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|Whitchurch and River Test Mills|
|Author: Claire, Published: 23 Jun 2013||Walk rating : Rating:|
|A 5.5 mile circular walk from Whitchurch, a pretty Hampshire town on the River Test. The walk gives you chance to see many of the former water mills that were at the heart of local industry producing everything from cloth to corn and paper along with the pretty village of Freefolk, home to one of the longest thatched buildings in Britain. |
The route follows a mixture of field and woodland paths which can get quite muddy at certain times of the year. There are just a few gentle climbs and descents with no stiles on route (just lots of kissing gates and footbridges). Some of the fields may be holding a few sheep, cattle or horses so take care with dogs. There are public toilets in the car park at the start of the walk. Approximate time 2 to 3 hours.
Whitchurch can be found between Basingstoke and Andover, north of the A303 in Hampshire. The walk starts from the Bell Street free car park. Approximate post code RG28 7DD.
|Start to Town Mill|
Start point: 51.2297 lat, -1.3411 long
Leave the car park via the slope alongside the toilets. Turn right along Bell Street until you reach the mini-roundabout. Take the second road on the right and pass the Methodist Church on the left. Follow the road as it crosses over the River Test and take a moment here to look to the right where you’ll see the old Silk Mill.
|Town Mill to Bere Mill|
Start point: 51.2299 lat, -1.3331 long
This stretch of the River Test was home to many industrial watermills, although most of them are now converted to private residences. The Town Mill was the source of power for milling corn. Take some time on the bridge to truly appreciate the beauty of the river. The River Test is 40 miles long from its source in Ashe (near Basingstoke) down to its mouth in the Southampton estuary. In this region, the river is a classic chalk stream and is renowned throughout the world for being an excellent spot for trout fishing. The valuable fly fishing rights are highly prized by the local landowners meaning that access to the banks of the river is very restricted.
|Bere Mill to Sluice|
Start point: 51.2308 lat, -1.3163 long
Bere Mill was built in 1712 by Henri de Portal and was used to create paper. Within 12 years the high quality paper was being supplied to the Bank of England for use as bank notes. De Portal established a second mill nearby (Laverstoke Mill) to keep up with growing demands. The same firm, now based in nearby Overton, still supplies the Bank of England today.
|Sluice to St Nicholas Church|
Start point: 51.235 lat, -1.3049 long
Cross the sluice bridge with care and follow the path to cross first a large wooden footbridge and then a smaller bridge further along. Turn right along the grass track and a few yards later you’ll reach the T-junction with the road.
|St Nicholas Church to Meadow|
Start point: 51.2344 lat, -1.3034 long
St Nicholas Church, founded in 1265, has a white painted bell cote and is the village church for Freefolk. The village name is thought to derive from the fact that the village was outside the feudal system, meaning the villagers were free from the control of a local Lord.
|Meadow to End|
Start point: 51.2289 lat, -1.3288 long
Follow one of the mown paths through the meadow, keeping fairly close to the river on the right. As you enter a small section of trees ahead, you will soon reach the Town Mill junction that you crossed earlier. From this point you will be retracing your steps back to the start point.
Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2013 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.
|By injuryian on 03 Aug 2014|
We really enjoyed this walk, my two boys particularly liked all the bridges over the test and the trout. The only tricky bit was crossing the main road in laverstoke but we all held hands and legged it over
|By pob75 on 20 Feb 2015|
This walk was quite disappointing. The markers were very intermittent so a fair amount of guess work was needed. Parts of the walks were very picturesque but some parts were through not so nice housing estates. With an updated map & reliable markets this could be quite nice.
|By googie on 02 May 2015|
walked this route today, quite enjoyable walk apart from at point 3 the bridge is missing, had to cross at a sluice gate into a private field leaving the track totally, found my way back onto the designated route and continued to the end
|By alanking on 09 May 2015|
We thoroughly enjoyed the first half, but found the rest disappointing. Although close to the Test it is totally obscured by trees. If we walk it again we'll retrace our route from Freefolk to Whitchurch.
|By davidthenoma on 25 Aug 2015|
Lovely walk, gorgeous in parts. Did find the written route hard to follow so used the map instead which was really easy.
|By spagettilyne on 30 Oct 2016|
Lovely walk, excellent easy to follow directions.
|By jpdarlow on 13 Nov 2016|
Great walk, but the directions on the stretch after St Nicholas's church were rather confusing. The deviation from the track is BEFORE the 2nd left turn, and the 'tunnel of trees' is hard to discern in winter, & appears to go on down the slope. Also, after heavy rain, parts are almost impassable (especially when churned up by cattle), so it would be worth mentioning that the signposted shortcut that takes you back past Bere Mill & then on metalled roads might be worth using. Otherwise a really good walk, with lots of pubs to choose from.
|By GeoffBurnes on 05 Mar 2017|
Walked this with two dogs and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, some walking on residential roads but as it starts in the village I don't really see how that could have been avoided! Directions easy to follow, though don't rely on the "Mill Trail" way markers as they are very intermittent. The field after Bere Mill had a "Beware of the bull" sign but the Belted Galloways in there didn't even give us a second glance. Ditto the horses in the following paddock. St. Nicholas Church in Freefolk is stunning and well worth a visit. Happy to report that the bridge at point 3 is now present. Thank you to Claire for this walk.
|By Huggermugger on 18 Apr 2017|
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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|Image by: lozza1 |
Uploaded: 18 Oct 2014
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