Length: 18.7km (11.6 miles), or 13.8km (8.6 miles) without pub lunch.
Toughness: 4 out of 10
train from Waterloo
(9.57 Clapham Junction
) arriving at Overton at 10.46. T=3.97
For walk directions
. For GPX
. For the walk's home
page click here
Years ago I did this walk at just this time of year and there was a wonderful display of snowdrops
at Deane House, a couple of miles into the walk. I have no idea if they are still there but thought it would be nice to take a look.
The first half of the walk also takes in the pretty source of the River Test
(and its stunningly clear headwaters) and several places from the childhood of Jane Austen
(see notes in the walk directions
), including the isolated church where her father was the vicar. This is in fact the area she grew up in and whose social set-up shaped all her novels.
Otherwise this is typical upland Hampshire - rolling hills, some big arable fields, distant views of nothing in particular. Lunch
is at a pleasant rural pub on the far side of the village of North Waltham, though if you are not having a pub lunch
you can cut out this section of the walk altogether and eat your sandwiches in Steventon churchyard - this is the 8.6 mile
version of the walk. Tea
in Overton used to be a hassle, with the Overton Gallery
having only a few tables and closing at 5pm. But the revamp of the White Hart Hotel
, Overton's largest pub, has solved that problem. It is now modern, cosy and - in an update to what it says in the walk directions - seems to serve food all afternoon on a Saturday now, so you can have that nice gooey pudding that you know you deserve.
Leave 30 minutes
to walk (up a road, so doable in the dark) from the centre of Overton to the station. It is a 20 minute walk, but you don't want to miscalculate, as trains
are only hourly - at 20 past the hour
. There is absolutely nothing to do in the environs of the station if you miss the train, apart from contemplating the De La Rue banknote factory next door.