I picked up my route at Deane Down Farm, crossed a railway bridge and crossed a large field, with extremely clingy mud, to reach the hamlet of Deane. Deane Cottages presents an odd mixture of charming thatched ones and undistinguished brick ones, but soon you come to the impressive Deane House, with its park stretching out in front. Pevsner does not give much information, but dates the main block to the late 17th century.
I noticed a side turning with a church at the end and diverted to explore. The charming church of All Saints bears the date 1818 over the porch and struck me as rather lovely. Pevsner thinks it is the "most complete and successful early C19 Gothic church in the county".
Across the curiously busy B3400 and then the route heads off in a more easterly direction, along a hedged track.
This involves a slight climb, from 105m at the road up to 120 at the highest point. The Hannington TV and radio mast can still be clearly seen across the fields on the ridge in the distance.
I came back through the copse and took this photo on an angle which disguised the fact that it was actually a plantation, with the trees all in rows.
Conditions: some blue sky and sunshine, about 8 degrees.
Forward distance: 3.5 miles; distance now traveled 21.5 miles.
Map: Explorer 144 (Basingstoke, Alton and Whitchurch).
Rating: three stars. Modest changes of level, farmland with no real views. Thank goodness for Deane.
There were plenty of snowdrops of course, but I was pleased to see these primulas - the first of the year.
We saw the David Hockey exhibition, A bigger picture, at the Royal Academy the other day. It had set me thinking about the visual properties of trees and about the choices to be made about the point of view in taking a picture of a tree, a wood or a landscape. The photo of the copse was the first product of this reflection. I thought it worked quite well.