Annual Day Out

  • Date:               7 June 2023
  • Distance:         5, 7 or 10 Miles
  • Start:               Ryde bus station at 10.50am

CLUB ANNUAL DAY OUT

TO THE ISLE OF WIGHT

Twenty members of the Petersfield Ramblers, complete with Pickle the Labrador, travelled to the Isle of Wight to enjoy a day out. It was an easy journey; train to Portsmouth then straight on to the ferry, using our ‘Ticket to Ryde’. The first walk was the length of Ryde pier to the bus station – seemed about ½ mile to me but no problem as we were enjoying the glorious sunshine and looking at the sea.   Then we split into 3 groups for a choice of a 5-mile walk, a 7 miler, and a 10 miler.

The short walk was along the coast to Quarr Abbey which is a magnificent edifice and is home to a small group of monks. It was founded in 1132 and was populated by monks from Normandy. It’s set in a lovely natural environment, has some gardens and a lovely tea shop. Well worth a visit.

A larger group of us got the no 3 bus to Brading where the 7-milers went in one direction and us longer walkers found our way through some streets and on to Brading marshes which, being June, was a mass of wildflowers. The colours were stunning – ox-eye daisies, buttercups, clover, vetch, birds-foot trefoil, and some we couldn’t identify. Looming above us to the south was the monument on Bembridge Down and ahead of us was the National Trust Bembridge Windmill which we walked past, and at which some lingered for an ice cream!

We moved on to Bembridge Harbour and admired the boats while we stopped to eat our lunch, after which we walked a narrow causeway across the water. Further along we came to a beach with a large shop and eating area at which I’ve heard crab sandwiches were to be had, but we’d just had our lunch so didn’t partake.  After a little trudge along a sandy beach where some people were swimming, and some were roasting themselves in the sunshine – hardly wise for some who were obviously burning and looking like lobsters – we entered woodland.

And that’s where things became challenging. We think there had been some sort of landfall because we had to re-route ourselves, turn back, scramble over tree roots, take huge steps down, walk down ladders, not my favourite part of the walk by any means! Lovely views through the trees to the water though. However, we finally landed on a beach then found a hard footpath which took us back to Ryde.  Along this path we came to the very attractive village of Seaview where we stopped for tea or ice creams, admiring the view across the Solent to the Spinnaker Tower and surrounding area.

A spectacular day arranged by Lynne who managed to arrange all this without reccing anything in advance. When all were gathered about 5pm there was a treat of Tony’s Fish ‘n’ chips. A fitting end to a spectacular day.

Author: Sheila Gadd

Photographs: Sandy Arpino, Jo Legg & Rosemary Field

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14 June 2023

  • Date:                      14 June 2023
  • Walk Leader:       Val Wood
  • Distance:                 10.5 miles
  • Start:                      09:15am, Lower Froyle Village Hall CP GR: SU760 440

Rolling Hampshire Countryside

on a Hot Sunny Day

Some 8 ramblers, plus Pickle the dog our honorary canine member, met at Lower Froyle, a charming village about half an hour’s drive north of Petersfield.  Because of very high midsummer temperatures we have gathered early to try and avoid walking for too long at the hottest time of the day.  In addition, we could always shorten the walk if it became more of a slog than pleasurable.  After sorting out some parking issues to the satisfaction of a couple of overzealous residents, we set off suitably prepared as our Australian cousins would say: “Slip, slap, slop” – slip on a shirt, slap on a hat, slop on the sunscreen.  AND, of course, with plenty of water. 

Our route takes us across the recreation field down a path to Park Lane, then out onto the main village road where we turn right and almost immediately left into Hussey’s Lane past the well maintained village pond. This is a delightful, quiet lane with many attractive period houses, one a former brewery.  Soon we leave the metalled lane behind as it peters out to become a bridleway heading uphill and north.  Eventually we reach another little used lane for a few yards before turning west along a wooded bridleway know by many locals as the “Sheep Drove” track which crosses Well Lane.  At a crossroads we turn north again, first through some woodland, then opening out to a long field overlooking the campus of Lord Wandsworth College. (1)

