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Mill House, Butter Wood and Basingstoke Canal

There are currently 7 comments and 8 photos online for this walk.

Mill House, Butter Wood and Basingstoke Canal
Author: pubwalker, Published: 15 Aug 2013 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Mill House, Butter Wood and Basingstoke Canalstar1 Mill House, Butter Wood and Basingstoke Canalstar1 Mill House, Butter Wood and Basingstoke Canalstar1 Mill House, Butter Wood and Basingstoke Canalstar0 Mill House, Butter Wood and Basingstoke Canal
Hampshire, Hook
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Mill House, Butter Wood and Basingstoke Canal
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot Mill House, Butter Wood and Basingstoke Canal boot Mill House, Butter Wood and Basingstoke Canal
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0006_mist Mill House, Butter Wood and Basingstoke CanalToday's weather
14 °C, Mist, Wind: 15 mph SW
Next few days: Hover over icon for more info.
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A 3 mile circular pub walk from the Mill House in North Warnborough, near Hook. The Mill House has its own large mill pond set within beautiful gardens making it the perfect relaxing place for refreshments before or after your walk. The walking route provides a lovely mix of environments, allowing you to explore open heath, mixed woodland, fields and a long stretch of a pretty canal towpath. You’ll also have chance to explore the impressive ruins of Odiham Castle along the way.

The walk is relatively flat with just a couple of gentle slopes. The paths are a mixture of stone towpaths, quiet lanes and woodland paths, the latter of which can be very muddy so good waterproof footwear is recommended after periods of rain. There are several gates, a few squeeze gaps plus two stiles to negotiate (both of which have adjacent gaps which should be easy for most dogs). There is one short section of road walking so take care with children here. The heath is grazed by cattle for conservation and one field may be holding a couple of smallholding cows so take care with dogs. Allow 1.5 to 2 hours.

North Warnborough is just south of Junction 5 of the M3, between Odiham and Hook. The walk starts and finishes from the Mill House pub on the B3349 Hook Road (note there are two Hook Roads – you want the further east of the two) just a few hundred yards from its junction with the A287. Approximate post code RG29 1ET.

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Walk Sections

Start to Butter Wood
Start to Butter Wood

Start point: 51.2633 lat, -0.9534 long
End point: 51.267 lat, -0.9639 long

Leave the pub car park back to the road, cross over with care and turn left along the pavement. You will pass the pretty white frontage of the Mill House over to the left. Immediately after the pub (and its large willow tree), cross over the road to turn left down a small lane. Follow this lane with the pub on the left and Waterside Cottage on the right. Follow the lane as it bends right, passing a timber framed house with a pair of beautiful stained glass windows.

At the fork, keep left and a few paces later turn left at the T-junction. Pass through the gate alongside the cattle grid to enter Bartley Heath and Warnborough Greens. This large area of heath, grassland and woodland sits on clay and gravel and over the years has been used for grazing and small scale gravel extraction. Today the site is conserved using rare breed cattle for grazing and it creates an important habitat for plants such as early marsh orchids and birds such as meadow pipits.

Keep ahead along the tarmac lane enjoying the range of wildflowers. At the staggered crossroads keep straight ahead. A few yards later you’ll reach a T-junction with a ford to the left. Turn right here through a gate alongside another cattle grid. Pass between a few houses, go through the gate ahead into an area of scrubland and dog-leg right then left to join a narrow path between wild hedgerows.

Follow the narrow path winding through a belt of pretty mixed woodland and you’ll come to a crossroads of paths (just before the road). Take the gate ahead to reach the road, cross with extreme care and take the footpath opposite. Follow the narrow path running under power lines through a wild meadow. Cross a tarmac access lane to reach a metal vehicle barrier which marks the entrance of Butter Wood.

Butter Wood to Nap Pond
Butter Wood to Nap Pond

Start point: 51.267 lat, -0.9639 long
End point: 51.2611 lat, -0.9737 long

Walk straight ahead on the clay track heading into the woodland. Eventually you’ll reach a yellow arrow marking the path swinging left, follow this and a few yards later you’ll reach a fork in the path with yellow arrows marking the two paths. Keep left at this fork and you will then meet a staggered T-junction with a wide grass track. Turn right along this.

Keep ahead on the main grassy ride marked with occasional yellow arrows, ignoring any smaller tracks off to the left and right. Eventually the track leads you through a small gap alongside a wide wooden gate to reach a T-junction with Nap Pond hidden beyond the trees opposite.

Nap Pond to Greywell Tunnel
Nap Pond to Greywell Tunnel

Start point: 51.2611 lat, -0.9737 long
End point: 51.2578 lat, -0.971 long

Turn left here down the main stone forest track. Pass over the motorbike restricting sleepers to leave the wood and a few paces later you’ll reach a T-junction with Hook Road. Cross over with care and turn left along the road edge for just 100 yards, passing Royal Oak House on the left. Turn right into Dorchester Way and then turn immediately right again through a narrow squeeze gap hidden in the hedge to reach a field.

Cross the field at about 11 o’clock to reach a stile in the hedge opposite. Cross this into the next field (which may be holding a couple of small cows). Keep close to the right hand fence to cross the next stile into an enclosed path between house gardens on the right and horse paddocks on the left.

