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Wootton St Lawrence and Malshanger Park

There are currently 3 comments and 0 photos online for this walk.

Wootton St Lawrence and Malshanger Park
Author: Claire, Published: 11 Feb 2017 Walk 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, Basingstoke
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Wootton St Lawrence and Malshanger Park
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 5.5 mile circular walk from the village of Wootton St Lawrence, near Basingstoke in Hampshire. The route explores the local footpaths and bridleway tracks, taking you through woodland and open fields with some beautiful views. Along the way you will pass through Malshanger Park, with glimpses of the mansion and the old parkland. This is a particularly peaceful area where you will enjoy a true feeling of escape.

The route has long and steady climbs and descents throughout, but there are no particularly steep sections. About a third of the route follows tarmac or stone tracks, but the remainder of the woodland and unmade tracks can get very muddy at times. You will need to negotiate two stiles (both of which have open fencing or gateways alongside for dogs to pass through) on route. Most of the surrounding land is arable, but there is one sheep field that you will need to pass through or alongside (depending on the current position of the temporary fencing). Allow 3 hours.

Wootton St Lawrence is located about 3 miles west of Basingstoke in Hampshire. The walk starts and finishes outside the Church of St Lawrence, in the centre of the village. There is roadside parking available directly alongside the church. Approximate post code RG23 8PE.

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Walk Sections

Start to Tangier Park
Start to Tangier Park

Start point: 51.2752 lat, -1.1522 long
End point: 51.274 lat, -1.1642 long

The walk starts and finishes outside the Church of St Lawrence. This medieval church was rebuilt in the mid-1800s, but it retains some original features. Charles Butler, sometimes called the Father of English Beekeeping, was the vicar of St Lawrence Church until his death in 1647. He popularised the notion that the head of the hive was a queen rather than a king.

Standing with your back to the church, turn left along the village road (ignoring the footpath signed to the left). After just 100 metres, with Manor Farm on your right, turn left into the side road (marked as a no through road). Follow this road, Well Close, between houses then bending right and left to continue ahead between fields. At the end of this straight stretch of lane, you will come to a crossroads with farm tracks (marked by a fingerpost).

Continue straight ahead on the main access lane which swings right and leads you past Tangier Park Lodge on your left. Just beyond this you will see the black vehicle gates for Tangier Park House ahead.

Tangier Park to The Lodge
Tangier Park to The Lodge

Start point: 51.274 lat, -1.1642 long
End point: 51.264 lat, -1.1848 long

Just before these vehicle gates, turn left (over or alongside a stile) and follow the footpath along the left-hand edge of this field. NOTE: When we walked there was some temporary wire fencing that created an enclosed footpath along the field edge, but if this has changed you may be sharing this field with sheep. You will have great views of Tangier Park House across to your right.

At the far left-hand corner of the field, simply keep straight ahead to follow a narrow path into woodland. Follow the woodland path winding through the narrow belt of trees, probably crossing a fallen tree along the way. Soon afterwards you will come to a fence and stile ahead. NOTE: This was partially blocked by fallen branches when we walked, but if necessary you can skirt around the entire fence via the crop field on your left – you will need to retrace your steps a little to access this field.

Once across the stile, you will see a choice of four paths (two of which are marked as ‘no public right of way’). Take the furthest left, a sharp left turn, and follow this path with a single line of trees and a crop field on your left. As you emerge from the woodland, simply keep ahead on the grass track with the tree line running on your left and an open field on your right.

Follow the track steadily downhill then bending hard left. The track now climbs gently and swings hard right to continue along the bottom of the field, with a hedgerow on your left. Simply follow the track, staying alongside the hedgerow on your left, and you will emerge out to the road, with a pretty half-timbered property called The Lodge on your right.

The Lodge to Garden Cottage
The Lodge to Garden Cottage

Start point: 51.264 lat, -1.1848 long
End point: 51.2695 lat, -1.189 long

Turn right (passing the front of The Lodge) and then walk straight ahead to take the public footpath, passing through the gap in the fence just to the left of the vehicle gate. Join the tarmac driveway and follow this winding steadily uphill into Malshanger Park. There are some beautiful old trees along this stretch.

