Cottage Farm. Bear right before the farmhouse itself and climb uphill again, now heading generally SW. Follow the farm track for a way and watch for a valley starting to form on the right. As the track approaches the trees on the right, drop down to the valley and look for a stile. This can be difficult to find. Cross the stream, and turn slightly to the left and head uphill.

The next stile should be on the skyline. At the time of my walk, cattle had been in the field until fairly recently and had churned what should be grass into a very clinging mud. Climb the stile and then drop down hill again to cross another stream, this time by a planked bridge. However, at the two gateways either side of the stream , it was extremely muddy under foot. After another stile, there is the welcome sight of a tarmaced farm track and walking now is bliss in comparison the past mile or so! Continue SW past Woodeaves Farm, dropping downhill still. Pass a sign pointing, reassuringly, to Fenny Bentley. Just before Woodeaves Mill, turn sharp right and head NW on another metalled farm track. Immediately before the Farm, turn right and now head generally W all the time towards the noise from the traffic on the A515. At the main road, turn R then cross the road (caution – blind bend either way!) and head into the church yard. Now heading SW again, keep the wall on the left and pass through a garden or two to emerge in front of the school. Keep straight on across a field to a farm track. Ignore the footpath sign pointing straight ahead but turn R and then left a sign pointing to Thorpe. Now heading W. climb the hill, again very boggy.

Continue across the stile and the Tissington Trail should soon be seen. At the next stile, head NW towards an obvious bridge on the Tissington Trail. Cross a footbridge over a stream, pass under the Tissington Trail and immediately turn R to climb on to the Trail itself. Our route to the left (heading N) but just a few metres to the R is a welcome picnic table and a shelter at the site of the old Thorpe station. The Tissington Trail is a popular route and shared with cyclists and horse riders so keep an ear out for those. The novelty of a well-drained and hard surface of the Trail very quickly palls as the Trail enters the Fenny Bentley cutting and views become almost non-existent – never mind! Continue on the Tail as it passes through the site of the old Tissington station, heading now NE. The Trail starts to swing NW and views open out to the NE. As an overbridge appears, keep an eye out on the left for a diverging path. Follow this to a metalled track and turn right to cross the Trail. As the tracks swings round to the left, watch for a footpath sign pointing R to Parwich. Descend the hill, heading NE towards to obvious ascent ahead. The ascent is fairly steep but is soon over. Cross a stile and the end of the route is soon visible. Keep the field boundary to your left at first and watch for a stile on the left towards the base of the hill. Cross the stile and drop down to the road in Parwich.A very satisfying jaunt no matter what the weather or the conditions underfoot.

Apr 051999

This walk takes in some of the finest scenery in Hampshire and one of its more famous villages, Selborne. Park in the centre of Hawkley, where there is plenty of parking and overlooked by the church with its unusual tower.

Distance: 14.5 km (approx 9 miles)
Time: approx 4½ hrs.
Height gained: 223 m
Map: Explorer 133 – Haslemere & Petersfield
Parking: Adjacent to the village green (SU 745292)
Refreshments: Pub at Selborne (SU 742335)

View the route in OS Openspace: Hawkley & Selborne (opens in a new bowser window) or Hawkley & Selborne (opens in an image window)

All images taken in 1999 using a Nikon 950 Coolpix camera. This was then considered to be a high quality camera! I’ll update the photos with more recent ones when I get the chance. Click on an image to display a larger version and then use the navigation buttons in the bottom to move forwards and backwards.

Leave the green by the road to the southwest signposted to Oakshott. Within a few steps pick a bridleway (Hangers Way) and head towards the trees and the hills. At the junction with another bridleway, turn right and follow the bridleway through the lovely wooded area. As well as being particularly attractive, this is the hardest part of the walk as the path can be extremely muddy. At the time of undertaking the walk (late April 1999), several days of rain had made the path very slippery The path is sloped from left to right and follows the angle of the hill. The slippery chalk surface made for difficult walking. Trekking poles would have been very useful! Keep to the bottom of the slope ignoring a path off to left and right.

The path emerges from the woods and becomes considerably easier underfoot. After dropping down to cross a small stream, the path follows the edge of the field before emerging onto aminor road at a very picturesque pond surrounded by hanging willow trees. Turn left up the road and very soon turn right crossing two fields and another minor road before the first serious climb up through Noar Hill Hanger.

At the top of the hill, there is a junction with five other paths. However, we want the only footpath which goes off in a very general direction of north west. After a short while we are out of the woods and soon there are splendid views to the north, together with our next hill.

Cross a very minor road and continue through a small copse to another metalled road. Do not carry on down the road but turn left and immediately right and walk a few yards parallel to the road, passing bee hives, before striking out across the field to emerge opposite a bridleway (more mud!). Continue up the bridleway, gently at first, but more steeply as it enters the National Trust’s Selborne Common.

Again at the top, there is a myriad of paths, most of those to the right will take you to another highlight of the walk, a wonderful view of Selborne. We chose to ignore Church Path, but took the next path on the right , heading north east now towards Selborne. After about a mile, we reach the top of Zig Zag Path, which gives the wonderful view of Selborne. If you are very fortunate, the seat at the top of the hill (just out of view from the route on the right) will be vacant and provides a wonderful place about halfway round our route for a break for refreshments.

After a suitable pause, continue on down Zig Zag Path. At the foot of the hill is an information board, describing the history of the path and the area. Ignoring other paths, continue on towards the road, where you can turn left for the centre of the village. However, our route turns right, generally heading south.

Ignoring minor turnings into housing developments, take the first turning on the left. As the road turns sharply left after crossing a small stream, continue on and as the path emerges from a few trees, turn left at the sign and follow a hedge line towards a row of trees. At the trees, turn right, now passing an apple orchard on the left before emerging on to a minor road. At the road, turn left and carry on past Sotherington Farm. Very soon after, take the path on the right and pass through a cage door into another orchard.

Turn left and then right at a row of trees at right angles to our present direction. At the end of the trees, turn left through another cage door and drop down through a wooded area. Turn right and head down a valley towards a lake, crossing a field which gets gradually boggier the lower it gets. Skirt the lake towards the left and follow the path round to the right at the head of the lake, before climbing uphill again. Pass through a small wooded area on the edge of Outshott Hanger, and, at the stile at te top of a short climb, turn acutely to the left.

Cross straight across another minor road and pass through a small collection of buildings before striking out across a field. Cross over a track and enter a very pleasant wooded area, Le Court Hanger, before emerging onto the busy B3006. Follow this down hill and take the first turning on the right after the bend onto a minor road. A short uphill climb follows before picking up a bridleway on the left. Bear left at a stream crossing and ignore the obvious path up towards a wood. Instead bear to the left of this and keeping more towards the valley bottom.

Emerge onto a metalled road, passing through a few building. Where the road turns right, climb steeply up and bank and then follow the field edge before emerging on to a road, with a small pond on the right. Turn right and follow the road to a junction. Turn left and immediately right (small pond on the left) and all too soon you will be back at the car in Hawkley – the end of another wonderful day!