We walk towards the college, but at a five path crossroads turn west along the substantial by-way Frog Lane which, in the winter can turn into a quagmire, it being a favourite of trial and quad bike riders.  Leaving it behind we turn north passing Manor Farm and shortly arrive at the junction of Well hamlet which, of course, has its well in pride of place on a grassy triangle where the lanes cross.  Whilst comprising only a few dwellings and agricultural buildings, it has an attractive 15thC pub, The Chequers, which has been a popular drinking/eating establishment for many years. Pressing on northward again we walk through a wild flower meadow before crossing somewhat dry pastures with sheep grazing – relatively rare in this mainly arable farming countryside.  Turning left past the hive of industry at Stapely Farm which really is humming with machinery that we deduce is processing quality topsoil, we then cross a road into a section full of cereal crops, fortunately with wide paths cutting through the strong growing plants.  Happy to find some shade as we approach the village of Long Sutton, we walk through a recreation field to cross the road onto a shady path that runs adjacent to the road along the boundary of the front of the College.  Turning south, after stopping to say hello to a curious donkey, we find a couple of shady spots which are perfect for a welcome lunch break.  

Refreshed we continue south and at the familiar five path crossroads turn east, eventually meeting the Lower Froyle to Long Sutton Lane.  Turning left on the metalled road we go past one or two houses near a junction, known as the Bumpers, where once there was an isolated pub/ale house, now long demolished.  Turning right onto a footpath we once again find ourselves crossing mostly cultivated fields, this time growing broad bean plants (no pods that we could see) which we understand are a nutritious source of protein for livestock and a valuable part of crop rotations.  Leaving these behind we walk through a small copse and ascend through a grass meadow eventually meeting a mostly tree lined wide track which leads us past Saintbury Hill Farm and its unused yard and buildings, before dropping down Bambers Lane to the main village road to return to the carpark. 

A distinctive walk through varied and attractive rolling countryside, typical of north east Hampshire and following paths largely unfamiliar to Petersfield Ramblers.

Author: Val Wood

Photography: Val Wood & Sandy Arpino

(1) Lord Wandsworth College is named after Baron Sydney Stern, a Liberal MP, who was granted a peerage and took the title of Lord Wandsworth.

When Lord Wandsworth died in 1912 he left a generous bequest to educate the children of agricultural workers; children who had lost one or both parents, through bereavement, and needed the support of a boarding environment.

Lord Wandsworth’s Trustees purchased the site on which the College now stands and the first ‘Foundationers’ arrived in 1922, followed by fee-paying students in 1946.

November 2022 marked 100 years since, Alfred Beckwith (Pupil No 1) walked through the Acorn Gate at LWC and bought Sydney Stern’s amazing Legacy to life. The Foundation remains at the heart of the College today and has had such a positive impact on so many lives, with over 2,500 Foundationers having walked through those same gates during the first 100 years.

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May 2023

  • Date:                           May 2023
  • Walk Leader:          Christine Tully
  • Distance:                   8 miles approx
  • Start:                           10:00 am Festival Hall CP

A Local Spring Walk

We are very blessed in Petersfield to be surrounded by beautiful countryside, lovely for walking at any time of the year.  However, in certain seasons there are additional features, such as spring flowers.  The route of this local walk is chosen in May for bluebells and new life on the pond!

Starting from the Festival Hall car park, we walked round Petersfield Pond and were rewarded with the sight of goslings and other hatchlings.  The swan was standing by the nest and so we were able to get a view of the eggs (from a safe distance!).  It is good that the temporary fence protects this nest from intruders!  Then on a large log in the pond we saw four terrapins.

From there we walked through the heath, along Durford Road, and on paths towards Durford Abbey Farm.  It had been raining frequently. So the paths were somewhat muddy and the River Rother was in full flow!

Durford Abbey was established about 1161 on the northern bank of the Rother, in the parish of Rogate, by Henry Hussey, lord of the neighbouring manor of Harting.  The monastery was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint John the Baptist.  It was dissolved around 1536 and is now a farm.

We then walked up the road towards Durleigh Marsh, noted for its horticulture.  One of our group made a quick purchase in the farm shop before re-joining us.  We took a path eastwards and then northwards towards Carrols.  There were some bluebells in the hedgerows.  From there we took the westward path towards Sheet Common.  We had lovely views of the South Downs and glorious views of bluebells, especially in the bluebell wood near Barns House. 

We could see dark clouds forming and were aware from the weather forecast that we might have to cut the walk short.  We had our picnic lunch on Sheet Common, and just as we were finishing, the clouds opened.  There was torrential rain.  The ramblers hastily bade farewell and dashed home as quickly as they could!

