This part of the world in Hampshire is wonderful …..and the walking trails aren’t too bad either! I would highly recommend the walks around this area of Kingsclere, Hannington, The Gallops, Sydmonton, Ecchinswell. You can make the walk as long or as short as you like and organize it so you finish up for lunch and/or a pint in one of the surrounding country pubs. A wonderful day out and don’t forget to take some snap shots to look back on.
The views from Watership Down are a prize. After you leave The Gallops, the path takes you to Watership Down (and all down! hill from there!) Pick a clear day, even cold! and you won’t be disappointed….the views down into Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber’s country house are sensational at Sydmonton.
A cool Sunday morning in England and a long hike was definately on the cards. We would walk to The Iron Age Fort at Ladle Hill, starting at The Gallops in Kingsclere, surrounding the beautiful landcapes of Watership Down, Ashley Warren and the Sydmonton Court Estate. I made us some freshly baked cheese and onion scones and filled a thermos of hot coffee. Gear on (boots, coats, hats, scalf!) ….and we were off.
We didn’t see a soul out walking….I guess most people were wrapped up, cosy in bed on this winter Sunday morning. We were as keen as mustard and loved being out in the fresh air! Iron Age Fort, here we come….
Time for a nice hot coffee break before we head down to the country pile of Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sydmonton Court.
We were finishing this walk at The George and Dragon Pub with a pint and perhaps their Sunday Roast Lamb……..have to keep the pace up!
We love the walks around Sydmonton Court Estate in all weather conditions…..as long as you have good quality, waterproof hiking boots it’s an ejoyable thing to do and keeps you fit too!
What a great way to spend a Sunday morning….off to the George and Dragon now to see what’s on offer for a Sunday Roast. In any case it will be an ejoyable pint or two after another long walk around The Iron Age Fort, Watership Down and Ladle Hill in the Hampshire countryside.
This part of Hampshire in England is a favourite part of the countryside for Steve and I. Walking trails around this area take you through the Sydmonton Court Estate, Watership down, The Gallops, Ladle Hill on great Litchfield Down, Burghclere and surrounding areas of Ecchinswell, Hannington and Kingsclere. It’s impressive walking trails are equally as good in the winter months as in the Summer. The country home of Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber is Sydmonton Court; it’s beautiful, surrounded by well maintained landscapes and magnificent views.
We have spent many enjoyable hours walking around this part of Hampshire and I would have to say this is one of the best walks in the area (see my hiking blogs) We would often finish up with a pint or two in the George and Dragon Pub in Wolverton Townsend or another local pub in the area.
We could see this TV transmitter from the garden at Haughurst House and it reminded us every time of the wonderful countryside and walks up and around Hannington and Kingsclere. I called this ‘Steve’s Tower.’
Particularly in the winter time, I would quite often make a batch of healthy wholemeal cheese and onion scones to take on our long hikes, usually taking around four hours (21kms) and finishing around lunchtime for a pint in a lovely country pub. wonderful!!
We woke to a beautiful sunny Sunday morning but extremely cold, around -2 degrees C. Perfect walking conditions for a long hike with only a breath of wind. The night before we organised our gear, set the table for breakfast and made a few wholemeal cheese and onion scones to have with our thermos of coffee along the way. Today’s hike would be a round trip of 20kms (around 12.5 miles) and would start in the lovely village of Kingsclere towards Hannington, Sydmonton through to Ecchinswell and finally back to Kingsclere.
Walking in freezing sunny conditions, with hardly a breath of wind is a sure way to wake one up early in the morning…..and we started early, just as the sun was coming up and the cold air was at it’s chilliest.
After walking a continual slope for ten minutes or so, we were as warm as toast and enjoying the peacefulness and breathtaking views on such a still sunny Sunday morning.
We stopped for coffee just after Hannington seeing only a few dog walkers in the distance. That went down wonderfully well but we didn’t stop for long as the cold was settling in my body again.
We made our way along The Wayfarers path towards the Gallops. The views towards the Gallops was amazing with large sweeping fields lit up by the clear bright sunshine.
We crossed the main road at White Hill and noticed a huge number of cars parked along the roadside. As we continued to walk we could see a number of kites being flown near to Combe Hole. It was an impressive sight.
