Sunday, March 30, 2014
Start & Finish: Beacon Hill Car Park
Refreshments: Carpenter's Arms, half way around
Parking: Beacon Hill Car Park
Conditions: Mostly dry, a bit muddy on the second half.
Links: AA website
Distance: 7.6 miles (or more with 2 diversions)
We have been wanting to do the AA's High above Highclere walk for sometime now. Today started with lovely sunny weather and seeing as we missed out on a walk last week we decided to be a bit more organised today.
This walk has two optional sections.
Firstly you can choose to climb up Beacon Hill at the start of the walk, be aware although not particularly high the climb up there is steep. At the summit is a large ancient hill fort and a trig point. Make sure that you head all the way to the other side of the hill as just inside the western end of the hill fort is the gravestone of George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon.
We decided not to extend the walk past the basic length, which is around 7-7.5 miles.
We found the walk enjoyable as there is a reasonable variety of view and terrain as you walk around, through fields, and along the old Didcot Newbury & Southampton Railway track and even through a couple of Mansion grounds.
We were slightly confused by the placing of Pheasant Cottage during point on the AA's chart, the AA have Pheasant Cottage on the right of the trail, when in fact you pass with the Cottage on your left.
After point 8 we didn't find the sunken tree lined path straight away, and walked up the field edge until a short cut-in lead us down onto the path, which in places was a bit of a stream, but that is probably due to the damp weather recently.
We stopped off at the Carpenter's Arms in Burghclere halfway round for a drink, and found a welcoming country pub with nice outdoor seating with a good view.
Walking back from Burghclere the route was undulating, but not too stressful at all.
We really had an enjoyable and not too tiring 7 mile walk.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Due to the sun we expected the New Forest to be busy, so we decided to find a walk that was a bit off the beaten track.
Searching around we found this walk Church Treasures at Minstead on the AA's website and charged off down the A34.
The Trusty Servant, and a tea house & shop.
We found that following the route was relatively easy, although we were confused by the directions around Acres Down farmyard, trying to work out where the crossroads were, but the route basically heads straight past the farmhouse.
Although we have had a really wet winter after the last weeks fine weather the tracks have dried out, with only a few areas of damp. The directions also mention a couple of fords, but footbridges were located a short distance from both of these.
Overall it was a lovely walk through different countryside, woodland and heathland, and was surprisingly quite on the trails considering the warm March weather.
Getting back to Minstead we headed for The Trusty Servant, and had drinks, unfortunately the kitchens were busy and we were told there would be a considerable wait for food, so after a drink we headed across to the tea rooms and shop and picked up some sandwiches to eat on the green.
After lunch we got in the car and headed to Lyndhurst, which as predicted was packed with people.
Happy after a good day in the sun we headed for home via the country route.