Had we been able to complete the walk, we had planned to walk northwards up Mill Lane Sheet to the mill, across the fields to Burntash Farm, and on to the road.  From there a path goes down to Kettlebrook Cottages, up to the Harrow Inn, and from Steep the Hangers Way goes down to Tilmore Road.

We hope to complete the walk in the future years!

Author: Christine Tully

Photographer: Jeremy Bacon

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22 April 2023

  • Date:               22 April 2023
  • Distance:      10 miles
  • Start:             Whiteways Lodge Roundabout CP
  • Leader:          Sandy Arpino & Lynne Burge

Petersfield Ramblers visit Bignor Roman Villa

One Saturday in late April a group of Petersfield Ramblers set off on a 10 mile circular walk over the beautiful chalk hills of West Sussex to visit Bignor Roman Villa. Many of the walkers had not seen the villa before, so there was a real air of anticipation.

The venture began in Whiteways Lodge Roundabout car park, 3 miles north of Arundel. We set off at a keen pace, climbing gradually up through woodland, on a defined route strangely named “The Denture”. After a couple of miles we briefly joined the South Downs Way, before branching off to the north-east, past prominent mobile towers that marked the peak of our steady ascent. Time for some welcome downhill !

The long descent to the little village of Sutton offered a few obstacles as well as some delightful tracks. We started on exposed chalk, taking care not to slip, before entering an enchanting, leaf-strewn, sunken lane. Unfortunately horses had churned up the wetter patches and it proved impossible to avoid muddy boots – but help was at hand. We soon found ourselves paddling through the waters of a clear, shallow stream which washed away the mud, leaving our boots pristine.    

The village of Sutton was charming with its many thatched houses, converted barns and neat gardens.

But Bignor village – our next port of call – wasn’t to be outdone! Its old cottages were every bit as attractive, as was its Norman church, recorded in the Domesday Book.

Crossing arable fields, finally the Bignor Roman Villa site came into sight.  It is so superbly set in a dip, surrounded by rolling chalk downs, that it’s easy to understand why a wealthy Roman decided to build a villa there. Now you are greeted by modest, low lying, thatched roof buildings encircled by broad expanses of grass. The villa was built around 300 AD and in its final form consisted of around sixty-five rooms surrounding a courtyard, with a number of outlying farm buildings. George Tupper, a farmer, discovered the villa in 1811 when his plough hit a large stone. After excavation, the villa opened to the public in 1814, rapidly becoming a tourist attraction. The rooms on display today contain some of the best Roman mosaics in the UK, in terms of preservation, artistic merit and detailing. Indeed a few of the mosaic floors have required barely any restoration work: they are viewed as they were found.

Refreshed by our rucksack lunches – supplemented by purchases from the site’s café – we took our individual tours around the villa, each of us fascinated by different facets. That said, the mosaics hugely impressed us all.

After a thorough look round it was time to make our way back to our cars. Following the flat path of the West Sussex Literary Trail – passing pungent areas of wild garlic and deep-blue English bluebells – we arrived at another picturesque Sussex village: West Burton. Then leaving the country road behind, we turned south, trudging up a very steep incline to regain the top ridge of the South Downs.

On arrival at the car park we were astonished to find more than fifty motorbikes gleaming in the sunshine. This is clearly a meeting point for riders. So we concluded our invigorating day out by enjoying well-earnt tea and cake – amongst the bikers – while one of our members told us tales of her days as a ‘biker girl’!

Author & Photographer: Sandy Arpino

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5 April 2023

  • Date:                      5 April 2023
  • Walk Leader:      Val Wood
  • Distance:               11 miles
  • Start:                      10:00 am Elsted Church CP GR: SU 816 197

South Downs Way Circuit from Elsted

At last, after several attempts at arranging this walk, the weather gods and all other conditions are favourable. 

Fifteen of us, plus faithful canine pal Pickle, meet at the Parish Church of Elsted a delightful little village on the South Harting to Nyewood road.  After heavy rain at the weekend, a few days of glorious spring sunshine have begun to dry out the sodden and some muddy paths and tracks.  It is always extraordinary, ‘though, how some paths are sheltered and well drained and show little sign of the wet conditions. Anyway, enough about the weather, I’m sure we all get fed up with it.

