brenda parker way basingstoke and deane A long distance path across north Hampshire

Bramley to Tadley - 6 miles

The map above shows the whole of the route section described below. It is interactive, and can be navigated by clicking on the direction arrows. The scale can be varied by clicking on the map or on the plus/minus buttons. The route was drawn on the normal OS Landranger mapping, so use of smaller scales may be slightly misleading at the detail level.


CLICK HERE for a printable version of this route which needs the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Should you require it, the latest version can be downloaded from here.


Introduction


The start of this section is accessible by train to Bramley from Basingstoke and Reading, by bus from Basingstoke and there is also a weekday bus service between Bramley, Silchester and Tadley. Other buses from Tadley (seven days a week) go to Basingstoke. Always check the latest times at www.travelinesw.com .


Parking is limited at both ends: side road parking near the railway station or at the recreation ground at Bramley, also limited side road parking at Tadley, but there is a large public car park about half way at Silchester Roman Town.


The Roman Town is the highlight of this section of the walk and the shorter distance allows time to explore it, while Pamber Forest offers much to see and hear for wildlife enthusiasts. Parts of this section also follows the waymarked Silchester Trail and a leaflet with more information can be found by clicking here.


Unfortunately, there are no Brenda Parker Way waymarks across the land between Bramley Frith National Grid sub-station and Silchester Church, therefore please pay particular attention to the map and the description.


For us the Explorer maps 144 and 159 are required.


The Route


Bramley to Silchester Church


From the bus stops on Sherfield Road in Bramley walk on the north side of the road to the level crossing, or if continuing from Section 3 cross Sherfield Road at the bakery and turn left, and then go over the level crossing and past the Bramley Inn. Take the metalled path into the recreation ground and follow this to the back of the pavilion and the car park.


Turn right along Minchens Lane past the surgery and then left onto the metalled bridleway that is also the access to the Bramley Frith National Grid sub-station. At the edge of the wood follow the bridleway to the right, keeping the paling fence on your left along the edge of Bramley Frith Wood, onto map 159, passing under two power lines, past Davnage Copse and to the third power line on the north side of Bramley Frith Wood. Here turn right onto the footpath across the field and make for the path junction at a row of trees beside a stream.


Make sure you turn right here along the footpath beside the field edge to the gate and then turn right along the road to follow it to the junction. Ignore the footpath on the left but just after here pass through the gate on your left into the permissive open access land at Natural England’s Church Lane Farm site. (By their nature, water meadows can be flooded in the winter; if this is the case, follow the road north and around the corner and then turn left at the next corner on to the path over Silchester Brook beside North Copse.) Entering the water meadow, keep parallel to the left hand field edge bearing right towards Silchester Brook and follow this to the bridge. Before crossing the bridge note the 13th century moat and fish pond to your right.


Cross the bridge and turn right along the permissive path through the gate and follow the field edge to join a public footpath from the left and continue over a small tributary of the Silchester Brook, through a metal gate before reaching another footbridge on the right. Do not cross the brook but keep anti-clockwise round the field edge along the south west side of North Copse, now following the Silchester Trail towards Silchester Church.


At the end of North Copse take the permissive path signposted straight on, crossing a field boundary to emerge on the road opposite Silchester Church.


Silchester Church to Silchester village centre


The 12th century church is worth a visit, otherwise turn right up the road to the corner opposite Manor Farm House, here go through the gate onto the Roman Town Trail of the Calleva Atrebatum Roman Town to first visit the Roman Amphitheatre with its information board.


Exit the amphitheatre by turning left at the information board and cross the grass to a gate onto the road. Go right along the road for a short way, then through two gates on your left and follow the wall to the right. After the North Gate, on your left there is a mound of earth from the summer excavations by Reading University, if they are present a visit may be possible and they have now found a Bronze Age town below the Roman remains.


When you reach the central track across the Roman Town you could turn right along the path to the car park, otherwise follow the bridleway to the next exit. (If time permits, it’s worth doing the circuit of the southern walls by taking the obvious path just outside the wall and follow it round to the church. Then return through the churchyard to meet the central track across the site.) Turn right at the exit onto a footpath that becomes a track meeting the road beside the green hut, formerly the small Calleva Museum of Roman finds. Here, just to the left of the track opposite is the path you need that goes across the edge of Silchester Common to emerge within sight of the crossroads, village sign, Calleva Arms PH and the bus stop at Silchester.


