- Cheriton, Hinton Ampner, Kilmeston: 25 September 2021
- Walk Leaders: Gerald & Clare Pilkington
- Distance: 10 Miles
- Start: Cheriton by the Green GR: SU 583 284
Having spent a couple of days worrying about road closures on the way to Cheriton, with sore arms and mild aches as a result of the booster and flu jabs we had received the day before, Gerald and I were slightly concerned when the drizzle started as we were driving to our start point. However, none of the above in any way spoiled what turned out to be a very lovely walk! We were joined by Sheila, Helen and Johanne, and Amanda Todd, a friend who had seen the walk in the Petersfield Post and came to witness a ramble at first hand.
We set off through the churchyard and then negotiated a number of stiles in order to make our way through fields of cows, harvested crops and natural beauty, passing several striking properties with amazing views. Up we went, along footpaths and across fields until we were heading straight for Hinton Ampner, in the heart of the land where the Battle of Cheriton was fought. (The Battle of Cheriton, in 1644, was a major turning point in the English Civil War and resulted in an important Parliamentarian victory that helped shape the future of England.)
We crossed the A272 and walked up the lane to Hinton Ampner, (a National Trust property purchased by Ralph Dutton, 8th Lord Sherborne, in 1935 and rebuilt in 1960 after a devastating fire) where we took advantage of a couple of empty benches that were winking at us, and stopped for coffee. What better way to enjoy a break than surrounded by beautiful roses and a view that took in a large chunk of Hampshire!
Then down through the Hinton Ampner estate, and along a series of footpaths that took us through more fields but also some wooded areas to Kilmeston, a very pretty little village with thatched and tiled cottages and a delightful village hall. On we pressed, and eventually the landscape opened up so that we could see on the horizon the part of the South Downs Way for which we were heading. Across ploughed fields and up a short hill, we reached the path, enjoying a wonderful panoramic view whilst we caught our breath. A short road walk brought us to The Milbury pub, our lunch stop. We sat outside on a couple of bench/tables – Gerald and I seemed to have chosen a seesaw, rather than a bench – and ate our lunch with drinks from the pub.
Now on the home strait, we continued along lanes, paths and across fields, enjoying enterprising egg boxes, funny signs on gates and a lot of happy chat and fun. In what seemed like no time at all, we were back in Cheriton. It hadn’t rained, Gerald and I actually felt much better for the exercise and the A272 was open after all! But the best bit of all was the company, despite their disputes over our stile count – thank you all, and I hope we will see you again soon!
Author: Clare Pilkington
Photos: Sheila Gadd & Jo Legg