Highclere to Sidley Bottom -
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.
This section starts and finishes on the Newbury to Andover bus service, so it is feasible to do the walk from either end using this bus service, travelling by train to either of these towns. Always check the latest times at this link. There is no suitable car parking at the start or finish of this section. This section crosses the highest point in Hampshire, Pilot Hill at 286m on the North Hampshire Downs, but the climb is long rather than steep and is rewarded with views over four other counties. This section requires three of the Explorer series of OS map, numbers 144 (first quarter mile), 158 and 131.
Our route takes the minor road out of Highclere going west just south of The Red House PH and bus stops, continuing to fork right at a minor road junction and as far as the corner at Alma Farm on map 158.
Behind the big oak tree is a stile which leads along a track down to a stream. Cross this and into woodland over a small ridge before dropping to another stream. Cross this too and through more woodland to come out into a field. The path bears slightly left and comes out on a minor road on the edge of East Woodhay. Turn right along the road to a four-
Join the bridleway at the farm going northwest and ignore all turnings to the left until it turns sharply to the left at a junction with some footpaths.
East Woodhay to Faccombe
Follow the track, slowly climbing to meet a metalled road. For the next mile you will need both maps 158 and 131 before continuing on the latter to the end of the route. Turn left along the road as far as the next track that turns sharply to the right to join the Wayfarer's Walk. Take this track past the modern chalet-
The Wayfarer’s Walk has come from Emsworth on Hampshire’s coast and runs for 70 miles and finishes at Inkpen Beacon, a few miles further from here. Pause for the views to the north, over the four counties of Wiltshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire with the Ridgeway path on the horizon. Leave the Wayfarers Walk at this point climbing a little more on this cross-
Turn right here and follow the track to a view point with Pilot Hill on your right. Continue along the track down to the bottom and climb the other side, ignoring any turnings, until joining a metalled road on the edge of Faccombe. Turn left past Faccombe Estate Office and past the church, at the triangle road junction fork right round the corner to the Jack Russell PH with a pond opposite, where you could have a welcome stop.
Faccombe to Sidley Bottom on A343
Passing the Jack Russell PH continue as far as Green Lane which is on the left and opposite where the lane from the church comes out. Follow Green Lane past the barn and round the corner to the left near some oak trees to reach the road. Cross this into London Lane and follow this down along the side of the valley through the wood, crossing a track, to merge onto a metalled road. Those using public transport should refer to the Transport page for an alternative route from this point as the bus stops either side at Sidley Bottom are no longer served.
Continue down to the finger post on the right pointing back up the hill, enter the field here but continue down to join a track in the valley bottom that turns right down the valley. Keep to the bottom of the valley for the rest of the way, mostly following a track. Near the end is a narrow path, walking beside the field edge may be more accessible, then join a better path that leads to the kennels on the A343 at Sidley Bottom. Unfortunately, since the route was finalised, the bus stops either side at Sidley Bottom are no longer serviced and a walk of about 2 miles northeastwards is needed to reach the nearest bus stop at Crux Easton.
Places of interest
The village of Highclere is on the A343 between Andover and Newbury, a road the Brenda Parker Way crosses several times on its way to Andover. Highclere is recorded as a settlement before the Norman Conquest and the area is characterised by a maze of country lanes and paths within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Like its near neighbour Kingsclere, it is famous for its horse racing. The community are currently planning some local walks guides, for the latest information see this site and click on walks.
The Brenda Parker Way passes on the south side of this parish of numerous hamlets that was visited by William Cobbett and mentioned in his ‘Rural Rides’. For information on the history of the area see the parish website and click on Local History.
This is another long distance path, covering 70 miles from Emsworth on the coast to Inkpen Beacon to the west and just over the border in Berkshire where it meets the Test Way. A little further west from Inken Beacon, the Mid Wilts Way can be joined.
Hampshire’s highest point at 286m, the Brenda Parker Way passes to the east of the summit. Although the trig point is hidden from view, open access is permitted on its northern and southern slopes.
Almost as high as Ashmansworth which takes the title of Hampshire’s highest village, the surrounding farmland is managed by Faccombe Estates and the estate office is passed in the village. A large wind turbine generator can be seen further up the ridge to the north. You pass the Victorian church, dedicated to St Barnabas, and then on your left the large gates with Faccombe Manor behind, before reaching The Jack Russell PH on the right at the road junction. Opposite is the village pond, surrounded by spring bulbs at the beginning of the year.