Pickles

We set off south down the lane with an ever pleasing vista of the South Downs ahead, soon the lane bent to the left and we carry on up the bridleway turning left below Elsted Hanger before turning right and some serious climbing up to the South Downs Way.  We follow the long distance trail past Buriton Farm and climb some more up to Philliswood Down where the SDW takes us left. 

We soon come across the Devil’s Jumps.  These are a line of bell barrows, and the site is listed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Local Nature Reserve.  Most barrows along the South Downs have been damaged by agriculture and treasure hunters but the Devil’s Jumps are considered to be the best preserved Bronze Age barrow group in Sussex. The barrows are laid out in a line running approximately south-east to north-west and the main line of five barrows is aligned with sunset on Midsummer Day.  They make an ideal and timely place to stop for coffee, etc. with splendid views all round.

The Devil’s Jumps

Pressing on, we continue along SDW before turning left at Didling Hill wending our way down the bridleway an almost concealed footpath to the right which takes us fairly steeply, but dry underfoot through a stretch of woodland before it opens up to a typical downland view. 

Beside the Track, a Monument to a Crashed German Plane WWII

We overlook the fields and pastures currently full of lambing ewes.  The area is a veritable birthing hub, and we spot very newly borns tottering about on their spindly legs often chasing their “lost” mothers, and even one having just dropped being cleaned up by a solicitous mum.  There is nothing quite like this scene for confirming that this is indeed Spring in the British countryside.

A little further on we have chance to stop at the dear little shepherd’s church of St Andrews.  There are several of these pretty little churches strung out along the South Downs, many in tucked away locations, even in the middle of a field (Coombes Church, near Lancing). St Andrews is tiny, has no electricity and the pews are narrow and upright.  It’s great to see that services are still held there once a month. There is no electricity nor, I believe heating, so warm clothing (in the winter) and a hearty and confident hymn-singing voice is required.  We continue and join a lane through Didling village before leaving the metalled road still in a northerly direction. 

We cross the bed of the former Petersfield to Midhurst railway.  We hear there is an initiative to re-instate the bed and make it a cycling/walking trail amenity which would be wonderful. Now we’re walking through waterlogged meadows in the Elsted Marsh area – the name says it all, doesn’t it?  But we’re all well-booted and many are wearing gaiters, so no wet feet.  To the east of Elsted Marsh we cross a lane into Henfield Wood.  Alongside the bridleway are a line of felled tree stumps which provide very accommodating seating for us to stop and have lunch.

Refuelled and refreshed we set off again soon reaching the Fitzhall and its pretty pond.  At Bridgelands Farm we turn north again, past Goldrings Warren and across the western edge of Trotton Common.  Just before reaching the busy A272 we join the lane where some quiet road walking is necessary.  This enables us to avoid paddocks containing overly inquisitive ponies, as well as electric fencing across a footpath, without the required catch to allow safe passage through.  At Dumpford village we re-join our route and soon make great strides past South Downs Manor house now a luxury wedding venue.  Once more across the bed of the former railway, then we’re on the home stretch into Elsted village our path taking us along the church wall back to the carpark. 

A delightful walk, with signs of spring everywhere, but probably a little more strenuous than it looks on the map.  Well worth the effort. 

Author: Val Wood

Photography: Jeremy Bacon & Val Wood

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15 March 2023

  • Date:               15 March 2023
  • Distance:      11.5 – 12.5 miles
  • Start:             09:15 GR: SU 488 281
  • Leader:          Sandy Arpino & Lynne Burge

Petersfield Ramblers Complete their Journey Along St Swithun’s Way

St Swithun’s Way – a 34-mile long-distance footpath from Farnham to Winchester Cathedral – broadly follows the route of the Old Pilgrim’s Way. St Swithun was Bishop of Winchester in the mid-800’s and is believed to have performed miracles both in and beyond his lifetime – raising him to sainthood. So his shrine in Winchester became a site of pilgrimage.  

Given the delightful countryside that St Swithun’s Way passes through, Petersfield Ramblers decided to walk the route, spread across three separate days. The first of these was in mid-October – but we then had to wait until February before embarking on ‘part 2’, as the daylight hours in mid-winter are too short for long walks. Finally in mid-March we set off from Bishop Sutton for the final 12 miles. Whilst a variety of ramblers (and dogs) joined different segments of the extended walks, only ten keen walkers completed the whole route – being rewarded with a celebratory badge!

