Monday, 13 April 2009
Ellisfield to Upper Wield (Three Castles Path 6)
Easter Monday: the ideal day to continue along the Three Castles Path. This walk represents the whole of stage 11 and half of stage 12. You leave Ellisfield by a pleasant, initially muddy track, Kit Lane, climb beside a copse and walk along a short section of road beside beech trees. From here another track leads down to the hamlet of Bradley. This is in what we are coming to think of as the Hampshire style: beside copses and along the edge of large open fields.
Leaving Bradley, the line of this path is clearly visible descending along the line of trees from the horizon.
The path from Bradley climbs Preston Down, and offers lovely views of open country ahead towards Windmill Hill.
Crossing a headland at the top of another massive field and skirting a copse brings you to Lower Wield. We were impressed by the bowl-shaped cricket ground which clearly requires very special technique to drive the ball to the boundary.
From Lower Wield a path beside another large field and - something of a novelty - across the middle of another brings you to its larger neighbour, Upper Wield.
There are a number of nice thatched cottages here, as well as the Norman church of St James. It once had a tower, but it was demolished in 1810 as unsafe.
From: The Three Castles Path by David Bounds for the East Berkshire Ramblers’ Association Group. Stages 11-12.
Map: 144 (Basingstoke, Alton and Winchester).
Rating: three and half stars. Quiet, pleasant tracks, copses, farmland.
The grassy headland mentioned above had several clumps of increasingly rare cowslips.
It does seem that no matter how deep you are in the country you you are you can't guarantee to escape noise. The early part of the walk was under the flightpath (if that isn't too grand a term) for a glider school. The gliders were towed up to about the same spot and released by noisy little single engine planes. Later the peace of the country was shattered by a convoy of motorcycles out on a run. But maybe this stereotype of peace is a myth - next up was a tractor spraying crops.