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

Tadley to Kingsclere - 10 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

Important: This section is significantly affected by a Temporary Footpath Closure from 9 December 2017 to 17 May 2018. For details see under “Ashford Hill to Plastow Green” below.


The bus service from Basingstoke stops near The Green in Tadley. Kingsclere is on the bus route from Basingstoke and Newbury. Always check the latest times at Traveline South West . Parking is limited in Tadley but Kingsclere has a small public car park near the church. This section of the Brenda Parker Way is characterised by small patches of woodland and farmland, with an important nature reserve at Ashford Hill. The route crosses what could have been the area submerged by the Enborne Valley Flood Schemes. Three Explorer maps are needed for this section : 159, 158 and 144.


The Route


Tadley to Baughurst


From the bus stop on the west side of the A340 or, if continuing from Section 4, cross the road by the pedestrian crossing and turn right past the old post office and then left into The Green towards St Paul’s Church in Tadley. Pass the school and church and at the end of the road join a footpath along a track and then into an enclosed path beside some houses and then follow the path to a road.


Turn right into Church Road and at the end cross New Road and follow the pavement to the left, over Guttridge Lane to follow the pavement between houses and a hedge to the corner. Here go through the gap and cross the road to take the left fork along an oak-lined road to the corner. Leave the road here and cross the stile on to a footpath and follow the field edge beside some more oaks past a path junction to the end and follow the path round to the right to the road.


Turn right then left through a kissing gate, across the field to another kissing gate and keep in this direction to reach the road. Here turn right along Baughurst Road and then left into Chapel Lane beside the former Primitive Methodist Chapel.


Baughurst to Ashford Hill


In Chapel Lane pass the footpath on the left and continue to Curtis Farm and through the gate on the left side of the farm, following the path down and over a stream. Then turn right and follow the hedge round to the left and up to Violet Lane where you turn right to meet Wolverton Road, turn right then left on to Inhurst Lane and left at the first footpath turning along a loose chippings track. At the end of the hedge turn right across the field north-westerly towards some woods.


At the wood edge take the dominant path that forks left and straight on and across the next footpath junction. Continue westerly to follow the wire-mesh fence on your right as far as a bridleway joining from the left just before a ditch. Cross the ditch leaving the wood to enter an open green near a waymark sign.


In addition to the public rights of way, there are several other paths in this valley, but you need to find you way downstream to the road. Pass the sign and follow the bridleway until a third of the way across the green and then turn right towards a green Natural England sign and gate into the Ashford Hill National Nature Reserve. Follow the path round and down to the left onto the boardwalks beside Baughurst Brook to a metal gate by a wide wooden bridge over the stream.


Cross this and follow the edge of the green to the right, noting the flowers in these water meadows, and follow the grass track on the south side of the stream to a metalled track that leads to the gate on the Ashford Hill Road, the B3051, at Ashford Hill. If you are ready for a lunch stop, The Ship Inn PH beckons across the road bridge to your right.


Ashford Hill to Plastow Green

The section highlighted in red below is affected by a Temporary Footpath Closure. For details click http://www3.hants.gov.uk/pnadetail?noticeUID=8381. The simplest way to avoid this closure is to turn left on the minor road (Woodhouse Lane) down to Ashford Hill Road. Here turn right (care: busy road) then soon left into Ram Alley. Proceed to just beyond The White Cottage; here, turn right on to a footpath across fields. Walk along this path for about 1 km to rejoin the Brenda Parker Way at Hillhouse Lane. Turn left. This diversion is roughly the same length as the official route.


Continuing, take the track opposite the exit of the nature reserve, Old Lane. Follow this gravel track all the way to the last house where the bridleway continues through a gap, change to the 158 map and at the road turn right down to the footpath on the left. Follow the footpath along the right edge of the field, round the corner near a pylon, down to cross a small footbridge, and into woodland and then left beside a fence to eventually join a grassy track beside the River Enborne.


At a metalled drive turn right, pause to see the river from Park Gully Bridge but do not cross it, continue along the path beside the river but soon pass through a gate on the left to cross a field to another gate on the edge of a copse. Turn left and take the path up through the copse and continue in this direction to the road at Goose Hill.


Turn right along the road as far as the bridleway on the left at Goose Hill House and follow this up, past paths crossing near a corner of a wood to reach Huntsmoor Hill. Turn left at the junction and then fork left down to the road. Turn right here and then left into a cul-de-sac and follow the road past the houses at Plastow Green.


Go left at the path junction and just after a gate on the road leading to Scarlett’s Farm, turn right onto a footpath and follow the field edge with the hedge on the left to meet a bridleway.


Plastow Green to Kingsclere


At the bridleway, turn left and continue towards Watchbury Copse and turn right at a stile just before passing under the second set of power cables at the corner of Watchbury Copse.


Follow the path southwards along the edge of the copse and on the rise of the hill you have the first glimpse of the North Hampshire Downs in the distance to your right. Some of the paths on the ground may differ from your map, but continue to follow the field edge ignoring first a stile on the left and then a little further on a metal kissing gate hidden in the hedge beneath some overhead cables.  A little further on take the stile on the left into a small band of trees and exit by a second stile. Turn right and continue along the north east side of Harridens Great Copse up to a stile on the right taking you southwards.


Follow the track through the copse, past a wooden keeper’s hut, down to a stream and up past a Harridens Wood sign facing away from you. Keep on to a track and turn right for a short way before resuming on the footpath on the right, climbing gently beside a stream to emerge into a field. Follow the field edge with the hedge on the left, join the 144 map and enter the wood where footpaths cross from left and right. Keep straight on, with a an old boundary bank on your right, keep going, with fields through the trees to the right, as far as a stile into a field. Cross the stile and another at the end of the field and turn right down to another, to follow a confined path to meet the A339.   


