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Hurstbourne Tarrant and Doles Wood

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Hurstbourne Tarrant and Doles Wood
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 03 Sep 2015 Walk rating : Rating:star0 Hurstbourne Tarrant and Doles Wood Hampshirestar0 Hurstbourne Tarrant and Doles Wood Hampshirestar0 Hurstbourne Tarrant and Doles Wood Hampshirestar0 Hurstbourne Tarrant and Doles Wood Hampshirestar0 Hurstbourne Tarrant and Doles Wood Hampshire
Hampshire, Andover
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Hurstbourne Tarrant and Doles Wood
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot Hurstbourne Tarrant and Doles Wood Hampshire boot Hurstbourne Tarrant and Doles Wood Hampshire boot Hurstbourne Tarrant and Doles Wood Hampshire
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11 °C, Mist, Wind: 11 mph SW
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A 3.5 mile circular walk from the beautiful village of Hurstbourne Tarrant in Hampshire. The walking route climbs steadily to join paths through the beautiful Doles Wood, a beech woodland which is awash with flowers in the spring. The return leg leads you through quiet lanes, rural sheep pastures, along woodland tracks and through the idyllic village streets, with lovely views throughout.

The route includes one long climb and the equivalent descent. The path surfaces are field and woodland tracks which can be very muddy after periods of rain and in winter. You will need to negotiate three stiles. When we walked the route, the gate alongside one of these stiles was unlocked and one had an adjacent dog gap, leaving only one fairly low stile that dogs will need to climb or be lifted over. You may be sharing one of the fields with sheep so take care with dogs. There is one short section along a quiet country lane and you will also need to cross the A343 twice so please take care of traffic at these points. Approximate time 1.5 hours.

Hurstbourne Tarrant is located in north Hampshire, on the A343 between Newbury and Andover. The walk starts and finishes at the free parish car park which is alongside the village community centre. The car park is accessed from the B3048, directly opposite the church. Cross the bridge alongside the school (you will see small signs for the parish car park) and follow the access track bending left and then right. You will find the car park on the right-hand side. Approximate post code SP11 0AX.

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Walk Sections

Start to Doles Wood
Start to Doles Wood

Start point: 51.2734 lat, -1.4492 long
End point: 51.2694 lat, -1.4471 long

Leave the parish car park back through the vehicle gates and turn right along the stone farm track, passing back alongside the car park (now over the hedge to your right). As you reach the farm building ahead, turn left to join the grass track (signed as a footpath) with a fence running on the left and open crop fields to the right.

After about 300 yards, the grass track swings right and leads you uphill between crop fields, heading for a belt of woodland. Just before you reach the trees, take a moment to turn round to enjoy the glorious views back across the village in the valley below. Standing facing the woodland, turn left for just 20 yards and then turn right to join the signed footpath leading you into the woodland, Doles Wood.

Doles Wood to A343
Doles Wood to A343

Start point: 51.2694 lat, -1.4471 long
End point: 51.2696 lat, -1.4653 long

Follow the narrow footpath winding up the woodland slope, taking care of the uneven tree roots underfoot. This path is part of the Test Way, a 44 mile long distance path which broadly follows the course of the River Test from high on the chalk downs in Berkshire down to Eling where the tidal waters flow into Southampton Water.

Eventually you will emerge to a T-junction with a level path through the woodland (marked with a waymarker post). Turn right here, leaving the Test Way and joining a public footpath (marked with a yellow arrow). The path leads you through a beautiful avenue of coppiced beech trees and if you are lucky enough to be visiting in spring, the floor will be a carpet of bluebells and other wild flowers.

Keep straight ahead as the path becomes a grass track and then, further along, ignore the footpath signed off to the right. Further still, where the grass track turns left, do NOT follow this, instead keep straight ahead on the narrower grass path. The woodland continues on your left and soon you will be able to see open fields through the trees on your right. NOTE: Do not let children and dogs run ahead on this section of path as eventually it opens out directly onto the A343.

A343 to Village Road
A343 to Village Road

Start point: 51.2696 lat, -1.4653 long
End point: 51.2798 lat, -1.4552 long

Cross the A343 with care (taking time to both look and listen for traffic before you cross) and go directly ahead into the side road signed to The Chutes and Tangley. Follow this quiet lane (taking care of any traffic) for about a third of a mile, at which point the woodland on the left ends. Turn right here to join the signed fenced footpath which leads you along the edge of a woodland belt.

At the end of this path, a stile leads you into the edge of a large pasture (which may be holding sheep). Walk directly ahead across the centre of the pasture to reach a wide metal gate at the far side. Pass through this (or use the adjacent stile) and cross the next stile directly ahead.

Follow the long pretty path leading you downhill through a tunnel of trees. Through the trees to the left you will be able to see more sheep pastures, whilst to the right you will be able to enjoy brief glimpses of more beautiful views across the valley. Towards the bottom, the path becomes a gravel access drive and leads you past a few flint cottages. Continue ahead to reach the junction with the village road.

Village Road to End
Village Road to End

Start point: 51.2798 lat, -1.4552 long
End point: 51.2736 lat, -1.4491 long

Turn right to join the narrow pavement, passing between two thatched properties, Boundary Cottage on your right and Tollgate Cottage on your left. Next, horse paddocks begin on the left and you will be able to make out the course of a river within these, the River Swift or Bourne Rivulet.

In fact, the river at this point (in the north half of the village, north of the A343) is called the River Swift whilst in the south half of the village it is called the Bourne Rivulet. The river is a winterbourne, a seasonal surface stream which runs visibly in the winter months but retreats underground in the dry summer months. This creates a niche habitat for vegetation, known as wet mesotrophic grassland.

The village road leads you over the course of the river and, just before you reach the road junction, you are forced to swap to the left-hand pavement. At the junction, cross over the A343 with care and turn right along the pavement. Follow the pavement as it bears left onto the side road signed to the church (once again swapping to the right-hand pavement).

Follow the pavement passing between a range of beautiful properties. Hurstbourne Tarrant is part of a Conservation Area and is renowned for its beauty. It was described by architecture author Nikolaus Pevsner as one of the most picturesque villages in Hampshire, whilst 18th century writer William Cobbett described the local views as the finest in southern England.

As you walk you will notice cottages with names including The Old School House, The Old Bakery and The Old Saddlery, giving you chance to imagine this street in the 1800s, when it would have been the bustling centre of village. Of particular historical importance are the thatched barn outbuildings of Parsonage Farm (the oldest of which date from the 1600s) and the brick pillars for the farmhouse pedestrian entrance (which date from 1685).

Continue in front of the school on your right and you will notice the course of the river, now called the Bourne Rivulet, running between the road and the school. Just before the road bends left you will see the bridge to the car park on the right. Before you cross this, look to the left to see the church and churchyard. The Church of St Peter dates from the late 12th century with later additions in the 13th and 15th centuries. There are six chest tombs within the churchyard which are Grade II listed and date from the late 1700s.

Turn right over the bridge, follow the track swinging left and then right and you will come to the car park where the walk began.

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network Hurstbourne Tarrant and Doles Wood Hampshire Original GPX source file

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


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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2 images to "Hurstbourne Tarrant and Doles Wood"

4986_0Richard1441262103 Hurstbourne Tarrant and Doles Wood Hampshire Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
The walk is only 3.5miles long but the climb to Doles Wood provides quite a work out.
4986_1Richard1441262103 Hurstbourne Tarrant and Doles Wood Hampshire Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
Don't miss looking back as you make the climb to Doles Wood - you will be rewarded with some great views of Hurstbourne Tarrant and the surrounding area.

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