Logistically, this final walk presented some challenges. We met early at Winchester’s spacious, easterly St Catherine’s Park & Ride and immediately took the short bus ride into the town centre. A quick dash to bus stand 5 found a double-decker conveniently waiting for us. Alas, on alighting, we discovered we were too early to use our bus-passes! Never mind, with the half-hour journey back to Bishops Sutton reduced to only £2, we agreed that such a bargain was irresistible! So, thanks to such timely buses, we were on our way – walking – just before 10 o’clock.

The first mile and a half comprised a rather dull road and pavement walk with the rumble of traffic on the nearby A31 ever present – though we were impressed by the huge fields of solar panels under-grazed by sheep along Sun Lane.

Leaving Alresford (which we had skirted) behind, the route assumed a much more picturesque, rural air. A little lane took us beside verdant watercress beds washed by crystal clear chalk-stream waters, so appealing that two of our party sort out an ‘honesty box’ selling watercress; their intention being to make soup. We then crossed a ford – without getting wet feet! – and spotted a beautiful little white egret before following an uphill footpath, emerging at a large roundabout.

Carefully crossing the rather complicated dual-carriageway junction, we gladly dropped down onto a country lane running alongside the fast-flowing River Itchen. 

River Itchen

For more than two miles we enjoyed the quiet lanes running parallel to the river, before reaching the golf course at Avington Park and crossing the Itchen into Itchen Abbas. Intrigued by the unusually shaped church here, we wandered inside to investigate. Aptly prepared for walkers and their muddy boots, the church offered blue plastic shoe covers which we gratefully donned for our visit.    

Resuming our walk, a footpath now took us in a westerly direction, along the north bank of the swirling River Itchen. Notable was the abundant mistletoe rooted in the tops of all the mature trees – whilst at ground level we were charmed by the unusual sight of adjacent miniature daffodil and snowdrop flowers.      

At Martyr Worthy we fittingly stopped at St Swithun’s curious church for lunch in the churchyard. Not unsurprisingly the church – mentioned in the Domesday Book – presented an image of St Swithun high-up within a stained-glass window on its back wall. Also of interest was the church’s unusual rounded east end, built with flints.

Refreshed, we continued on our way, walking closer to the river now, sharing our path with the Itchen Way across open meadows. The first sign of Winchester – our destination – was harsh: a concrete subway under the M3. Only the colourful graffiti softened the landscape.

Subway Under the M3

Fortunately, we emerged onto a delightful footpath through water meadows which extended south for the next mile and a half – only broken by a sprint across the busy A34. We were well within the sprawling suburbs of the city when we finally left the marshland and headed into a largely empty industrial estate. Even this had a lovely surprise for us: a vast expanse of dainty violets. 

Dainty Violets

Entering the busy shopping streets was jarring but our endpoint was clearly in sight. On reaching Winchester’s stunning cathedral we gathered for a last group photo, gratified that we’d completed our long journey. But we had one last duty before travelling home … 

Inside the cathedral – behind the high altar – is a shrine to St Swithun. It was here – like the many pilgrims before us – that we ended our long-distance walk.     

Shrine to St Swithun

Author & Photogapher: Sandy Arpino

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18 March 2023

  • Date:                           18 March 2023
  • Walk Leader:            Mike Wallace
  • Distance:                    5.5 Miles, MORNING WALK
  • Start:          10:00am near Staple Ash Farm, Chilgrove GR: SU841 152

Wild Daffodils in West Dean Woods

Hazel Fencing to Protect the Woods

Putting our trust in the Met. Office’s forecast for the morning, we set off in heavy rain to the starting point. As we parked by the roadside, the rain ceased. There was even a lot of blue in the sky.

Aim of the day was to see the wild daffodils and primroses in West Dean Wood then carry on up to the South Downs Way to begin the completion of a circuit, taking us back to the cars.

The footpath rises gradually all the way up to the South Downs Way (SDW). After the heavy rain earlier that morning, the path was wet and with water flowing downhill but it was less slippery than expected.

Admiring one of the Chalk Balls (moss covered)

The first point of interest was one of the many huge limestone spheres placed in these woodlands as part of the Andy Goldsworthy Chalk Stones Trail. For a detailed, illustrated article go to:

The Stones must have been spectacular when they were newly sited but time, moss and frosts have started to change their colour and break off chunks of the limestone rock. One of them has been cleaved in two.

The Stones must have been spectacular when they were newly sited but time, moss and frosts have started to change their colour and break off chunks of the limestone rock. One of them has been cleaved in two.

