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

Rag Copse to Andover - 9 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


Like the last two sections, the start of the final section of the walk can be reached from the Andover to Newbury bus service. If you are driving, an alternative is to start this section from Tangley Village Hall car park at Wildhern at GR 351 510. Cango bus services also run from some of the villages along the route into Andover. Always check the current public transport times at www.travelinesw.com . This final section of the Brenda Parker Way passes through more pleasant north Hampshire farmland, woodland and pretty villages before entering Andover from the west. The Explorer Map 131 is needed for this section.


The Route


Rag Wood to Hatherden


From the bus stop at the entrance to Bourne Park (GR 3692 5158) carefully follow the A343 road south to where the corners of Rag Copse on the south and Rag Wood on the north meet the road; or if continuing from the south, when you reach the road look for the footpath sign across the road to the left of you.


From the north side of the A343 road take the footpath along the north east side of Rag Wood which drops down to a forest gate on your right. Cross the stile beside the gate, turn right on the track coming from the left, and go immediately left at the fork round the corner to Doles Farm. Turn left to take the path between the farm house and barn along a track gently climbing in a south-westerly direction. At the top ignore the two side tracks and then follow the field edge to the bottom. Pass through a gap to follow the path to the right with the trees on your right and then a confined path beside a paddock and garden and house to the road at Wildhern.


Turn left and immediately right beside the chapel and go along the road to the Tangley Parish Village Hall and recreation ground where there is a small car park. Enter the recreation ground and follow the edge parallel to the road, joining the permissive path down to a junction of four roads and a track with a pond; the straight road and track is Hungerford Lane Roman Road. Go straight across the junction to continue on the permissive path in the field with the road on your left through two fields to a small cemetery on the edge of Hatherden. Turn right here along the road down to the junction with the church and school opposite separated by a short lane.


If you have come from St Mary Bourne today you may be ready for a visit to The Old Bell and Crown PH down the road to the left. Otherwise take the short lane opposite and then follow the footpath between two gates and then along the side of the field to the road. Turn left down the road to the footpath on the right after the last house.


Hatherden to Penton Mewsey


Follow the footpath on the right almost due west with the fields on the left until you meet a track near some farm buildings on the right. Cross the track and take the footpath across the field, aiming for the corner of the wood well to the left of the far house, then continue along the field edge to the road. Turn left here and around the corner is a barn before the farm at Nutbane; this is as far west as our walk goes, half a mile from the Wiltshire border.


Turn sharp left here, not into the pit but along the bridleway now going east along a narrow path before going along a field edge beside a woodland strip to the field corner where the path passes through some trees to reach a track by a gate on your left. The now ploughed-out Nutbane Long Barrow is through the field gap back on your right, its site only determined by a slight bump and paler soil.


Turn right along the track to go south, past a turning by a barn, past an electricity pylon to join a metalled road. Continue down here through the pretty village of Penton Mewsey to The White Hart Inn PH. From here continue along the road, past the recreation ground which is a good picnic stop, to cross the bridge over the stream to meet the road near a bus stop.


Penton Mewsey to Andover


Turn left and then cross the road into the busy Harroway Lane and follow this carefully uphill to a bend and turn left along the ancient Harrow Way. This byway is soon crossed by a track just before the industrial estates, turn left onto the bridleway and follow the track down, and before crossing the stream turn right along a wide strip to a corner of a metalled road. Go straight on and almost immediately turn left between a pair of houses and a row of beech trees along the bridleway to join a shared pedestrian-cyclist path with games pitches on the left. Follow the metalled path past the playing fields and a play area to the first pond. Take the path beside the first of two ponds as far as a small car park and then follow the exit road past the sports centre on the right as far as the main road.


At the main road turn right as far as the crossing before the flyover, cross the road and take the shared path opposite, climbing before dropping to cross the stream and go through a green and white underpass. Then turn right and past the houses to join a gravel path and go through a gate. Ignore the turning right across the lakes to the car park and keep Anton Lake Nature Reserve on your right and follow the gravel path round to cross a small footbridge and then another larger one over the upper reaches of the Anton River coming from the north. Continue to a path junction and turn right to resume the path beside Anton Lake. Don’t take the next footbridge but follow the path round to the left and then right to join a metalled surface down the side of the valley, bear right again under the railway, past Wickes on the edge of Andover, under the main road, and over a stream to meet the road.