So over the Gallops we go and passed Watership Down and through the magnificent Sydmonton Court Estate, the country home of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. This leg of the walk is definitely my favourite. The grounds are beautifully maintained and the trees on the Estate are just magnificent to say the least.
We also pass by some beautiful Pollo horses at Sydmonton Farm. They all looked very relaxed feeding on the grass in their well maintained fields.
By this time we had been walking for around 2 and 3/4 hours so time to have another coffee and try out one of my cheese and onion scones. Well, they were pretty decent I would have to say and Steve loved them (of course!) We were off again enjoying the morning and now appreciating the efforts of getting out of a cosy warm bed early to brave the cold!
We pass a row of lovely country cottages called Laundry Cottages. Maybe in the past they were housed by workers on the Estate? They are in an elevated position and the outlook from their front must be beautiful. So now the walk takes us through Watership Farm and Stables. We pass quite a lovely pond which is still frozen over……temperatures were still hovering around zero!
On to the village of Ecchinswell now and I was starting to feel a little tired now……but we had to keep going!
Through Ecchinswell and we felt like we were definitely on the home straight now. We passed over a lovely bridge and stream and the ground seemed a lot softer under foot which meant temperatures were rising. A little too late for us though.
The slight slope back to Kingsclere seemed to go on forever and I felt I was dragging my feet a little! Steve kept the pace up well though. I think he was thinking “The faster we go, the quicker we’ll finish!!” We were also thinking about The George and Dragon Pub in Wolverton Townsend where we were going to rest our weary feet. I think perhaps that is more likely why Steve’s pace kept up!
So, it felt like a great achievement walking the 20kms and although I felt a little knackered I knew my fittness was improving and that was an extremely satisfying feeling.
So to The George and Dragon we go for a pint and review our walk and photos…….a great way to spend a Sunday morning that’s for sure.
The George and Dragon was quite busy being Sunday lunchtime and our favourite table by the inglenook fireplace was already taken which wasn’t at all surprising on such a cold day. We settled for another table….closer to the bar and not as far to walk which pleased Steve very much. We talked about the walk and looked at all the photos we had taken throughout the morning….hope you enjoy a few that I have included in this post. Cheers!
My day off today and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend it in this country than a walk through the countryside.
The past couple of days of heavy downpours has made the ground very wet and boggy, so today’s long walk was extremely challenging, physically. My husband Steve planned the route for today and we were up early making sure we had an energy fueled breakfast and packed bananas, granary/wholemeal bread, a little dark chocolate with a small amount of seeds, nuts and dried fruit. This worked well for us as the estimated time of 4hrs Steve worked out actually turned into 5hrs! We also had a lovely big thermos of coffee and water bottle……..very organised!!
A sensational walk I have to say. We started off at the Gallops, walked for 25 minutes until we took a new path to walk through Ashley Warren Down and the footpath along the old Roman Road along Caesars Belt. From here we made our way to Litchfield and onto the tiny hamlet of Dunley. This was lovely….beautiful cottages overlooking a peaceful, hedged green. Wonderfully maintained and a delight to walk by.
From Dunley, the path took us through Lower Woodcott Farm which had a fantastic barn conversion built next to the impressive main farm house. But the path continued up a constant slope and I was thinking when were we going to have a break from all this hill climbing as I was beginning to feel like a mountain goat! No relief in sight yet as the walk up to Ladle Hill and the fort ruins was all up hill and it wasn’t until we were past the fort that we noticed our muscles relaxing. This section was magnificent. The field by the looks of it had been kept under growth control by a decent flock of hungry sheep but it was so green and looked like it had been mowed by the gardener! From this height we had a magnificent view of Sydmonton Court Estate, the country house of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. Massive chimneys towered over the rooves of this impressive house….it was a fantastic sight from this viewpoint.
So, we were on the home straight from here really but we had one more rather unwelcome climb back up to the Gallops before we could collapse! into the comforts of the car seat! It was extremely satisfying though as we walked the last leg of our lengthy journey. Five hours walking up and down slopes was certainly physically challenging. Our fitness was increasing to a higher level and that feeling was fantastic. All up, we walked 14.5 miles (about 25 kms) and we still had an hour of dog walking to do when we returned to the estate/cottage!!! No pint in the George and Dragon today…we had too much to do.