During our last camping trip, we enjoyed a lovely 3 mile circular walk taking in 3 Hampshire villages. It is largely flat and so suitable for the whole family. The route mostly follows footpaths which may get muddy in the winter, there is also a couple of stretches along roads.
I asked at the campsite if they knew of any local walks, and they gave me a printout of this lovely Hampshire pub walk, which starts and finishes at the Abbots Mitre in Chilbolton. I noticed that there were copies at the pub, and the route is also available to be downloaded from the pub’s website. (Hence I am not going to offer step by step instructions here, rather just some nice photos of the route.)
We parked up at the Abbots Mitre and turned left out of the car park, heading out of the village. As the road bent to the right, we turned left and followed Drove Road. After passing the last house, we followed the road to the right, Little Drove Road, and continued straight ahead.
As we followed the lane we were able to see the antenna dish of Chilbolton Observatory. We carried on until we reached Test Valley Farm, taking the footpath on the left hand side and following the narrow path.
We reached the edge of the West Down Nature Reserve, and enjoyed this relaxing stretch through the chalk downland. It is home to many different habitats, but is especially noted for its butterflies.
We kept walking towards the great views across the Test Valley, and finally came out the other side of the reserve and headed down to the road.
As we reached the road, we crossed over and picked up the Test Way. This is a 44 mile route, which follows the River Test from the chalk downs of Inkpen to Eling, where it flows into Southampton Water.
We took the path heading towards Andover. The route here follows a disused railway line, and was flat and shady, offering a nice easy stretch towards the village of Cottonworth.
Once we reached the end of the path, we turned right at the road, and then right again to head towards the village of Wherwell. This stretch was the worst bit as it followed the road into the village. For some bits there was no pavement. Luckily the road was quiet, but it’s never easy shepherding young children when you’re keeping one eye on them and another on the road.
Once we reached the village we continued until we came to the pretty cottage Westmill on the right hand side. Here we took the bridleway and followed the boardwalk over the River Test.
Once we had crossed the river we reached Chilbolton Common. The common is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is home to over 100 different plants and grasses, and many species of bird.
It is also a good spot for a paddle (outside of nesting season) on a warm day.
From the common we were able to follow the path back to Chilbolton, coming out opposite the pub and all very eager for a well earned pub lunch!
This is an area that we will definitely be returning to, and we will definitely explore some more of the Test Valley.
Have you ever walked in this area? Let me know if you have any recommendations for walks in Hampshire.