Overton Circular walk

North Hampshire hills and Jane Austen's literary landscape


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.

Date Post # Weather
Sat, 09-Feb-19 Saturday walk - Overton Circular - Sense, Sensibility, and maybe some snowdrops 26 sun thru cloud in the morning with grey skies later
Sun, 15-Apr-18 Hampshire - Jane Austen's countryside 1
Sat, 21-May-16 Saturday Second Walk - Jane Austen's literary landscape 7 brief morning shower but continual drizzle after lunch
Sun, 10-Apr-16 Sunday Walk 1: Pride, Prejudice and Water Buffalos 18
Sun, 18-Mar-12 Overton Circular
Sun, 04-Sep-11 Overton Circular
Sat, 30-Apr-11 Overton Circular
Sat, 19-Feb-11 Overton Circular (short walk, omitting North Waltham)
Sat, 22-May-10 Overton Circular
Sat, 09-Feb-19
Saturday walk - Overton Circular - Sense, Sensibility, and maybe some snowdrops
Length: 18.7km (11.6 miles), or 13.8km (8.6 miles) without pub lunch.
Toughness: 4 out of 10

9.50 train from Waterloo (9.57 Clapham Junction) arriving at Overton at 10.46. T=3.97

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here. 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.

  • 09-Feb-19

    26 on this walk, which was a bit of a surprise. But they all made a good choice as the ground was dry (chalk soils, perhaps?) despite Friday’s rain, and the weather was pleasant - sun thru cloud in the morning with grey skies later .

    There were also plenty of snowdrops - in Ashe churchyard, by Deane House, in Steventon churchyard, in North Waltham. Also aconites at Deane House and a bevvy of chiruping greenfinches (first I have heard this year) in North Waltham. One hesitates so early to say “spring-like”, but not wintry anyway.

    I had booked for six at the Fox in North Waltham: they also accommodated five more, but the dining room was full otherwise. We clearly hit a slightly busy spot in the kitchen, but the staff were nice enough not to say so. The food came a tad slowly, but only a tad, and was worth the wait. The sandwichers eschewed the Steventon church short cut and joined us for a drink, though they left before we were finished and so are lost to history.

    (The Deangate Inn earlier in the walk, incidentally, which I had assumed was closed for good, is showing signs of refurbishment: future walk posters might like to check if it has reopened.)

    Tea in Overton proved a bit stressful because the Overton Gallery had shut its tea room by 4.30 and the White Hart had laid most of its tables for dinner and were reluctant to release them to us. Quite a lot of us had tea and some cake, however. After general agreement that it was too late to rush for the 5.20 train, most then did just that.

    Six of us decided to widen our acquaintance of Overton pubs and went to the Red Lion, which is not bad, if a bit “local”. We then got the 6.20, armed with “supplies’, which we drank in honour of absent stargazers.

Sun, 15-Apr-18
Hampshire - Jane Austen's countryside
Overton Circular
Length: 18.7km (11.6 miles) Toughness: 4/10

09:42 Exeter St Davids train from Waterloo arriving Overton at 11:09.

Return trains are at 16:00, 18:00 and 20:00 (journey time 1 hour 26 mins).

This walk passes through gently undulating scenery in the north of Hampshire with several Jane Austen associations. The recommended lunch pub is The Fox in North Waltham (01256 397288), which is usually fully booked for Sunday lunch. A table for 6 has been reserved for 1:00pm in the name of the SWC. IMPORTANT - Please phone the pub as you leave Overton to tell them the exact number who want to eat there.

For those not requiring a pub lunch, there is a shortcut that reduces the walk length to 8.6 miles.

You will need to download the walk directions.

  • 31-May-18

    1 Sunday regular, as learned from the walker involved, on last Sunday's Watton-at-Stone walk.

Sat, 21-May-16
Saturday Second Walk - Jane Austen's literary landscape
SWC Walk 97 - Overton Circular
Length: 18.7km (11.6 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10

9.50 train from Waterloo (9.57 Clapham Junction) to Overton, arriving 10.46

For walk directions click here.

This walk has been "hors de combat" for a while because its most convenient lunch pub closed. But the other lunch pub, The Fox in North Waltham, is very acceptable and seemed to cope well with the midweek walkers recently. The problem used to be that it required and out and back diversion from the main walk route, but a new route has now been created after lunch involving a walk down a quiet tarmac lane (at least, it was quiet in February) that removes the need for repetition.

(Sandwich eaters can avoid this section of the walk altogether, eating their lunch in Steventon churchyard and reducing the walk length to 13.8km/8.6 miles)

Tea options for this walk have also taken a turn for the better with a very pleasant revamp of the White Hart Hotel in Overton, which now makes a nice tea stop, serving tea in pots, and with an outside deck at the rear. The Overton Gallery also has a small tea room if you can get there before it closes at 5pm. In addition, Overton has a convenience store but I am far from suggesting that you smuggle a packet of biscuits into the White Hart - perish the thought!

