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|The Abbots Mitre and Harewood Forest|
|Author: Claire, Published: 11 May 2017||Walk Rating:|
|A 7 mile circular pub walk from the Abbots Mitre in the pretty village of Chilbolton, Hampshire. The Abbots Mitre is a superb traditional village pub serving locally sourced food, with roaring open fires in the winter months and a sunny raised garden to enjoy in the summer. The walking route takes you across Chilbolton’s Cow Common to join the Test Way, crossing the idyllic River Test with chance to spot a kingfisher. The Test Way leads you all the way into Harewood Forest, an ancient broadleaf woodland with carpets of spring flowers and plenty more wildlife to enjoy. |
The route has only gentle climbs and descents throughout, with nothing too steep. Many of the paths are surfaced with stone or tarmac, but there are a few unmade stretches that can get muddy in winter or after periods of rain. There are no stiles on route, but you will need to negotiate some simple gates, flights of steps and footbridges. A couple of short stretches of the Test Way are very narrow and so are prone to being a little overgrown in the height of the growing season. There is no farm livestock on route, but in the summer months you may come across conservation cattle grazing on Cow Common. The forest is criss-crossed by many paths, so we recommend using the iFootpath App’s live GPS map to aid navigation. Approximate time 3.5 hours.
The village of Chilbolton is located about 4 miles south east of Andover, and is easily accessed from the A303. The walk starts and finishes from the Abbots Mitre pub on Village Street at the centre of the village. The pub has its own car park. Approximate post code SO20 6BA.
|Start to Cow Common|
Start point: 51.1575 lat, -1.44 long
Leave the pub car park via the vehicle entrance and turn left along the village road, taking care of any traffic and passing the thatched village post office and stores on your right. Continue past the thatched Horseshoe Cottage on your right and ignore the gravel side road, Lynton Meadow. A few metres later (just by a 20mph sign) turn right to join a narrow footpath which runs between garden hedges.
|Cow Common to Hairpin Bend|
Start point: 51.1577 lat, -1.4429 long
Turn right to follow the stone vehicle track. Cross the stream via the wide sleeper bridge and, a few paces later, turn left onto the path (marked with a blue TW arrow). This waymark denotes that you are now following the Test Way. The path leads you diagonally across the grass and on to reach a footbridge over a branch of the River Test.
|Hairpin Bend to Harewood Forest|
Start point: 51.1655 lat, -1.4477 long
Taking care of traffic, follow the right-hand branch of the road (downhill) for 40 metres and then turn left through the fence gap to join the signed footpath (still the Test Way). Follow this narrow path (which can become a little overgrown) and it emerges to a junction of quiet residential lanes. Go straight ahead into the no-through road, Beech Grove. Follow this road ahead, with houses on your left and a few wooden workshops on your right.
|Harewood Forest to Forest Footpath|
Start point: 51.1779 lat, -1.4429 long
Turn right along the track for just a few paces and then fork left to join the narrow path (signed as the continuation of the Test Way). This narrow path winds along the edge of the forest, with dense woodland on your left and a crop field through the tree line on your right. If you are walking in the late spring, the mass carpet of bluebells within the woodland will not have escaped your notice.
|Forest Footpath to Popple Hill Crossroads|
Start point: 51.183 lat, -1.4272 long
Keep ahead on this footpath, which leads you to a fork at a waymarker post. Take the left-hand path and follow this climbing steadily through the trees. You will have noticed that this, and many of the other forest paths, are surfaced with concrete, stone or tarmac. This is a reminder of the past, when Harewood Forest was home to a munitions storage site during World War II. Many of the vehicle tracks, Nissan huts and other structures can still be seen dotted around. The woodland itself remains seemingly unaffected by this past patriotic role. Harewood Forest is the second largest ancient woodland in Hampshire and you may spot deer if you walk quietly.
|Popple Hill Crossroads to New Barn|
Start point: 51.1877 lat, -1.4435 long
Turn left onto the surfaced vehicle track for just a few metres and, just before this track swings left, fork right to join an unmade woodland path. Stay with the obvious path leading you ahead. At the first junction (a crossroads with a vehicle track), go straight ahead to continue on the unmade footpath (marked with a yellow arrow).
|New Barn to River Boardwalks|
Start point: 51.1741 lat, -1.4461 long
Cross the track and go straight ahead to continue on the tree-lined Test Way path. Simply follow this path until you reach a fork (at a junction with a gravel driveway). Fork right, heading up the gravel driveway and, immediately before the property gates, turn right up the steps to join the narrow hedge-lined path. Emerge to, and then keep ahead along, the residential road, Beech Grove. At the end of this road, take the left-hand of the two driveways ahead and, a few paces along, fork right to join the narrow path between hedgerows.
|River Boardwalks to End|
Start point: 51.1624 lat, -1.4496 long
Cross the boardwalks, pass through the gate at the far side and keep ahead on the main stone path leading into Cow Common. Where the stone path ends, simply continue along the grass path which leads you to another footbridge. Cross the bridge and follow the stone path ahead to reach choice of grass paths (just before a tree). Take the right-hand path (about 1 o’clock) which leads you to a T-junction with the vehicle track.
Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.
Did the walk today, great little walk with pub at the end.
|By Cooper645 on 27 Jan 2018|
Did this walk today. Excellent directions. Nice walk to take in this super countryside.
|By Kidgell on 08 Oct 2017|
We did this walk yesterday. The section over the River Test is really beautiful, and Harewood Forest feels truly remote and peaceful, with the distant hum of the A303 only just perceptible. The directions were spot on. Recommended!
|By keithbarker on 18 Sep 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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iOS Appstore November 2017
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Email November 2017
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My wife and I did your Petworth and Shimmings Valley walk yesterday. It was absolutely beautiful and enhanced by the wonderful weather. Your instructions were the clearest I have ever used for walking.
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Very enjoyable and well described route. Views over the river from the warren were stunning.
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Even on a cold windy day with it trying to snow this was still an excellent walk. We managed it with our 2 children of 5 yrs and one in a all terain pram (a defo no no with a normal pram). Will be doing this one again in the summer.
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