- Betty Mundy’s Bottom: 31 July 2021
- Walk Leader: Flick
- Distance: 7.4 Miles
- Start: Beacon Hill Beeches CP, GR: SU 598 228
9 intrepid walkers set off from Beaconhill Beeches, south along the South Downs Way turning right and going passed a real beacon on the hillside which was lit for the Queen’s diamond jubilee. We walked on down the slope through lush green fields, across 5 stiles, passing fellow walkers coming up the hill.
All around us we had wonderful views of the Meon valley and in the far distance the Solent and Isle of Wight. We gradually descended into the village of Exton enjoying smart, expensive country houses, turning right and passing a relatively new vineyard and the Exton Stud. Needing sustenance, we stopped for coffee and a comfort break before ascending an uphill terrain of very loose stones to Warner’s Cottage, now a very expensive large house and garden.
We crossed over the lane and walked along the edge of a field with a crop none of us could identify, into Preshaw Wood Estate with very clear signs for the footpath. We crossed over another lane into a beautiful walnut orchard wondering how long before the first walnuts would be edible. Turning right onto Wayfarers Way and so on to Betty Mundy’s Cottage, now a very large country house, a landscaped garden with statues, tennis courts and stables.
There are a variety of tales about the name which goes back centuries. One theory is that it is from the Latin beati mundane, meaning the most beautiful place in the world. Another has it that Betty Mundy lived in the cottage and that she would waylay discharged sailors walking along the Sailor’s Lane, murdering them for their wages or leading them to a press gang. Other stories are that she was a witch or fairy who would curse or trick people.
In 1941 there was building work to renovate the 2 cottages owned by Major Pelly. In 2012 a substantial country house known as Mundy’s House was rebuilt there.
We then stopped on the edge of a huge field enjoying the views and the wild flowers and butterflies whilst we ate our lunch.
Later we continued our walk through a small wood with ash die back, trees newly felled, through a large field and uphill gently to Lomer Farm and back onto the South Downs Way passing on the right what had once been a medieval village and so back to our parked cars.
A beautiful walk in hot sunshine.