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Ashmansworth, Pilot Hill and Faccombe

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Ashmansworth, Pilot Hill and Faccombe
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 05 May 2015 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
Hampshire, Hampshire Downs
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Ashmansworth, Pilot Hill and Faccombe
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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A 6 mile, fairly challenging circular walk through the chalk hills of the Hampshire Downs taking in the villages of Ashmansworth and Faccombe. The route follows ancient lanes and tracks through the rolling hills of farmland and woodland and crosses Pilot Hill, the highest point in Hampshire. The walk is really all about the spectacular expansive views which reach far to the north over Berkshire and Oxfordshire and south across the heart of Hampshire.

The walk includes many climbs and descents throughout, a couple of which are quite steep. For the most part the walk follows ancient tracks but there are a couple of sections along quiet country lanes so take care of traffic at these points. Some of the chalk paths can become muddy and slippery when wet. You will need to negotiate two stiles; these are quite low but enclosed with wire fencing so dogs would need to hop over or be lifted. Most of the surrounding farmland is arable but you will cross one sheep pasture and there are other grazing sections to the sides of the tracks enclosed with electric fencing so take care with children and dogs. Allow 3 hours.

Ashmansworth village is located in Hampshire, close to the Berkshire border, about 8 miles south west of Newbury and 9 miles north east of Andover. The village is accessed via narrow lanes heading west from the A343. Street parking is available on the main street in the village centre, close to the junction with Barn Close and Cross Lane. Please park with respect to the residents. Approximate post code RG20 9SQ.

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Walk Sections

Start to Wayfarer's Walk
Start to Wayfarer's Walk

Start point: 51.3158 lat, -1.4046 long
End point: 51.3205 lat, -1.3973 long

The walk begins at the centre of Ashmansworth village, at the junction between the main village road and Cross Lane (marked with a three-way signpost to Newbury, Faccombe and Hurstbourne/Andover). Walk along the main village street heading north east, the direction signed to Newbury.

On the left you will pass the old 1888 chapel, now converted to a private residence, and then the long terrace of Beech Tree Cottage. On the right you will see Ashmansworth Manor. Ashmansworth is the highest village in Hampshire and, at 235m above sea level, it is also said to be the highest medieval village on chalk in England.

At the road junction, keep straight ahead (still signed to Newbury). Follow the road for about 0.3 miles, taking care of any occasional traffic. Just before you reach a row of cottages on the right, you will see a fingerpost on the left. Turn left here to join the signed byway, part of Wayfarer’s Walk.

Wayfarer's Walk to Brenda Parker Way
Wayfarer's Walk to Brenda Parker Way

Start point: 51.3205 lat, -1.3973 long
End point: 51.3351 lat, -1.4154 long

Follow this long tree-lined path, part of an ancient route, for some distance. The Wayfarer’s Walk is a 70 mile long distance path which runs from Inkpen Beacon in Berkshire to Emsworth in Hampshire. It follows the line of an ancient drovers’ track that was used by shepherds driving their animals to sheep fairs in Farnham and New Alresford.

Further along on the right the first views open up, an expansive panorama across the valley floor. These views are soon replaced by a pretty section of woodland, Bunkhanger Copse. The woodland is awash with bluebells in the spring and is home to a mix of oak, hazel, beech and sweet chestnut.

Eventually you will emerge out to a T-junction with a quiet country lane. Turn right along this, noting the views on the right, and follow the lane steadily downhill for 0.3 miles. Fork left into the stone entrance track for Charldown, signed as a bridleway as part of the Wayfarer’s Walk and also the Brenda Parker Way (more about Brenda Parker later...).

Brenda Parker Way to Stone Track
Brenda Parker Way to Stone Track

Start point: 51.3351 lat, -1.4154 long
End point: 51.3366 lat, -1.424 long

Follow the stone track climbing steadily and passing a row of horse paddocks on the right (NOTE: beware the electric fencing here). Follow this track alongside the paddocks and you will pass the modern glass-fronted property of Charldown on the left. Step over the low vehicle barrier and stay on the track along the ridge. The track turns left and then right and continues with a crop field on the left and a section of trees on the right.

Where the woodland on the right ends, take a moment to pause and enjoy the views to the right. From this point you have the most extensive views yet, covering the four counties of Wiltshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire with the Ridgeway path visible on the horizon on a clear day.

After just a short distance you will see a waymarker post which marks a (subtle!) crossroads of paths. Turn left here, following the Brenda Parker Way on the narrow path which leads you across the centre of the crop field.

On the right is the summit of Pilot Hill, Hampshire’s highest point at 286m. On this high ground you stand on the watershed between the North Sea and the English Channel. Water to the north is drained via tributaries to the River Thames, while to the south water drains to the River Test which meets the sea near Southampton.

At the far side of the crop field, the footpath leads you into a small copse of trees. Swing left to reach a stile. Cross this to enter a pasture (which may be holding sheep) and walk directly ahead following the hedge on the left. Cross another stile ahead and you will emerge to a T-junction with a stone track.

Stone Track to Faccombe Village
Stone Track to Faccombe Village

Start point: 51.3366 lat, -1.424 long
End point: 51.3224 lat, -1.441 long

Turn right onto the stone track (with woodland on the left) and follow it down through the dip and up the other side (ignoring the track to the left). The woodland to the left is a pretty mix of broadleaf trees and hosts a carpet of bluebells in the spring. The track begins to descend once again and beautiful views open up to the south across the rolling Hampshire Downs.

Keep ahead on the main stone track, still part of the Brenda Parker Way, which leads you fairly steeply into the valley bottom. (NOTE: take care as the track can be slippery when wet). The Brenda Parker Way is a 78 mile long distance path which runs through the north Hampshire countryside between Aldershot and Andover. Officially opened in 2011, the route was created in memory of local rambler Brenda Parker as recognition for her tireless work in supporting Hampshire’s rights of way network.