Another Chalk Ball on the left
Wonderful Vistas Along the Way

Continuing uphill, we saw the first wild daffodils in the woodland to our right. They were not accessible from the path but a little further on and the wood opened out and that’s where the cameras came out.

Wild Daffodils Galore

The daffodils are delicate and a paler yellow than the ones we have in our gardens but nonetheless a beautiful sight which we paused awhile to enjoy. We continued uphill and passed patches of primroses reminding us that Spring really is very near.

We joined the SDW at the top of the hill. Away to the East was Cocking village but we turned West towards Beacon Hill and Harting Down. SDW is a ridge-way and it’s very popular with cyclists and walkers because of the views to both North and South. It being Saturday, there were many cyclists.

The SDW is rightly famous for the views on either side of the track and we continued to enjoy them until we reached the Devil’s Jumps at OS Grid Ref: SU 825172 at altitude: 709 ft. The Devil’s Jumps are the best example of a Bronze Age barrow formation in Sussex. They are aligned with the position of the setting of the sun on midsummer’s day, although the nearby trees mean that the effect of the sun dipping below the horizon is likely to be less uplifting today than it would have been to our downland ancestors.

Here we paused for a break by an impressive Beech tree. One of the pleasures of our group walking breaks, is catching up with news (or gossip, if you prefer) and seeing the varied drinks and snacks people produce from their rucksacks.

A Short Break Under a Splendid Beech Tree

Duly refreshed and updated, we set off once more and soon the track curved SW and we left the SDW and went SE towards Monkton House. Monkton is an architectural one-off commissioned by Edward James. In 1932 Edward James came of age and inherited the West Dean Estate. In a letter written in 1939 to his friend Aldous Huxley, James expressed his concern for preserving certain arts and crafts he feared would be lost during WWII. That preservation work continues today at West Dean College.

Then we left the woodland behind and walked through open fields to the deserted medieval village of Monkton with its post-medieval farm buildings. Sadly, the brambles and bushes have hidden the remains of this village which may have been a casualty of the great depopulation in the 14th Century, caused by the pandemic we know as The Black Death. Nevertheless, this site is listed on the National Heritage List for England.

See: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1005811/

From Monkton, we passed Monkton Farm and followed the road which took us back to Staple Ash Farm and our cars.

Thanks to Mike for his reconnaissance and leadership of a varied and very interesting morning’s walking.

Author: Michael Moore

Photography: Paul & Linda Farley, Claire Anderson

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11 March 2023

  • Date:               11 March 2023
  • Walk Leader: Lynne Burge
  • Distance:         10 Miles
  • Start:               10:00 am Hedge Corner GR: SU688 303

On a day that was forecast to be grey and cloudy, six of us met in the potholed lay-by at Hedge Corner, alongside the A32. Thankfully the route took us back up towards Petersfield, through some delightful trees and out into a field as the sun began to shyly emerge from behind the clouds. It spent the time of our walk showing itself before disappearing again so that the weather was better than expected.
Skirting around Becksteddle Farm the path took us over a minor road and then through two grass covered fields. What an amazing time of year it is to be out. Everywhere is beginning to think of emerging from winter hibernation, there are signs of growth on the trees, hedgerows and verges. The inevitable kites were flying around searching for their prey, joined at times by a buzzard.

Blue Skies

Passing by a large collection of farm buildings, probably used to house chickens, but they seemed empty as far as we could ascertain, we made our way up to Windmill Farm Cottages. One would assume that in the past there was a windmill in the area, but there are no signs of one today.


Noticing the wild garlic peeping up in the woodland there were discussions about making wild garlic pesto and/or garlic cheese scones. Maybe on a subsequent walk we might be able to sample these culinary delights? The path ploughed its way across two large fields with sheep grazing contentedly. The stile out of the first field was not for the faint hearted. It was a double one, both having barbed wire close to them with some of the barbs taken out. Thankfully we all managed to negotiate both with no torn trousers and made our way down to Slade Farm.

This is a delightful old farm, out in the wilds of the countryside where cake may be purchased if one wished. It made us wonder who would drive along the very bumpy road, miles from the nearest village to complete their purchase. We did not give into temptation but slogged our way up the hill to view at the top two very large, fairly new built houses, constructed of wood in a very angular fashion. They did not blend gently into the landscape.
Speeding up now with the promise of a coffee stop soon we picked our way down a stony track to emerge at Colemore, a small hamlet. Refreshment having been accomplished along with a look in at the church we continued on our way across large fields edged with feeding bins for the pheasants raised in the vicinity.