Silchester to Tadley


Facing the Calleva Arms turn right (or if leaving after a stop here turn left) and follow the road round into Dukes Ride. Before the houses start on the right, leave the road and pass through the gate on the right into the wood, keep the backs of the houses on your left and follow the track down to the stream.


Cross the stream and continue round to meet the bridleway with a bridge on the left and a gate and a Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust Pamber Forest sign in front of you. Go through the gate past the information board and then over the footbridge and up past a large oak tree, believed to be used to hang a donkey, to a path junction. Fork right up the track and follow the red trail sign, passing through some Scots Pine trees to meet Straight Ride.


Cross this, and still following the red markers the track curves round to the left at the edge of the wood to meet a track coming from the left at an information board. Turn right here to leave Pamber Forest by a track to the edge of Tadley along Forest Lane. Then cross into Malthouse Lane, past some thatched cottages to the Old Meeting House United Reformed Church. Fork right here to the Basingstoke to Aldermaston A340 and the bus stop and pedestrian crossing where this section ends; to reach shops or a PH follow the main road some way to the right.   

    

Points of interest


Silchester Trail

This is joined at Bramley and is an eight mile circular walk to the Roman Town of Silchester and back. It is one of three heritage trails created in 2009 and a leaflet with information also of value to this walk can be downloaded from this link.

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Bramley

The name may be derived from ‘broom clearing’ and settlement in the area can be dated back to prehistoric times, and it is close to the pre-Roman and Roman town of Silchester. The railway was built in 1848 by the Great Western Railway for local traffic to link Reading with Basingstoke, but it was not until 1895, as a result of a local campaign, that ‘Bramley Station for Silchester’ opened. From 1902 it took through traffic from the north to the south coast. The nearby Six Bells Hotel, since the 1990s called the Bramley Inn, was also built at this time as one of several buildings constructed by the owners of nearby Beaurepaire Estate in the style they regarded as Tudor. Bramley Camp opened in 1917 as an ammunition depot with a line from the railway, and more housing was therefore added to the area. In 1987 it closed as an ammunition depot but is still used for training today, as you may hear as you pass through the village. It has also been used as a film set for the television programmes ‘Midsomer Murders’ and ‘Scrapheap Challenge’. The parish council website has details of several walks of between 2 and 4 miles, these can be found by clicking here. Further reading can be found in ‘A History of Bramley Hampshire’ by Revd R C Toogood, covering its history, people connected with the area and some of the old and interesting houses in the area, and from which some of this is taken.

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Bramley Frith Wood

This is also the site of a National Grid owned electricity sub-station, the electricity pylons in this area radiate out from here. The Environmental Education Centre, previously of value to local schools, has been closed.

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Church Lane Farm

This Natural England site is accessible to the public and passes a small 13th century moat and fish pond, an eighteenth century water meadow, and willow trees grown to produce cricket bats. There is a notice at the entrance which is also available at this link.

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Silchester Church

The Church of St Mary the Virgin dates from the 12th century and is built on a pre-Christian site, with its reused Roman brick, tiles and masonry in its wall, and internal wooden carvings, is worth a visit. A useful guide sheet is available inside.

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Calleva Atrebatum Roman Town

Here is the site of the Iron Age and Roman settlement of Calleva Atrebatum which is unique because it was abandoned and has not developed like the other nearby Roman towns of Winchester and London. Follow the Roman Town Trail and read the information boards provided along the way. Further information is available from The University of Reading website, they are responsible for the ongoing excavations during the summer months.

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Calleva Museum

This unobtrusive green hut on the right at the end of the track was for more than 50 years a museum of finds discovered nearby. In 2006 it closed its doors and the contents taken to Reading University that already kept many items found on the site. It is hoped that one day the museum will be replaced by an information centre and museum at the car park to the Roman Town.

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Silchester Common

Silchester Common is part of a large Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and this part is a rare example of lowland heathland that provides a unique habitat, such as for moths and nightjars. As the common has ceased its traditional use it has become degraded so its management by local people and specialists has begun.

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Silchester

For information on the village and the attractive village sign as you approach the Calleva Arms, see the parish website.

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Pamber Forest

Once part of the extensive Royal Forest of Windsor, and now part of the Englefield Estate, Pamber Forest is another Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It contains many varieties of hardwood trees, with some unusual flowers at spring time, but is best known as a haven for many rare butterflies. The regime of coppicing and grazing used by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HWT) is required to retain the habitats for these species of flora and fauna. Their leaflet is available as you pass through or one can be downloaded from their website.

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