Keep ahead passing an old farm outbuilding on the left and cross straight over a concrete access lane via a pair of squeeze gaps. Turn immediately left for just a few paces and at this point glance right to see the arched entrance to Greywell Tunnel within the Basingstoke Canal.

Greywell Tunnel to Odiham Castle
Greywell Tunnel to Odiham Castle

Start point: 51.2578 lat, -0.971 long
End point: 51.2613 lat, -0.9617 long

The Basingstoke Canal was built in the late 1700s to form a link between Basingstoke and Weybridge, from where goods could continue on to the Thames. One of its most impressive engineering achievements was the construction of the Greywell Tunnel, a 0.7 mile long tunnel which avoided the need to extend the canal around Greywell Hill. To traverse the tunnel the boatmen would lie on their backs and use their legs to propel the boat, a process that could take about 6 hours. The canal was never a commercial success, even before the advent of the railway, and the tunnel collapsed in 1932. At a constant temperature of 10 degrees Celsius with high humidity, the derelict tunnel is now home to a number of bat species including Natterers, Brandts, Whiskered and Brown Long Eared bats. There have also been sighting of rare Barbastelle bats visiting the tunnel.

Keep ahead on the stone towpath with the canal down to the right. This section of the canal is not navigable and the crystal clear water (provided by chalk springs which rise within the tunnel) contrasts strongly with the black silt bottom giving a strange eerie feel. Look out for wildlife including swans, many types of ducks, water voles and freshwater fish.

After some distance you’ll reach a line of buoys which marks the point from which the canal is navigable for boats. Continue ahead on the towpath and you’re likely to see several ornate canal boats along this stretch. Soon afterwards look out for the remains of Odiham Castle on the left. Take some time to explore this.

Odiham Castle to End
Odiham Castle to End

Start point: 51.2613 lat, -0.9617 long
End point: 51.2633 lat, -0.9533 long

As Odiham was half way between Windsor and Winchester, it was a frequent stopping point for Norman kings. Between 1207 and 1214 King John (the youngest brother of Richard the Lionheart) had Odiham Castle built as a stronghold but it was used primarily as a hunting lodge.

When you’ve finished exploring the castle, return to the towpath and turn left to continue your journey alongside the canal. A little distance further you’ll pass out through a gate alongside a lift bridge which carries a small road over the canal. Cross straight over to continue on the towpath opposite. Beyond a couple of cottages you’ll be able to enjoy views both sides of horses grazing.

Pass under a brick arch bridge and immediately afterwards turn left up the gravel slope to reach the main village road. Cross over and then turn right passing a petrol station on the right. Further along on the right you’ll pass Castle Bridge Cottages, a pretty row of timber-framed terraced cottages. Continue for just a few yards more to reach the Mill House on the left for some well deserved hospitality.

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


7 responses to "Mill House, Butter Wood and Basingstoke Canal"

Excellent walk, really enjoyed it. Nice easy walk, took about 1hr 10mins to complete.

By kellieg on 2013-08-18 16:18:56

We really enjoyed this walk, if it's been raining it could be very muddy

By Pob75 on 2014-07-12 16:03:59

Great walk. Really enjoyed the second half of it walking alongside the canal. Doggie loved dipping in and out the canal.

By dafydd333 on 2014-08-06 18:40:59

Nice stroll

By DedOrse on 2015-04-12 08:58:38

Nice and flat, beautiful wooded paths, donkeys, ducks, swans, castle, pub. Sorted.

By kprcaul on 2015-05-04 15:08:49

Nice walk near waterside and a lovely pub at the end! Very muddy in March

By markgittins on 2016-03-25 14:29:48

Sam B: We did the Millhouse walk in north warnborough on Monday..........again, it's a popular one for the boys as you can see 😀 No cows this time VERY friendly sheep though.

By Facebook on 2016-08-31 10:26:53

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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8 images to "Mill House, Butter Wood and Basingstoke Canal"

2409_0Richard1380727209 Mill House, Butter Wood and Basingstoke Canal Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
The lift bridge is near the end of the walk. We were lucky to see it lift while we were there.
2409_1Richard1380727209 Mill House, Butter Wood and Basingstoke Canal Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
Not sure what I was expecting but this is a very small castle... saying that it was worth the diversion. There are some detailed notice boards and after reading for a while you start to understand the importance of this building.
2409_2Richard1380727209 Mill House, Butter Wood and Basingstoke Canal Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
Part of the canal is closed off as it approached the tunnel. You can see teh bottom and the water is very clear. There were quite a few fish - not sure what they are though....
2409_0christianpead1471176250 Mill House, Butter Wood and Basingstoke Canal Image by: christianpead
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
30AAE83B-B73A-43E6-9285-FBCF3AFC5007.JPG
2409_0christianpead1471176262 Mill House, Butter Wood and Basingstoke Canal Image by: christianpead
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
393B18E1-8FD7-40C9-A815-914B8023DAB5.JPG
2409_0Facebook1474277290 Mill House, Butter Wood and Basingstoke Canal Image by: Facebook
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
Popular with the boys
2409_0Wickerash1479130561-1 Mill House, Butter Wood and Basingstoke Canal Image by: Wickerash
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
76C33E61-1A19-4E97-B3C6-A2A5DE58B502.JPG
2409_0Wickerash1479130601 Mill House, Butter Wood and Basingstoke Canal Image by: Wickerash
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
B4D1A661-7B0E-4C5E-A05F-CAD9666C0FDF.JPG

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