Here turn right then immediately left up into the cemetery, follow the path up and over a path crossing into the other part of the cemetery from where you can now see St Mary’s Church. Follow the path round to the right past the chapel of rest and on to the church entrance beside some steps. Don’t go down these but continue to a small green beside the church with seats looking on to Andover’s War Memorial, the end of our walk.


For the main shopping area, refreshments and bus and train stations take the steps on the right of the memorial and turn left to a turquoise signpost at the top of the pedestrianised High Street. On your right is The Angel Inn PH, an old coaching inn and Andover’s oldest building, where a well earned drink may be needed to mark the completion of your walk.



Places of Interest


Wildhern

It is believed the name is derived from ‘hern’ meaning heron, and ‘wyld’ meaning a croft, or more simply a wilderness. The chapel on the corner replaced an older building and was completed in 1880 using locally made bricks and has been recently refurbished. A permissive bridleway links the village with Hatherden on the north side of the road from the recreation ground. Wildhern, along with Hatherden, is part of Tangley parish and their website provides walking information in the area, follow the link to rights of way, although the map does not show the permissive paths. Back.


Hungerford Lane Roman Road

This is another in the network of Roman Roads and this one links Cirencester to Winchester and continues to the south coast. It crosses the Portway just east of Andover. Back.


Hatherden

Hatherden probably means ‘hawthorn valley’, and our walk passes both the school and church. A plaque states that the school was endowed in 1725; it has since expanded to the rear. The land for the church was donated by the lord of the manor in 1856 and the flint and brick church completed in 1857. Then in 1975 it was severely damaged by fire, and as the insurance was insufficient to cover the repairs, funds were raised locally to cover the cost and the church reopened in 1977. Back.


Nutbane Long Barrow

This Neolithic long barrow north of Penton Mewsey was 55m long and 20m wide at its broadest end in the east and was a wooden enclosure later burnt down and a mound raised around it. It has been dated to about 3000BC and valuable evidence of funerary rituals was excavated from it. Its tapering plan was common and gave the illusion of enormous length when seen form the forecourt end. Unfortunately, it has now been ploughed out. For more see ‘Neolithic Britain’ by Rodney Castleden, from which this is taken. Back.


Penton Mewsey

The name of this pretty village derives from the word for a farm held at a penny rent, and the manor was once held by Robert de Meisy, but along with Penton Grafton it is locally known as Penton. The area is now mainly given over to arable farming. Back.


Harrow Way

The Harrow or Tin Way can be traced from Kent to Cornwall and was used in the Bronze Age when tin was brought to make bronze, but it is believed to date back to Neolithic times, making it probably the oldest road in England. Primarily a trading route, later sheep were driven along it and pilgrims used it to get to Canterbury to visit the remains of the martyred Thomas Becket. At Andover the Harrow Way crosses two Roman Roads and the River Anton, enabling the town to develop. Back.


Anton Lake Nature Reserve

Chalk streams drain into the lake from near Weyhill and Knights Enham depending on the level of the water table. The River Anton, rising in the north is the main tributary and drains through Anton Lake into the River Test at Fullerton. The lake and its surrounding area provide habitats for a wide range of water birds, but also water voles and many species of butterflies. The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust are working with other organisations to monitor and improve the wildlife benefits of the lake. The surrounding area is used as a local amenity for the people of Andover. Back.


Andover

Its name derives from the name for an ash tree and water. This market town can trace its origins back to Saxon times, founded on milling and sheep farming, the town benefitted from its location near two Roman Roads, the Harrow Way and the infant River Anton. Following a fire in the 15th century, the town was rebuilt, including the Angel Inn, the oldest building to survive from this time. By the 18th century Andover was on the main coach route from London to Exeter. A canal link to Southampton was also built but was not profitable and closed in 1859, just after the railway arrived in 1854 linking the town with Basingstoke and Salisbury. In the 1960s there was housing development to alleviate overcrowding in London. Today’s military connections began with the arrival of the RAF at Andover airfield during the First World War. In the Second World War the airfield saw action in the Battle of Britain and with US forces. It then became the headquarters of RAF Maintenance Command which was the first British military helicopter unit formed in 1945. Some of the trials of the Hawker Siddeley Harrier vertical take-off jet took place here. The airfield closed in 1977 but was then used by the army for a time and now the site is being redeveloped. Although much of the military presence in Andover has ended, they are still present nearby with the Army Air Corp and the Museum of Army Flying, and also the army on Salisbury Plain. For more details on RAF Andover click here,  from which much of this is taken; for a brief history of the town and from which some of this is also taken, see ‘Short History of Andover’ by J.E.H. Spaul.

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