PLAP Route 7 - North Wessex Downs, Hampshire
Distance: approximately 12 miles.
Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer Map Number 144 (Map 1:25000)
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This Route starts from the Village Green in the picturesque village of Hannington and offers an enjoyable amble in undulating countryside mainly on single track lanes. The total length is aproximately twelve miles, but can be divided into three smaller adjoining sections of approximately six, four and two miles - all of which include a short segment off-road. The shortest section is possibly too rutted for some drivers and is not suitable for cars.
The general location offers a variety of well-known sights for visitors including Watership Down (the backdrop for Richard Adams novel of the same name); Kingsclere (Park House Stables at which Andrew Balding trains racehorses); the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, offering varied wildlife and stunning views; the Blackwater Valley and Basingstoke Canal, and The Kennett and Avon Canal (boat trips, nature reserves and walking trails); and Chawton Museum (relating to the life of Jane Austen). Historic houses which can be visited include Vine House (National Trust) and Highclere Castle – the location at which Downton Abbey was filmed.
Route kindly researched and submitted by Mary Greaves (BHS Life Member and Member of the Newbury Pony Driving for the Disabled Group)
See accompanying map for location of identifying letters
Leave Hannington Village Green in the direction of North Oakley (shown on the millenium stone on the Green) passing the Vine Inn and the Vine and Craven Hunt Kennels on the left.
1. Stay on the lane until reaching North Oakley (no village sign) - do not turn left down Hannington Road. Continue through the hamlet until you reach point 2.
2. Take a sharp left turn onto a slightly rutted Byway just before Ash Warren Farm, which is the base of the Newbury Pony Driving for the Disabled Group. Continue along this track through the woods to the tarmac lane.
3. Cross straight over at the crossroads (signed Ibworth) and continue for approx. one mile.
4. Follow on through Ibworth to Upper Wootton.
5. Drive/ride on through Upper Wootton until you reach a T-junction where you turn right - signed Wootton St Lawrence.
6. At this point the lane swings left (but it is possible to make a short cut down the Byway). Continue along the lane until you reach a group of Byways.
7. From here, continue along the tarmac lane to Wootton St Lawrence.
8. Just after the church turn left, signed Monk Sherborne.
9. Take the next left turn until you reach a Byway.
10. Turn left onto this Byway. Note that the track is not suitable for cars. When you reach the next lane cross straight over onto the Byway.
11. Turn left, and then immediately right up the Byway where you’ll find several tree roots making the ground slightly uneven. On reaching the next lane once again cross straight over (signed Hannington) and return back to Hannington down a steep hill followed by a steady climb. The lane you are following enters the village opposite the millenium stone.
12. To return to The Vine Inn, turn left. To return to Whitehill car park, turn right.
Parking: 1. The Vine Inn at Hannington (see upper right) – please call in advance (01635 298525).
2. Whitehill Car Park shown on the map (see lower right). This is accessible from the B3051 and will involve riding/driving approximately two miles to the starting point of the route. Turn left immediately on leaving the car park, continue along the Byway, and turn left when you reach the tarmac lane.
Entry to this car park is slightly hidden and is opposite a layby. Some places for informal parking are available on the route depending on the type of vehicle(s) being used and the condition of the ground.
Insurance: The BHS recommends that before undertaking any part of this route, both horse and rider should be adequately insured against public liability. The British Horse Society can provide public liability and personal accident insurance cover as well as many benefits if you join as a member (terms and conditions and territorial limits apply). For more information or to join, visit our Membership section.
Feedback: These routes are kept to the standard that the local authority can afford. They were all accessible at the lime of launch and are on definitive public rights of way. If you experience any problems with the routes or wish to raise any concerns, please contact the local authority, your local BHS Access Officer or the Access Team at BHS HQ via email@example.com.