Hook to Winchfield

Published by Crisps on

30 July 2022. Thirteen people started out on this mostly flat Hampshire walk.

Predictably the leader got confidently lost at the first opportunity. Following the line of pylons  crossing Bartley Heath she came back on track  when she spied the intended – and only – footbridge crossing the M3.

Once away from the sounds of traffic the walk meandered pleasantly through woodland, across farm fields and over a couple of fords on the small River Whitewater to reach the  Basingstoke Canal. Here we stopped to inspect  Odiham Castle – one time hunting lodge of Bad King John, whence he departed for Runnymede to sign the Magna Carta .

“Fromage” at Odiham Castle courtesy of Christine

We left the canal at the dead end of the Greywell Tunnel and proceeded through the pretty village  pausing to visit the twelfth century  church of St Mary the Virgin.  Over a couple of low stiles – further triumph for Sandra  who leapt over three all told on this walk – we arrived at the outskirts of the historic village of Odiham. Deciding discretion was the better part of valour when faced  with a field full of frisky cows and two more stiles, we proceeded by road and  various snickets to the church where the pest house, built in 1622,  was unexpectedly open.

Not , as far as we are aware , in use during Covid –  although  suggested by Howard.

After lunch  four people caught the bus returning to Hook and nine of us proceeded to rejoin the welcome shade of the Basingstoke Canal.  We left the Canal  passing through  woodland before entering  the Dogmersfeld Estate. Here the walk  rose gently uphill through  trammelled fields to give a view of a mysterious complex  of older buildings.  This  considerable pile is was not marked on either of our  OS maps ( we had 2 editions including the most recent)  nor could  it be  seen on Google maps . A later inspection of Google Earth  revealed it – nameless .

Mystery complex; Fresh from our visit to Bletchley Park our imaginations had free rein….
Security cameras behind the lion??
Special spy dog pet memorial??

 Back on the shady canal we turned towards Winchfield station passing by the small but  spectacular Norman church of St Mary’s – sadly closed. The walk turned out to be 12 rather than the 10 advertised miles but the village of Odiham is certainly worth a visit.

A foretaste of the decorated arches inside

Thanks to Christine for the photos.

Categories: Walks