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


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, 01-Aug-21

Date # Post
Sat, 10-Jul-21 18

Saturday walk - Hook to Winchfield - A nature reserve, a castle ruin, a pretty old town and the Basingstoke Canal

Length: 20km (12.4 miles), with 16.3km (10.1 miles) and 24.3km (15.1 miles) options T=swc.84
9.42 train from Waterloo (Surbiton 10.00, Woking 10.19) to Hook, arriving 10.48
From Clapham Junction, get the 9.52 Portsmouth train to Woking and change there (arriving 10.12, departing 10.19)

Buy a day return to Hook.

For walk directions and the home page for this walk click here, for GPX click here, for a map of the route click here.
This walk often gets done in winter, when its firm canalside paths are a welcome mud-free option, but I reckon it has lots to offer as a summer walk. Early on you cross Bartley Heath, a change from the earlier route across some fondly-remembered boggy bits on Hook Common. You then pass the remains of Odiham Castle and come to Greywell with its marshland nature reserve, which an informant of mine says is full of the most wonderfully rare flowers and plants at this time of year (though you lot doubtless will not bother to stop and look at them, and you can cut it out - boo, hiss, shame on you! - using a short cut). In general there is lots of waterside walking on this walk, so there should be a chance to see dragonflies and damselflies and the like.
Your lunch stop is the pretty old town of Odiham which has pubs and cafes and shops - see the walk home page for details. After lunch there is a substantial section on the lovely Basingstoke Canal. You then have the option of longer* or shorter routes towards the end of the walk, where there are also a couple of pubs to act as tea stops, the Winchfield Inn being the nearest to its eponymous station (as far as I can see, it is open all afternoon).
Trains back from Winchfield are at 05 and 35 past.
* This longer option has apparently been re-jigged since this walk last had an outing: "I don't think anyone has done it yet" the walk author tells me.
**** Hopefully we can soon abandon this, but for the moment it would still be very useful if you could pre-register for this walk for contact tracking purposes at if not, please bring a piece of paper with your email written on it, which will be kept in an envelope and only used if a case of Covid arises on the walk. To let us know if a contract tracing requirement arises as a result of this walk, use ****
A nice touch to post a walk with a medieval Pest House en route. I wonder if Public Health England have reopened it for modern travellers needing to be quarantined? Be careful not to show any symptoms as you enter Odiham!
I can’t find this week’ s walk details
I am not sure what you mean, Anoymous: be more specific. The walk post contains the walk details and links to the walk directions. What can't you find?
Just wanted to know the train time for this walk.
The train time is in the walk post!! Click on the title for this walk, and the details will be revealed to you.
That’s the problem, when you click on the walk post, nothing happens! It’s been like this for the past few weeks, after the website was down for a couple of days, ‘to make improvements’. It used to work perfectly well before. Now when you go on the website, you cannot find this week’s walk and when you click on another link, you can see the walk post but when you click on it, no further details appear. I just wanted to know the train time, which to catch. Thank you for your help anyway.
The walk details are displaying correctly for me when I access the website on my laptop and also on my mobile phone.

You could try using a different device or a different web browser or rebooting/clearing the cache on your browser.
Yes, that is all I can think of too.

The train is the 9.24 from Waterloo to Hook. From Clapham Junction get the 9.52 Portsmouth train to Woking and change there, arriving 10.12, departing 10.19.

Good luck getting the technical issue sorted!

I mean 9.42 train
I have the same problem, Anonymous. I think there have been updates to some software that make the imported text unreadable. I can’t read wall details on my pc anymore only on my phone.If you can update your browser it might help.. But ask an expert. I know nothink.
What you don’t expect in July is mud. Quite a lot of it, gloopy and slithery. Sometimes underfoot it felt like January. Whoever heard the like?

18 on this walk. I am adding the walk author to the tally since he said he did about half the route, though we only met him in the pub near the end.

As forecast we had light rain in the morning. Annoying rather than soaking. I found the new start across Bartley Heath perhaps slightly less enchanting than the old one across Hook Common, but we are told it is drier underfoot, and since it was certainly a bit soggy today, it was probably just as well we weren’t going the old way.

Odiham Castle was still there, perhaps looking a bit less spruce than it did in King John’s day, but hey, that medieval hardcore was built to last. I loved the nature reserve bit by the river beyond Greywell. Lots of water forget me not and meadowsweet, and three magnificent scarlet tiger moths, docile enough in the poor weather to allow their photos to be taken. No dragonflies or damselflies, though.

In Odiham some used the churchyard gravestones as backrests as they ate their sarnies, while others went to the Bell and the Dragon pub, whose very name tells you it won’t be cheap. But service was efficient and the portions decent. Nice nosh, when all is said and done.

After lunch the walk route had mysteriously changed from the last time I did it, taking us away from the canal and past a field of immense Suffolk horses (retired from pulling brewery drays apparently) and into an intensely muddy wood, where only the foliage on the trees reminded of the season. Later we walked along a broad and substantial path along a canal that has somehow escaped the notice of the OS map app. There was a bit of sun, but only a bit. When it came out it felt about ten degrees hotter. (I remember this feeling: it is called “summer”…)

Noted long walker types decided not after all to do the long walk. Instead nine of us (plus walk author) stopped in the garden of the Barley Mow pub. There a byzantine ordering system involving WhatsApp and an extremely grumpy member of staff (who said she was holding the fort alone) nearly put us off. But in the end we were allowed to give our orders in analogue form and enjoyed (variously) gin, tea and mini cheddars.

