One of the books I acquired over the Christmas period was ‘Roman Roving’ by Annabel Stowe.
The book a series of ten walks along the Roman Road from Winchester to Middenhall (or from Venta Belgarum to Cunetio). With an overall length of 31 miles (50km), the ten walks vary from 1.7 miles to 4.3 miles (2.7km – 7km).
I was very keen to get the book, as it written by a local Hampshire author, regular readers of blog know I have an interest in old roads and track-ways, and I want to get out and do more walking. I also though it would be a good thing to review for the blog as the area the road covers is rich in archaeology and book points out the highlights.
(A map of the entire route, copyright Stowe 2018).
So naturally I decided to start at walk number 6. This was partly, because my sister lives v\nery close to the start point on walk of number 6, and she knew part of the route and good pub recommendations a long the route, and my sister was also interested in the walk. So, on Saturday 12 January, my sister, her husband, a friend and myself set off on the walk.
Walk 6 goes from Charlton Down to the Hampshire Gate on the border of Hampshire and Wiltshire.
(Route map and details of Walk 6. Copyright Stowe 2018).
The walk starts off at the Hare and Hound at Charlton and there are a total of 4 easily accessible pubs along the route of the walk. Unfortunately the Hare and Hound was not open when we started the walk, around 10:00am, but having had a good meal the night before and filling breakfast, I was ready to start. I think 10am is also a bit early, even for me, for a pint.
(The start of the walk at the Hare and Hound)
The route of Walk 6 is mostly off road (modern road that is) and the course of the Roman road for the majority of the walk is a long a restricted byway.
(Views along the route).
The plan was to walk all the way to the Hampshire Gate and on the way back stop off at the Fox in Tangley for lunch.
The route instructions were easy enough to follow but it would be worth also taking an OS map with you, or use some form of route planner just incase. The route instructions also include grid references, notes about that local history, Archaeology and legends which brings the walk alive and adds a bit of extra depth to the experience.
There are some great views around the surrounding countryside as you progress through the walk, including views out to Dabebury Hillfort from near the top of White Hill.
(Views out to Dabebury around 8 miles away).
A few warnings about the walk, the stretches of roads that you do walk down or cross, for the most part, a small and windy country roads, some care needs to be taken, but this is not strictly mentioned in the book. Although the book does give the grid reference for the end of the walk at Hampshire Gate as there was no obvious end point. Other than the edge of the woods.
Leading up to the Hampshire Gate, before joining the last stretch of modern road, you are walking along the Agger Causeway, possibly part of the original construction ditches for the road, and provides the best view of the original, or as close as possible, road surface.
(Close to the Hampshire Gate).
So we decided to pose and selfie with the Hampshire sign and then headed back to Tangley for a lunch at the Fox.
(Selfie on the Tangley bench).
(Compulsory food picture).
After a lovely lunch at the Fox (that specialises in Thai food), and a look around the church, we headed back for a well earned rest.
What was intended to be a 5-8 mile walk ended up being is almost 13 miles! A longer walk than I have done for a while. So, did I enjoy it? Yes, the walk takes you through some very picturesque countryside, and is mostly off road. It is a walk that you would experience very differently at different times of year. It is not necessarily the most archaeological interesting walk, other than the views out to Danebury and walking over the Agger, but walking the course of the old Roman Road is very evocative.
Anyone local to Andover, or wider Hampshire, can purchase the book from Andover Museum.
I am planning to do all 10 walks, the current plan is to do one a month, but they may change.