Sunday, 5 April 2009

Tunworth to Ellisfield (Three Castles Path 5)

All Saints, Tunworth

A bit below par today, so although we were keen to return to the Three Castles Path, it seemed sensible to just do a short section. We picked up the path at Tunworth and covered the four miles to Ellisford.

We took the opportunity to investigate All Saints church at Tunworth. Quite picturesque. Mainly mid-Victorian with some 12th and 13th century elements. Walking along the path to the church gave a view of the splendid former rectory and its grounds.

The walk itself begins with a mile or so along a bridle way which skirts a copse on one side or part of the way, with fields on the other. The copse was carpeted with wild garlic.

Crossing the A339 and passing under a bridge which carried the long-defunct Basingstoke and Alton Light railway, you walk along another track with woods on one side (Whinkney's Copse) and a long open field in a valley on the other.

At the end of this field you pass through a grassy ride and then continue along a headland. At the end of this a tree-lined, slightly sunken track leads down to Ellisfield. Somewhere, imperceptibly, along here you pass the highest point on the Three Castles Path, 646ft.

A slight detour reveals the village pond in front of the 18th century manor house, glimpsed through a hole in the brick wall which surrounds it.

A little further on is St Martin's church. It is mainly the result of rebuilding in 1870. The tower dates from 1884.

From: The Three Castles Path by David Bounds for the East Berkshire Ramblers’ Association Group. Stage 10.

Map: 144 (Basingstoke, Alton and Winchester).

Rating: four stars. Quiet, pleasant tracks, copses, farmland.


We were struck by how big the fields are in this part of Hampshire, compared to what we usually see in Berkshire. It was good to be walking along tracks which define the edges of them, rather than across the middle as we often have nearer home. Are these two points connected?

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