Six of us also guzzled two bottles of wine, four beers and about eight bags of crisps and nuts in the garden of the Winchfield Inn, and we then got the (whatever time it was) train back to Covid Central (aka Waterloo, which incidentally was as busy at 9am this morning as I have ever seen it on a Saturday. Where all these people were going on a rainy day bears me. But I suppose others could say the same of us.)

Sat, 19-Jan-19 18

Saturday walk - Hook to Winchfield - a village, a canal and a castle

Length: 16.3km (10.1 miles) or 20km (12.4 miles) with possible extension to 24.3km (15.1 miles)
Toughness: 3 out of 10 - fairly flat

9.42 train (destination Basingstoke) from Waterloo to Hook, arriving 10.48 (note: does not stop at Clapham Junction)

If you just miss this, catch the 9.45 train to Guildford and change at Woking (arrive 10.12 depart 10.19): this train calls at Clapham Junction at 9.52.

Buy a day return to Hook.

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

This charming and gentle walk had an outing recently with the midweek walkers (apologies to them for once again pinching their idea....) but has not had a weekend airing since this time in 2017, when it made a very pleasant winter walk.

The route takes in rural sections of the Basingstoke Canal and passes the ruins of Odiham Castle, used by King John as his base when negotating Magna Carta. At its heart is the picturesque village/town of Odiham which has several lunch options - a clutch of pubs and some cafes. (Not to be neglected, incidentally, when making your choice is the Waterwitch on the way out of town: I have never eaten there but it looked quite nice when I passed it in December).

2km after lunch you have a choice of doing the main walk (12.4 miles) or staying on the canal - very pretty and passing a romantic former hunting lodge - for a shorter ending (10.1 miles). The main walk in turn has the option of an extra loop which extends the walk to 15.1 miles, for those that like that kind of thing.

Tea is at the Winchfield Inn next to the station of rather name, from where trains go back to Waterloo at 05 and 35 past. T=3.84
Upwards 18 of us on this walk on a dull overcast day with drizzly rain at times.The group soon split into fast and medium speed walkers, meeting up briefly at the ruins of Odiham Castle. On reaching Odiham some stopped for lunch at the Bell, to find the service slow despite a near empty pub apparently the food was OK when it eventually arrived. By contrast, the Waterwitch pub was buzzing and I was lucky to find a table and be served an excellent meal promptly and with a smile. In the afternoon most of us opted for the short, 10 mile version of the walk, staying on the Basingstoke Canal all the way to the outskirts of Winchfield. A small group bizarrely decided to go off piste for the final leg to the tea pub they may still be out there, faffing about. The Winchfield Inn served welcoming pots of tea, enjoyed by those who stopped before heading for the railway station nearby. The early finishers caught the 16 05 hrs train and there were a number of us on the 16 35 hrs train. If the off pisters eventually made it to the pub they probably caught the 17 05 hrs service back to London. Although today's walk is not the best in the SWC repertoire it made for a perfectly pleasant winter's walk in very nice company which more than made up for the dull weather.
Well Marcus, as you probably gathered I didn't manage to extract myself from the pub in time for the 1635 but I was joined by 3 others on the 1705, who had completed the walk by different routes. So the off pisters (who in fairness just went wrong by missing one stile) are still unaccounted for.
Wed, 12-Dec-18 11

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
11 on this walk, including the walk poster who caught us up at lunch.

We were promised sun but in fact the morning was grey, with the cloud breaking only at about 2pm. There were then some nice sunny intervals but the cloud soon dipped behind a bank of cloud to the west. So cloudy with a bit of sun.

The trouble with having a lot of lunch options is no one can agree which to patronise. After complex negotiations, five tried the Red Lion but as it was busy with Christmas parties it recommended we had soup and sandwiches. One (me) decided I could do better in the coffee shop two doors down where I had a soup and baked potato. By the time I had finished the others four in the pub, joined by the walk poster, were just getting their grub. There was nowhere to sit and the sun was shining, so I wandered off.

A nice sunny walk along the canal. In general this is a very pleasant walk and a good choice for a winter’s day. Getting to the decision point I found it was after 3pm (and there was due to be only a crescent moon) so I decided to do the short ending along the canal. Did the main group do the full walk?

At Winchfield there was disappointingly no tea because the pub was closed mid afternoon. Luckily I was just in time for the 16.05 train. Three picnickers were also on this, having also done the short walk.

I look forward to hearing how the main group got on.
6 of the rest walked the full main walk and got to the station just in time for the 16.35. I thought the stretches in the morning along the Whitewater River were an unmitigated delight, and Odiham Castle is very interesting. Overall it's a good walk for all seasons, as even now there was little evidence of mud. The Red Lion is probably the best choice of the three pubs in the village, with The Bell more of a boozer and the Bel and Dragon more a restaurant. We had no complaints.
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 Hook to Winchfield, extended via Dogmersfield