The canal in the afternoon, winter

Hook to Winchfield walk

21-Jan-17 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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Basingstoke Canal from Blacksmith's Bridge

17-Nov-09 • Sean O'Neill

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Exploring Odiham Castle

17-Apr-10 • Sean O'Neill

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The Hunting Lodge, Odiham Common

09-Jul-11 • Sean O'Neill

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Pest House, Odiham

25-Jun-15 • Sean O'Neill

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Basingstoke Canal near Sandy Hill Bridge

17-Nov-09 • Sean O'Neill

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Basingstoke Canal from Sandy Hill Bridge

17-Nov-09 • Sean O'Neill

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Hook to Winchfield walk

A walk along a rural stretch of the Basingstoke Canal, passing the ruins of a medieval castle and visiting an attractive Hampshire town.


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Updated: Sun, 06-Jan-19

Date # Post
Wed, 12-Dec-18

Wednesday Walk - Hook to Winchfield

Length: 20.0 km (12.4 mi) [shorter or longer walk possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 153/154m
Net Walking Time: ca. 4 - 4 ½ hours [the last 15 mins are along roads so you should in any case be fine for light]
Toughness: 3 out of 10
Take the 10.12 Basingstoke train from Waterloo (10.19 CJ, 10.30 Surbiton etc.), arrives Hook 11.18.
Return trains from Winchfield are on xx.05 and xx.35 (ca. 60 mins journey time). Buy a Hook return.
The start of this walk is affected by Hook's proximity to the noisy M3, but after crossing it on the edge of Bartley Heath nature reserve the motorway is soon out of earshot. The walk then alternates between stretches alongside the River Whitewater and the Basingstoke Canal, with the weather-beaten ruins of Odiham Castle at their intersection. After passing through the attractive village of Greywell with its ancient church and mill the route doubles back to a lunchtime stop in the elegant town of Odiham, with its wide Georgian-fronted High Street.
In the afternoon the walk re-joins the canal at Odiham Wharf and continues along the towpath to Broad Oak Bridge, where there is a choice of routes (see Walk Options below). The Main Walk goes through the extensive Dogmersfield Park estate (once a royal hunting ground) and past Tundry Pond to re-join the canal at Blacksmith's Bridge. It then heads back along the towpath before going across fields and along country lanes to Winchfield station.

Walk Options:
· The walk directions include a short cut in the morning (cuts 1¼ km by cutting out the loop to Greywell Mill).
· After lunch, at Broad Oak Bridge you could remain on the canal towpath, omitting the section through Dogmersfield Park. This Short Walk saves nearly 4 km and has the added attraction of going past a picturesque Hunting Lodge on the edge of Odiham Common.
· The Long Walk adds 4¼ km by continuing eastwards from Blacksmith's Bridge along a rural stretch of the canal to Crookham Wharf and then returning through the village of Dogmersfield.
Note: Earlier in the year, ”…the morning route was substantially changed as the paths across Hook Common had become increasingly difficult to follow”. This is the first outing of the new version.
Early Lunch: The Mill House in North Warnborough or The Fox and Goose in Greywell.
Lunch: The Bell, The Bel & The Dragon and The Red Lion, all in Odiham (9.3 km/5.8 mi, food to 14.30).
Tea: The Winchfield Inn, which may or may not be open weekday afternoons…
For walk directions, map, height profile, some photos, a video and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.84
Sat, 21-Jan-17 26

Woods, canals, castles and an attractive Hampshire town

SWC walk 84 - Hook to Winchfield
Length: 16km (9.9 miles) - with possible extension to 19km (11.8 miles)
Toughness: 3 out of 10

9.42 train from Waterloo (9.52 Clapham Junction) to Hook, arriving 11.01.

If you just miss this train, get the 9.50 Exeter train from Waterloo (9.59 Clapham Junction) and change at Woking (arrive 10.23, depart 10.32)

Buy a day return to Hook.

For walk directions click here. Click "Main" under the map before printing to eliminate unneeded directions.

This walk has not been done since August 2015. It feels lonely and unloved!

It features stretches both morning and afternoon along a canal, which has the benefit of making navigation easy (and being less muddy???). Other features of the walk include the crossing of Hook Common, the ruined Odiham Castle, a picturesque hunting lodge and the town of Odiham itself, with its Georgian-fronted High Street.

Those Georgians loved their lunch pubs, because Odiham seems to have several, along with restaurants and coffee shops: so hopefully we will not starve.

I am suggesting the 16km (9.9 mile) Shorter Walk today, omitting the Dogmersfield Loop.

If you do decide to do the Loop - the 19km (11.8 mile) version of the walk - you will find one section of the canal path closed for repairs. However, the Basingstoke Canal Authority says there is a signed diversion through the village of Dogmersfield, which will probably add a bit to the walk length, but hopefully not much.

Tea is at the Winchfield Inn.

Trains back from Winchfield are at 05 and 35 past. Due to engineering works you have to change at Woking, which extends the total journey time to Waterloo slightly to 1hr 22 minutes. If you linger in the pub, the 19.35 seems to be a direct train, however, taking just 1hr.