Malshanger has a long history dating back earlier than the Domesday Book and has been associated with many of the prominent families in Hampshire including Kingsmill, Fiennes and Spencer Portal (the banknote manufacturers). It was the birthplace of William Wareham, Archbishop of Canterbury in the early 1500s. It was during his tenure that the Tudor Hall was built including an octagonal four-storey Gate Tower of red brick (you may get a glimpse of this soon). In 1806 the estate was sold to the First Lord Thurlow who replaced the Tudor Hall with a Georgian mansion house, leaving the Tudor Tower as a feature. The Georgian grounds included stables and outbuildings built around a courtyard guarded by the Tudor Tower at the north west entrance, and well-appointed kitchen gardens.

Continue ahead as the tarmac drive leads you between sheep pastures, fenced with beautiful old black railings. At this point, look diagonally right across the pasture and you may be able to see the roof top of Malshanger House and its tower (unless the tree canopy is too dense). Keep your eyes peeled in some of the adjacent pastures, as you may be able to see some of the park’s alpacas grazing. Stay with the driveway as it swings right and leads you past Garden Cottage (with its elegant tall chimneys) on your right.

Garden Cottage to Byway Track
Garden Cottage to Byway Track

Start point: 51.2695 lat, -1.189 long
End point: 51.286 lat, -1.1866 long

Beyond the cottage, you will pass the walled gardens and glasshouses also on your right. At the small crossroads (with a post box set into the flint wall on your right), go straight ahead with the tall yew hedge running on your left. You will pass Sheardown House on your right. Immediately after the tall yew hedge ends on your left, fork left across the crop field (heading for the modern farm barns at the far side). At the far side of the field, turn left across the concrete farmyard and then turn right along the main concrete access drive which leads you out to the road.

Turn left along the road for just 80 metres to reach the left-hand bend. At this point, turn right through the gap alongside the wide gate and you will see a fingerpost marking a choice of two paths. Take the right-hand of these paths (about 2 o’clock) heading diagonally across the grass field. Pass the aircraft hanger and windsock on your right and continue in the same direction across the grass landing strip (keeping a lookout for any aircraft on the move).

Beyond the landing strip, continue in the same direction on the footpath across the chalk crop field. As you reach the hedgerow at the far side, turn right along the grass track (with the hedge running on your left). Continue just until you reach a waymarker post at a gap in this hedge. Turn left here to join the stone track, passing through the hedgerow and continuing between fields. At the junction, stay straight ahead, now with a woodland running on your left. Take a moment at this point to turn around and appreciate the far-reaching views that have opened up behind.

At the end of the track, go straight ahead through the hedge gap to reach a T-junction with an unmade vehicle track, a public byway.

Byway Track to Bridleway
Byway Track to Bridleway

Start point: 51.286 lat, -1.1866 long
End point: 51.2808 lat, -1.161 long

Turn right along this vehicle track and follow it for about 800 metres to reach a junction with a road. Turn left along the road for about 25 metres and, where the road bends left, go straight ahead to join the next stretch of byway track. 400 metres along, ignore the first footpath signed off to the right. Stay with the main stone track and about 800 metres later (just after passing through an often muddy or partially flooded dip in the track, and before reaching the farm buildings on your left) look out for a bridleway signed off to the right.

Bridleway to End
Bridleway to End

Start point: 51.2808 lat, -1.161 long
End point: 51.2755 lat, -1.1522 long

Turn right onto this bridleway and follow the grass track between fenced crop fields. Once again you are rewarded with far reaching views at this point. The track continues through arches of trees and eventually you will emerge to a crossroads that you should recognise from the outward leg (with Tangier Park to the right). From this point, you will be retracing your steps back to the church.

Turn left along the lane, Well Close. Follow it between fields and then dog-legging right and left to continue between houses. As you reach the junction with the village road, turn right and this will lead you back to the village church where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.

3 comments for "Wootton St Lawrence and Malshanger Park"

Really lovely Febuary walk in the sun. Directions and local points of interest really interesting and felt really free. thank you.

By em79 on 17 Feb 2018

Completed this walk on 14/05/17. The fallen branches mentioned in section 2 are now cleared together with overhanging branches - so a nice walk through the wood.

By Matt62 on 14 May 2017

Ice was rather exposed for today, which was cold and windy. Would have been lovely on a fine day.

By bobs on 24 Mar 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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