Otherwise this is a pleasant walk over high rolling downs and for Jane Austen fans it has the added attraction that it passes through the landscape she knew as a child. Several places she would have known are passed during the walk, including the site of the putative romantic fling that formed the subject of the the film Becoming Jane, a possible model for the Bennet's house in Pride and Prejudice, the church her father was vicar of, and the site of her childhood house, now long ago demolished, alas.

Trains back from Overton go at 20 past the hour. Allow 20 minutes to get from the village to the station, and don't miscalculate as there is nothing to do in the vicinity of the station if you miss a train
  • Anonymous

    With many SWC regulars walking in the Highlands of Bonnie Scotland, just 7 on this walk with a brief morning shower but continual drizzle after lunch .

    Nevertheless stunning scenery with swathes of fresh mown meadows and stunning architecture.

    Most of the group visited Deane House where our elected narrator told us of it's history and association with Jane Austin. Then onwards to Steventon Church and Manor passing the field where the house where Jane Austin spent her childhood stood. Our diligent narrator produced a sketch of this home for us to imagine how it looked in days gone by.

    Then on to lunch at the Fox where a hare departed shortly. The remaining six enjoyed lunch or refreshments before heading back to Overton with five taking tea in the delightful café at the rear of the Overton Gallery. A super walk despite being a dreary day.

  • 22-May-16

    Crowhurst - Battle. Just 3 of us started at Crowhurst with David catching up in Westfield making four. Two of us rushed ahead at the end to catch the cup final. Apologies for not saying goodbye to the other half of the group. Great walk apart from an excess of nettles at one point.

Sun, 10-Apr-16
Sunday Walk 1: Pride, Prejudice and Water Buffalos

Overton Circular SWC walk 97
13.8km 8.6 miles
18.4km 11.4 miles with pub lunch
Difficulty 4/10
This Hampshire walk, that passes through locations associated with Jane Austen, suffered a bit of a knock when the original lunch pub closed. The walk has recently been checked and revamped and the outlying Fox has become part of the main walk, increasing its length to 11.4 miles. Those wanting to keep to the original 8.6 miles will have to picnic (for which, Steventon Churchyard makes an ideal location). Slower walkers and dawdlers may wish to join them. Water buffalo don't feature strongly in the works of Jane Austen but you are likely to see some when you go through Laverstock Park Farm (between points 57 and 61). They have a large herd - and a farm shop if you can find it.
Get the 10:15 Exeter train from Waterloo (Clapham Jct 10:25) arriving Overton at 11:17
(Those of a jocular disposition might prefer to start from Waterbuffaloo station.)
The quickest return trains (taking 1 hr) are at 14:58 16:58, 18:58 and 20:58 from platform 1 (Note these are two-hourly intervals.)
(If you just miss one, it is also possible to return on the 15:15 17:15 and 19:15 from platform 2 changing for London at Andover. However these journeys take 1hr 45m )
You can get a cheap advance return to Overton for £15 from South West Trains details here
Lunch: the Fox in North Waltham 01256 397 288 (There is another pub, the Wheatsheaf 01256 398 282 further away if needed - see notes) The way back from the Fox to Steventon used to be the same stretch in reverse. That's still an option but, for variety, an (as yet unchecked) route along a quiet road is now offered.
Tea: I remember Overton as being pretty quiet on a Sunday but it's been a while. The recommended and recently refurbished White Hart 01256 771 431 is open, as is the Old House at Home en route to the station. I am told the White Hart does tea. Allow 15 to 20 mins to reach the station from Overton. Station Road is long. You still have 1.2 kilometres to go.
Directions: available here
  • 03-Apr-16

    You won't recognise the White Hart: it has been utterly transformed and is now a very nice tea stop

  • 11-Apr-16

    18 on this walk plus a late appearance by the walks inspector. Weather w= hazy-sunshine-with-a-cool-breeze and the going good. Perfect day for this attractive Hampshire walk through Jane Austen country which is now fully rehabilitated after its revamp but with perhaps a bit too much tarmac. On a warm summers day the lanes would be pretty busy.

    A small group opted for the short circular walk but after meeting the walks inspector ended up doing a circuit of paths around the town and completing a distance similar to the longer walk. The rest of us ambled on to the Fox in North Waltham which served large portions promptly. I had a sandwich in the grounds of the nearby beautiful church of St Michael. (I'll post a photo on the walks page.)

    After lunch we spotted the water buffalo in their winter quarters - another group saw a few in the fields. (Incidentally my OS map identifies this as Berrydown Farm not Laverstoke.)

    We arrived back in Overton well in time for a leisurely drink before meeting the "circular" walkers and catching the packed 16.58pm train back to London.