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Vernham Dean and Upton

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Vernham Dean and Upton
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 14 Jul 2013 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
Hampshire, Andover
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Vernham Dean and Upton
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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A 5 mile circular walk from the pretty thatched village of Vernham Dean, situated in the north-west corner of Hampshire. The walk leaves the village to pass through woodland and crop fields to reach the adjacent village of Upton before heading north along quiet lanes via St Mary’s Church and back down to Vernham Dean. The walk offers chance to enjoy lovely views across the rolling hills of the North Wessex Downs and there is also plenty of wildlife to enjoy along the way.

The walk has several long steady gradients and there are a few gates and one long section of road walking (most of this road walking can be avoided by taking a shortcut over a stile and along a narrow footpath but this was very overgrown when we walked it – the choice is yours!). The paths will be muddy at certain times of the year and can be a bit overgrown in summer. Allow 2 to 2.5 hours (depending on the condition of the paths).

Vernham Dean can be found about 10 miles directly north of Andover. The walk starts from the car park alongside the Playing Fields in Vernham Dean (alongside the primary school). Approximate post code SP11 0JY.

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Walk Sections

Start to Thornycombe Wood
Start to Thornycombe Wood

Start point: 51.3059 lat, -1.5061 long
End point: 51.3028 lat, -1.517 long

Leave the playing field car park back to the road and turn right along the pavement passing the school on the right. Keep straight ahead through the main road of the village passing many pretty thatched properties and The George pub on the right. Stay on the main road and, after passing David’s Cottage on the right, turn left up the stone track signed as a footpath.

The views over the rolling hills soon open up to the right. Continue bearing left gradually uphill along the grassy track until you reach a junction of paths with woodland ahead to the left. Fork left here into Thornycombe Wood.

Thornycombe Wood to Conholt Lane
Thornycombe Wood to Conholt Lane

Start point: 51.3028 lat, -1.517 long
End point: 51.2976 lat, -1.5167 long

Follow the path through the pretty woodland as it descends, follows a level section and then begins to climb again through coppiced trees. As you emerge from the trees, swing left to follow the path uphill meandering in and out of the woodland edge. The path then passes through a small section of trees ahead (going through a narrow gap between a pair of oaks) to emerge out to open fields.

Turn right with the woodland now to your right. In the corner of the field at the junction of paths, turn left and over to the left you’ll have great views across the valley with a single wind turbine visible on the far side. The path swings right to reach a T-junction with the track. Turn left along the track and follow this until you reach a gap in the hedge where you can exit to reach Conholt Lane.

Conholt Lane to Main Road
Conholt Lane to Main Road

Start point: 51.2976 lat, -1.5167 long
End point: 51.2944 lat, -1.4935 long

Cross diagonally left to take the footpath opposite, a stone track which bends first left and then right. Stay on the main stone track and, as you reach a hedgeline ahead, go ahead on the signed public footpath through the gap in the hedge. Keep ahead on the grass track with a tall hedgerow directly on the left.

Pass under an arch of trees to reach the next field and keep ahead on the grass track with the hedgerow now to your right. The path continues through a narrow section of coppiced trees. You’ll emerge out into open fields with beautiful views ahead. Keep straight on, on the track passing between crop fields. At the bottom of the slope, pass through the single pedestrian gate to reach the main road.

Main Road to Upton Manor
Main Road to Upton Manor

Start point: 51.2944 lat, -1.4935 long
End point: 51.2993 lat, -1.4884 long

Here you have two choices to reach Upton Manor – take your pick of the two paragraphs below.

To follow the full route (as marked on the map) turn right along the road and follow this to reach the village of Upton. Pass the Crown pub on the left and a little distance further, turn left up the road signed to Linkenholt. Follow the road out of Upton and continue until you reach Upton Manor on the left.

There is an alternative, shorter route to Upton Manor by taking the footpath opposite as you emerge at the main road. Go over the stile and follow the narrow path until you reach the back gate of Upton Manor ahead. Turn right and follow the path alongside the manor grounds to emerge to the road and turn left here, passing the main gates to Upton Manor on the left. NOTE: we walked this path in July 2013 and suffered the consequences of having to fight through six foot tall nettles and brambles so don’t choose this path unless it has been cleared or the undergrowth has died back. You have been warned!!

Upton Manor to St Mary's Church
Upton Manor to St Mary's Church

Start point: 51.2993 lat, -1.4884 long
End point: 51.3107 lat, -1.4995 long

Continue past the perimeter walls of Upton Manor on the left. As the road begins to bend right, turn left onto a stone track. Within a few paces you’ll reach a fork, keep right and follow the stone and grass track heading steadily uphill and over the brow of the hill. Follow this wide track enjoying the views in every direction.

You will emerge to a T-junction with the road – keep right passing Vernham Manor on the left. After a little distance further you’ll come to St Mary’s Church on the left.

St Mary's Church to End
St Mary's Church to End

Start point: 51.3107 lat, -1.4995 long
End point: 51.306 lat, -1.506 long

Turn sharp left through the gates into the grounds of St Mary’s Church. On the left you’ll see a green hydrant with a gold lion. The water handle at the side of the hydrant is in operation and is an ideal place to stop for a drink on a hot day.

Follow the gravel path passing to the right of the church. At the end of the church you’ll see an original Norman door, although most of the building dates only back as far as the 1850s when the church was rebuilt following a fire. Leave the gates at the far side and go straight across the tarmac drive to take the waymarked footpath opposite. (If you glance right you’ll see a cottage with elaborate arched windows – the cottage was built as a temporary place of worship whilst the church was being rebuilt, explaining its unusual ornate appearance.)

Keep ahead on the grass track lined with young lime trees. The path continues directly ahead between crop fields. Pass through the gateway at the bottom to reach an open grass field. Cross diagonally right to reach the far corner (this isn’t the official line of the footpath but it is a well-used route). Pass through the make-shift gate to reach the playing fields. Go straight ahead across the playing fields to reach the car park where the walk began. Note: If you have a dog with you please bear left and follow the grass verge alongside the playing fields as dogs are not permitted on them.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2013 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


2 responses to "Vernham Dean and Upton"

Between the first and second mile, a dead deer was found. Pretty smelly

By marcothio77 on 2015-08-01 12:27:26

Overgrown and way too many flies. wasn't much fun

By Rachaelelley on 2016-08-14 14:47:44

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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