Carefully cross the busy road and aim for the footpath a little way to the right, go over a ditch and turn right and follow a grassy path some way from but parallel to the A339 until a path is crossed with small gates to left and right. Turn left and go up to join a metalled path to Strokins Road and turn right along the pavement to the end of the road.


Continue a short distance then turn left along a metalled path through the trees. At the next junction turn right and then left into the top of North Street, part of Kingsclere Millennium Trail, soon the church tower is visible and The Crown PH is at the end on the left on George Street opposite the church.


The bus stop for Basingstoke is here, otherwise cross over into Swan Street to the other bus stop for Newbury and towards the shops on the left hand side where this section ends; a public car park is up Anchor Road.



Places of interest


Enborne Valley Flood Schemes

These were proposals in 1908, 1948 and even 1976 to create a dam near Brimpton and flood an area of 9 square miles south and west from here at about the 300ft/90m contour. This would have evicted 1500 people, which was most of Ashford Hill with Headley parish at the time and would have submerged our route from the edge of Baughurst to near Kingsclere. The intention was to provide water for the expanding London area by holding it back from the River Kennet. After much local opposition and bore holes to test the geology, the schemes were rejected, partly due to geological reasons such as the close proximity to the porous chalk rock and instability of overlying rocks, but also the cost of the replacement road infrastructure. Today, the designation of parts of the area as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and National Nature Reserve (NNR) provide some added protection to the area. Furthermore, late twentieth century gravel extraction in the Thames Valley has left many smaller reservoirs that are used to hold water. For more on this and the area in general, see Kingsclere Woodland Story by Gary Cusworth and Roger Dobbs, from which this is taken. Back.


Tadley

We pass through the southern end and Conservation Area of this small town where most of the older houses are situated, in particular a congregational chapel dating from 1662. The name of Tadley is believed to mean a woodland clearing of a man called Tada, alternatively from the old word for a frog or toad. By the 18th century the village had moved north to the edge of Pamber Forest, dependent upon its products for local employment. Until the 1950s the area was a scattered community where bricks and besom brooms were made. Besom brooms, traditionally shown accompanying witches, are still made here today, and Tadley is considered the home of besom broom manufacture. In the early 20th century many Gypsy families settled in the area, having abandoned their travelling life and have since married into the community. After the Second World War, modern housing development took place to the north, largely to accommodate employees of the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, now AWE, at Aldermaston, that is still absent from the OS maps today. Each year a ‘treacle fair’ is held, to honour a 19th century legend that treacle mines existed in the area. Back.


Baughurst Road

The Baughurst Road, formerly the turnpike dating from the 1770s from Southampton through Kingsclere to the Bath Road at Aldermaston, was also known as The Causeway, as it had been elevated from the low-lying surrounding area. The Primitive Methodist Chapel on the right opposite is one illustration of a history of Non-Conformism in the area. John and Charles Wesley, founders of Methodism, were regular visitors to the area in the 1730s, staying with George Whitfield at Chapel House along Baughurst Road to the north. But it is James Potter, of the Society of Friends, commonly known as Quakers, who is more famous locally. After George Fox visited the area in 1657, James Potter went to prison for reading from a pamphlet during a service in the local church. When released he set up a meeting house at what is now Brown’s Farm at nearby Pound Green a mile to the south and soon Baughurst became one of the biggest and wealthiest centres of the Quaker religion in southern England.


The Quakers were the most extreme of the Protestant separatists, and so were the most persecuted of this group. They believed that no man was superior to another and worshipped in the homes of fellow believers in silence. They made contributions to charitable acts for the common good. Through fines and imprisonment they paid for not complying with the laws aimed at maintaining the supremacy of the established church until religious toleration was permitted in 1689. In addition they suffered through the confiscation of their possessions in lieu of the payment of tithes to the local rector. For more see James Potter, Quaker, by Ken Smallbone, and from which this is taken.


The name of the village of Baughurst may mean the wood occupied by a Saxon called Beagga, the wood of the badger, or, due to its low lying nature, bog wood. Judging by the southerly position of St Stephen’s Church, built on the site of a Saxon church, the village has moved north over the years. The area is characterised by woods and small fields and the Brenda Parker Way crosses this road along which much of the village is situated.


The parish council have produced a booklet ‘Walks in the Parish 2007’ containing six walks. Back.


Ashford Hill National Nature Reserve

The nature reserve is part of a larger Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). One of Natural England’s reserves, Ashford Hill is surrounded by woodland and consists of low-lying unimproved meadows, kept constantly moist from the stream, called the Baughurst Brook which later drains into the River Enborne, running through the valley. It is home to a wide range of flowering plants which in turn benefit many insects, including 32 species of butterflies, but also birds and mammals. The meadows are traditionally managed by the growing of hay and animal grazing. For more see the Natural England’s website. Back.


B3051

This road was formerly the turnpike from Aldermaston to Whitchurch via Kingsclere and this point was once known as Pigeon Cross. Back.


Ashford Hill

Until 1987 the parish of Ashford Hill with Headley was known as Kingsclere Woodlands, reflecting its more heavily wooded nature prior to tree clearances in the 17th and 18th century. Following this and the 1843 local Enclosure Act the population declined here but residential development has increased towards Headley. The area is drained by tributaries of the River Enborne, and some areas unaffected by the changes in usage are preserved today.

Back.


River Enborne

The River Enborne is fed mainly from tributaries that begin as springs beneath the North Hampshire Downs and the river flows generally eastwards to join the River Kennet north of Aldermaston, which in turn joins the River Thames at Reading. For much of its upper reaches, it forms the Hampshire-Berkshire boundary. Back.


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