- Spectacular Views and Bluebells, 12 May 2021
- Walk Leaders: Linda & Paul
- Distance: 6.2 miles
- Start: Queen Elizabeth Country Park
This walk of just over 6 miles, starts in the Queen Elizabeth Country Park main car park where it is possible to park between 2 – 4 hours for £7. Alternatively, a number 37 bus goes from Petersfield Square to QE Park in just a few stops.
With the weather forecast predicting no rain, 12 keen walkers set off enthusiastically on the strenuous climb up Butser Hill, some 270 metres high and the 2nd highest hill in Hampshire. We admired the southerly views as we climbed, the Isle of Wight is often visible in the distance, but alas, not today. As we approached the summit, light rain began and unexpectedly, fast became hail. Fortunately, this was short lived and it was not long before the sun came out and dried our wet clothing.
A good excuse to pause, half way up Butser Hill
Relieved that the climb was over and the weather improved, we carried on to join the South Downs Way and soon came across more wonderful vistas across the valley to East Meon.
View to the north from the South Downs Way
View to the south from the South Downs Way
Another view to the north from the South Downs Way
Shortly we entered Hyden Woods and followed the track, lined either side by bluebells and flowering wild garlic, enjoying the peace of the well managed woodlands. Further on, we entered the privately owned Hyden “Bluebell” Wood where in addition to carpets of bluebells, there were clearings where several beautiful ancient layered beech trees stand, the perfect place for a group photo.
Under one of the spectacular beech trees
The owners of the woods do a splendid job of managing them, helped by selling pea sticks, charcoal and logs.
A glade surrounded by magnificent beech trees
We pressed onwards and a little more upwards to enter Ditch Acre Copse, leading to the intriguingly named Thieves Lane that appears to have been important in the middle of the 18th century. Ditch Acre Copse, apparently being used to hide contraband in its many ditches. It seems that the isolation of large areas of countryside, particularly the section south of Petersfield, was notorious for a scourge of thieves.
We leave Thieves Lane with our possessions intact and carefully walk in single file along Petersfield Lane and make our way back to the Park.