For walk directions click here. Click "Main" under the map before printing to eliminate unneeded directions.
Should this read 'Click "Shorter walk omitting Dogmersfield loop (16km)"?
I was leaving it up to walkers whether they want to do the Dogmersfield Loop or not. If you definitely don't want to do it, click on the shorter walk omit it, yes.
You can click "Shorter walk ..." if you're quite sure you won't want to do the Dogmersfield loop. But if you want to keep your options open, click "Main" or better still download and print the PDF which will give you directions for all variants of the walk.
26 on this walk, including one late starter who missed a connection. Perhaps it was the glorious sunshine and frozen ground but this seemed to be a wonderful winter outing, with several visits to the scenic and rural Basingstoke Canal, each one different. At first it was half empty of water, then fuller, and then in the afternoon frozen for a long stretch. Only perhaps towards the end of the walk did it start to seem a bit samey.

Hook Common could have been a squelchfest if the ground had not been frozen solid: the Hampshire Wildlife Trust's attempts to restore this as wet heathland seem to be working.... In general this might or might not have been a muddy walk in normal conditions but we never got to find out as the ground remained hard as a brick. Odiham Castle ruins were interesting who knew it had such a role in our history? The little diversion to a hunting lodge and round a (frozen) lake in the afternoon was also charming.

Odiham offered lots of choices for lunch, though the "friendly hostelry" of the Bell was not doing food. Eight of went to Next Door (that was its name), which was basically a pub trying to be a restaurant: orders at table, but the food came quickly enough. At least one went to the Creperie and I don't know where the others went.

At the end of the walk the silent barman of the Winchfield Inn stolidly served tea in pots, one at a time. We did not get to sample its garden... The 17.05 train was indicated on the platform as going to Waterloo, but on the train said it was going to Woking, so we got out expecting to have to change as predicted in the walk post. But the terminating Woking train was then attached to four more carriages (while we waited in the cold on the platform) and then went on to Waterloo. It would have been nice if the guard, when he checked our tickets, could have told us this. Aren't we always being told that onboard train staff are a vital part of customer service?

Photos of today's walk are on our Facebook page:
Sat, 08-Aug-15 12

Saturday Third Walk – the Basingstoke Canal

Extra Walk 84 – L=3.84
Length: 19 km (11.8 miles) or 16 km (9.9 miles) with short cut. Toughness: 4/10

09:42 Basingstoke train from Waterloo (calls Surbiton 10:00 but not Clapham Jct), arriving Hook at 10:48. Buy a day return to Hook.

This is the direct train, but you can also take the faster 09:45 Portsmouth train (Clapham Jct 09:52) and join it at Woking (arr 10:11, dep 10:19). [The 09:50 Salisbury train from Waterloo might work too, but you'd need to nip across the footbridge pretty smartly at Woking.]

Return trains from Winchfield to Waterloo are at 05 & 35 minutes past. The 05s stop at Clapham Jct but you'd need to change at Farnborough for CJ on the 35s.

This Hampshire walk featuring the Basingstoke Canal has been compromised by a landslide which closed part of the towpath for a couple of years, but the damaged section finally reopened in the spring. As it's due to close again in the winter for further repairs this seems an opportune time to give this walk its first Saturday outing for four years.

Near the start you might have to find your way around some boggy stretches on Hook Common and you'll also have to put up with a burst of motorway noise as you cross the M3 (where on a fine day you can just see Basingstoke). The remainder of this walk is much more rural and there are several interesting sights along the way, including the ruins of a castle where King John stayed en route to Runnymede 800 years ago, a medieval pest house and a cottage orné.

There's no shortage of pubs on this walk, with the suggested lunch stop being at the halfway stage in the attractive town of Odiham (I'd be tempted to give The Bell another try, although there are several appealing alternatives on the High Street). At the end of the walk the Winchfield Inn is conveniently situated near the station.

Before you print the walk document, clicking 'Main' on the Walk Options heading line will save a sheet or two of paper as it will hide the instructions in §7-10, which only apply to the Circular Walk.

† On a perfect day you can't see it at all.
Thank you Bridie for all your hard work.

Yes reverting to Nicolas Alberys wonderful timetable is one idea.The poster has got to have access to a computer.

All best for the future.

On a hot and mostly sunny day 12 walkers were not deterred by the proximity of this walk to the M3; indeed one walker complained that she couldn't hear it as promised in the walk notes. We also overtook a gang of four doing the walk independently, who will doubtless look more closely at This Week's Walks next time. Our group mostly stuck together and all took time out to inspect the various sights en route, although one disappeared after our cheap'n'cheerful lunch at The Bell to forge a new route to Fleet station.

A noisy beer festival at the Barley Mow persuaded us to carry on to the Winchfield Inn for some much needed liquid intake in its beer garden before the 17:35 train. In this last stretch we caught up with two walkers who'd gone on ahead, stumbling out of the bushes with an unconvincing tale of dodgy walk directions. A good day out for all!
Sun, 19-Apr-15 10 Hook to Winchfield, omitting Tundry Pond
Sun, 23-Feb-14 7 Hook to Winchfield, omitting Tundry Pond
Wed, 06-Mar-13 Hook to Winchfield
Wed, 02-May-12 Hook to Winchfield
Sun, 29-Jan-12 Hook to Winchfield, omitting Tundry Pond
Sat, 09-Jul-11 Hook to Winchfield
Sun, 23-Jan-11 Winchfield Circular
Sun, 15-Aug-10 Hook to Winchfield
Sat, 17-Apr-10 Hook to Winchfield
Sun, 27-Dec-09 Winchfield Circular