Sunday, 1 March 2009

Moulsham Green to Hazeley Heath (Three Castles Path 2)

We picked up where we left off on Friday and did the next stage of the Three Castles Path from Moulsham Green on the edge of Yateley to Hazeley Heath, near Hartley Wintney in Hampshire - 5.25 miles.

You first have to extricate yourself from semi-suburban Yateley, but before long fields and a lane bring you the small hamlet of Up Green when you are immediately confronted by these splendid Victorian houses of 1899. The walk book reveals that they were built as a memorial to the writer Charles Kingsley, who was vicar of Eversley.

On leaving the village, a pleasant track follows the edge of Lower Eversley Copse and at a junction were a little surprised to see these ostriches bearing down upon us.

At the end of the copse, the path goes through some fields - where we saw some rather reticent characters apparently ferreting for rabbits - to reach Eversley Manor and St Mary's church. Date stones reveal that the main body of the church dates from 1724, while the tower was added in 1733. Pevsner describes the nave as "handsome".

At the end of the lane by the church, you turn left into Warren Heath and the remainder of this stage is a delightful stroll along wide tracks through the pine woods.

The tracks all have names - the route follows Fox Ride - and there is a disconcerting sense of walking along the ground plan for a new city. St Richards (sic) Ride, below, is typical.

The stage ends shortly after you emerge from the woods.

From: The Three Castles Path by David Bounds for the East Berkshire Ramblers’ Association Group. Stage 6.

Map: Explorer 159 (Reading) and 144 (Basingstoke).

Rating: four stars.

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