Another stony path led us up to Shotters Farm where we encountered some difficulty. Since this walk had been tried out the farmer had ploughed his fields with no sign of the paths. The first field we could walk around the edge but the second left us no option but to walk across claggy damp soil to get to the woodland. We did spot a hare bounding its way across a nearby field which was an exciting sight.


The subsequent woodlands led us to the top of a steep drop at the bottom of which would have been a railway until Beeching axed it years ago. To safely cross we had to detour around until we could descend to the track bed and then walk along the other side.
Crossing the A32 the path took us between Pelham Place and Rotherfield Park. As we ascended the hill a helter skelter was just visible at Pelham, put there many years ago for the owners’ amusement.

By now lunch was being looked forward to and with the promise of logs to sit on not far along the path everyone strode on. Disappointment. The logs had been cleared away since our last visit so the bank had to suffice. No one complained, they were too pleased to have a break and eat their lunch.

Taking time to view Rotherfield Park it was noticed that the house is indeed a folly. The main part of the building is what you might expect from the Lord of the Manor but an extension at the rear looks more like a castle with embattlements. Its origins go back to medieval times. As we made our way back to the A32 it was interesting to see a bridge across a deep dip in the field over which vehicles need to drive to get to the house.


Entering the village of East Tisted, we noted the enclosure for stray animals and further up the village pump next to the village pond. But the feature that stands out in the village is the old railway station. This has been converted into a house that still shouts out that it was the ticket hall and station, in the back garden is a railway carriage, well worth seeing.

Tisted House
The Village Well

Following the path we came upon the bed of the disused railway, not an official route but one that has been accepted over many years as it wends its way back to Hedge Corner running parallel to the A32.


Reaching the cars after a good 10 miles we were all thankful to take off our boots to head home for a well deserved cup of tea (or coffee).

Author: Lynne Burge

Photography: Lynne Burge & David Roberts

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15 February 2023

  • Date:               15 February 2023
  • Distance:      12 miles
  • Start:             10:00 at Lady Place CP GR:  SU  716 393
  • Leaders:        Sandy Arpino & Lynne Burge

Petersfield Ramblers continue their journey along St Swithun’s Way

St Swithun’s Way is a 34-mile long-distance footpath from Farnham to Winchester Cathedral, roughly following the route of the Old Pilgrim’s Way. Swithun was Bishop of Winchester in the mid-800’s and is said to have performed miracles both in and beyond his lifetime – raising him to sainthood. So his shrine in Winchester became a site of pilgrimage.  

Given the delightful countryside that St Swithun’s Way passes through, Petersfield Ramblers decided to walk the route, spread across three separate days. The first of these was in mid-October, when 10 walkers set off from Farnham Station to hike 13 miles south-westerly to Alton. We had to wait until February before embarking on ‘part 2’, as the daylight hours in mid-winter are too short for long walks – but after an extended break, 12 keen Ramblers finally set off from Alton. Our destination for this leg was Bishops Sutton, 12 miles away.

The weather was uncharacteristically sunny for mid-February which put a spring in our step – and a lack of recent rain meant that the ground was firm underfoot.

Heading south at a lively pace we quickly left the sprawl of Alton behind, replacing it with the tranquillity of delightful Chawton village. Shortly after passing Jane Austen’s house, we left roads behind, to walk along pleasant tree-lined paths. These included a section of the historic Meon Valley Railway route, providing an opportunity to admire one of its imposing Victorian brick bridges.  

The route then steadily climbed to its highest point, passing south of Four Marks and cutting directly through Garthowen Garden Centre. What better place to stop in the sun for coffee!

Resuming our walk we reached the little hamlet of Kitwood – notable for its abundance of delicate snowdrops and friendly sheep!

Crossing fields of emerging cereal crops and ploughed up turnips (fodder for sheep), we spied a single tiny lamb tottering alongside its attentive mother – a sure sign of spring. Onwards we strode through woodland and more fields, over a series of well-constructed stiles, until reaching tarmac and the outskirts of Ropley. Stopping in the churchyard for lunch, we enjoyed both the warmth of the sunshine and the wonderfully restored church.               