The predominance of chalk in the Hampshire Downs has an important effect on agriculture, wildlife, architecture, industry, and the landscape. This is the land of sweeping, subtly shaded downland dotted with beech hangers, scrub and sheep. Chalk pasture, when grazed by sheep, supports a rich variety of plants including rock rose, salad burnet, kidney vetch and many kinds of orchid which are becoming rare. Skylarks and lapwings can still be seen and heard on the chalk downs. Chalk also provides a good supply of flint and in Hampshire it is profusely displayed on churches, cottages and walls – indeed you will see good examples of this in Faccombe village shortly.

Beyond the valley bottom, the track climbs steadily and leads you to a crossroads. Keep straight ahead and stay on the main stone track which climbs more steeply. The track eventually bears left and then leads you ahead to reach the end of a residential lane within Faccombe village.

Faccombe Village to Curzon Street Farm
Faccombe Village to Curzon Street Farm

Start point: 51.3224 lat, -1.441 long
End point: 51.3203 lat, -1.4286 long

Bear right along the residential lane for just a few yards to reach a T-junction with the main village street. Turn left along the village street and note the green colour of the doors, gutters and downpipes on the houses, a sure indicator of the village’s origins as part of a managed estate. Faccombe, the most northerly village in the county, is a classic example of an unspoilt estate village.

Pass the estate office on the right and continue ahead to pass the impressive flint village church, St Barnabas, also on the right. Further along you will pass the impressive Georgian Faccombe Manor on the left, the centre of the estate. Pass the village pub access lane on the right and, soon afterwards, fork left onto the smaller road signed to Ashmansworth. This quiet lane leads you between sections of old parkland for the manor, with the remains of tree-lined avenues still visible.

After 200 yards you will come to a point with double metal gates each side of the lane. If you look carefully you will also see a fingerpost hidden within the hedge on the left. Turn left here, passing through the narrow gap alongside the gate (taking care of any nettles!). Walk ahead following the hedge line on the left (with an open field to the right).

Continue only as far as the junction where the open field on the right ends and woodland begins (there’s a tiny waymarker post hidden on the left here). Turn right at this point to join the grass track and follow this as it becomes a path leading you downhill through the woodland (another haven for bluebells which is often thronging with bird song).

Ignore the paths off left and then right, just stay on the main path which leads you fairly steeply downhill – take care as it can be slippery. The path continues through a small clearing (which has an abundance of primroses and cowslips in the spring) and down to a T-junction with a field edge track. Turn right along this and the grassy track will lead you down to a crossroads with two brick and flint farm buildings to the right, Curzon Street Farm.

Curzon Street Farm to End
Curzon Street Farm to End

Start point: 51.3203 lat, -1.4286 long
End point: 51.3164 lat, -1.4046 long

At this crossroads, take the stone track ahead (at about 1 o’clock) which leads you between the second flint barn on the right and a fenced woodland on the left. Follow this track which winds down to the valley bottom and then climbs up towards a woodland ahead. Enter the woodland and then turn right at the T-junction.

As you emerge from the trees, take a moment to catch your breath and enjoy the magnificent panoramic views across the rolling hills. Follow the main track ahead, which bears left and then right following the edge of Privet Copse on the left (with an open field on the right). The track swings right, heading downhill to reach a small waymarker post. Keep straight ahead here on the track heading downhill between open fields.

As you come to the tree line ahead, take the narrow path into the trees (just to your left) marked with a yellow arrow. Continue through the trees and the path leads you steeply down to the edge of a large crop field. Turn left and then immediately right to join the wide grass track between fields. The track leads you down through the valley bottom, up the far side and on to reach a pair of metal gates at the top of the field.

Pass through the gap alongside the gates to reach a T-junction with a lane. Turn left along the lane, taking care of any occasional traffic. The lane winds steadily uphill and leads you back to the edge of Ashmansworth. You will pass some beautifully sculptured hedges on the left (including a very smart looking gentleman!). Turn left at the T-junction and you will come to the centre of the village where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2015 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


3 responses to "Ashmansworth, Pilot Hill and Faccombe"

walked this route earlier today following print out of walk, Excellent instructions to follow. Really enjoyed it, certainly has a few ups and downs, Gives you a good work out

By alanking on 2015-05-15 22:00:48

I tried this walk on a lovely Sunday in early October, truly beautiful scenery and stunning views in the autumn sun. I've not rated it 5 stars as the route between points 2 and 3 crosses a crop field and the landowner has obliterated all signs of the path, we went too far looking for the route, had to back-track to the signpost and trek across a field of sown wheat. This could be hard going when the crops are knee high. Having said that, I'd still highly recommend the walk, the ups and downs are challenging and its of a good length in a very peaceful and quiet part of the countryside, we only saw 3 other sets of walkers whilst on the route. I've added pictures of the non-path in the gallery, when you find the post for the Brenda Parker Way just head up and over the field.

By Cazzy62 on 2015-10-05 10:17:29

Beautiful walk for a crisp autumn day absolutely loved by the dog! Some quite steep paths on the downhills a little slippery so extra care needed.

By Jhughes on 2016-11-25 11:24:26

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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5 images to "Ashmansworth, Pilot Hill and Faccombe"

4455_0Cazzy621444038267 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: Cazzy62
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970

4455_1Cazzy621444038268 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: Cazzy62
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
The path goes through this field but is not visible as the landowner has sown crops
4455_2Cazzy621444038268 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: Cazzy62
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970

4455_3Cazzy621444038270 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: Cazzy62
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
Head to a small gap in the hedge near the trees where the footpath becomes clear again
4455_4Cazzy621444038270 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: Cazzy62
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970

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