Sadly, Ropley’s St Peter’s church, originating in the 11th century, was devastated by a huge fire in 2014. The blaze engulfed the main body of the church destroying its roof and bell tower. Eight years after the fire, the restored building – designed by John Alexander – was re-opened to considerable acclaim in August 2022.  Preserving everything possible of the old, the building has been enhanced to create a multi-functional, intergenerational space.

Our group of Ramblers was certainly very impressed by the rebuilt structure; it is light, spacious and contemporary – a perfect example of a modern church.

From Ropley, refreshed, we headed east to Bishops Sutton and the end of our walk – crossing first the unattractive A31 dual-carriageway and then a pretty, crystal-clear chalk stream by the side of a ford. On this final stretch nostalgia beckoned when we spotted a black steam train with three coaches chugging in backwards formation along the Watercress Line – and then a ‘fox stalking a rabbit’ straw finial on the ridge of a thatched roof.

By this time, with 12 miles under our belts, we were ready for the bus to take us back to Alton and our waiting cars. It had been a lovely day, full of sunshine and interest. Next time: the final part of our journey to St Swithun’s shrine in Winchester Cathedral. 

Words and photos: Sandy Arpino

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 15 February 2023

21 January 2023

  • Date:               21 January 2023
  • Walk Leader: Lynne Burge
  • Distance:         8 – 9 Miles
  • Start:               10:00 am The Trundle, Goodwood. GR. SU879113

The Trundle and Beyond

Thirteen brave souls, plus one dog, drove through ice and fog to the start of this walk. As we emerged out of cars into the car park to don our boots the sun began to break through offering splendid views of the countryside.

The Trundle from our Start Point
The Trundle Trig Point


This walk starts with an immediate hill up to the trig point at the apex of the Trundle, and what panoramic views were offered to us. 360 degrees of rolling English countryside with glimpses of the sea in the distance. Having gained all that height there was only one way to go- down. Gingerly picking our way down the steep path, avoiding the iciest parts, we were back at Goodwood level to begin our circular walk.

The first section is not the most interesting, walking alongside the busy roads as we skirted around Goodwood before gaining the sanctuary of trees at Counter’s Gate. Glad to be off the side of the road we followed the path by the side of the trees, being careful in the muddy patches that by this time had thawed out. The path took us down through the trees until we had our first glimpse of the village of East Dean. Nestling in the valley between the trees it was evident that its low lying position was a magnet for the abundant water that is around at the moment. Our path should have taken us across the fields of the recreation ground but we could see that a large stream was blocking our way. Rather than wading through we diverted across some higher fields and made our way into the village.

East Dean Pond

After a welcome coffee stop in the sunshine at the village hall we began to climb out of the village past the church. The church is St Simon and St Jude dating from Saxon times or very early Norman. The churchyard itself is managed to ensure a diversity of plants, 127 of them at last count. Walking up the hill we left the village behind and continued upward across a field and into a wooded area. Stopping to regain our breath we were rewarded with fantastic views back across the valley over which we had just walked.

Coffee / Banana Break

The next part of the walk was a bit of a zig-zag, walking up and down along the paths to work our way westwards. In the more sheltered parts, the hoar frost was magnificent having built up over a period of days. After the last part of the zig-zag we met with the New Lipchis Way, a walk that in 2008 was finally way marked so that intrepid ramblers can find their way from Liphook to West Wittering. We only walked along a short part of it as we stopped for lunch on the hill overlooking Singleton.

Hoar Frost
View from our Lunch Stop

As we enjoyed our lunch we could see the odd sight of the road passing the school acting as a river. Vehicles coming along this section had to negotiate the flow of water coming off the fields and making its way into the River Lavant. When we reached this point we could witness the speed of the water as it gushed through the village. Fortunately our route took us on a drier part but care had to be taken as much of the water that had flooded the village had frozen by the wayside.

Passing the church in the village which was mentioned in the Domesday book we walked across a farm yard and then began the hill which would lead us back to the cars. As we gained height so the views appeared again- in fact this walk is all about the spectacular vistas that can be seen along the way.

The Final Big Climb

Eventually we were back at the cars, the sun still shining amongst the frost, 8.5 miles and over 1200 feet of ascent later, and everyone had that lovely feeling of having achieved a hilly walk with the positive well being that it generates.

Our Furry Friend

Author: Lynne Burge

Photographers: Lynne, Linda & Paul

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 21 January 2023