This attractive long country village is blessed with two pubs. The Cricketers and The Plough, which re-opened in September 2021 as a community hub as well as a pub. Both are recommended and are open every day of the week.
There are no nettles on this walk but there are some brambles, so shorts may be risky. Good shoes are adequate. Your dog can come too.
The walk begins in Middleton, the central village of Longparish, near Andover, Hampshire, postcode SP11 6PA. Park in the large public car park not far from the village hall, opposite the cemetery. It is on the right when coming from the A303, just before the right bend before the church.
Distance: 4 miles
Map: Explorer 144 (Basingstoke)
- From the car park in Middleton, go out to the road, turn right and follow it round the right bend. At the next left bend, go right on a drive to the church. Note the stocks! The church is well worth visiting.
St Nicholas church was built in a mixture of styles, late Norman (the priest’s door), late English (the chancel arch), decorated (the aisles) and perpendicular (the west tower). The most mysterious item is on the south wall of the chancel: a monument known as the Easter Sepulchre.
Turn left by the porch on the south side and go through another lichgate and veer right along the grass beside the River Test. Continue straight ahead, through a swing-gate into a pasture.
You are on part of the Test Way, a 79-km (49-mile) long-distance footpath from Walbury Hill in Berkshire to Eling, near Southampton. The grand building over on the right is Middleton House.
Leave the pasture via a swing-gate onto a lane and turn right on it.
- The lane leads to the main road. Go straight over the road, through a swing gate and along the right-hand side of a large field. Continue straight ahead passing a black post with a yellow arrow and, after about half a mike, just before you reach the far corner of the last field, turn right onto a narrow path into woods. Your path quickly veers left (as indicated by another black post with a yellow arrow), goes down to cross the disused railway and veers left again up the bank. You reach a tarmac lane. Turn right on the lane, shortly going over the disused railway. You pass a farm on your left and reach a right bend. Here, at the bend, squeeze past a metal gate on your left into woods. Cross a rough track to meet a wide gravel track at a wide bend.
- Turn right on the wide track. You pass a green arrow confirming that you are once again on the Test Way. After some more woodland, the track comes out into the open. Ignore a track on the right here, thus leaving the Test Way, and continue with a field on your right. Stay on this sandy gravelly track ignoring all turnings off as it wheels left. About 800m after you left the Test Way, you will notice a fingerpost pointing right across the field as you approach a line of trees ahead. Ignore the fingerpost and continue past the line of trees. After another small field, you quickly reach a second line of trees. Immediately before these trees, turn right on a woodland track which is highlighted by a post with a black arrow.
- You pass a wood on your left with a hollow. Your path runs between hedges with occasional views, under a shady canopy of trees. Later, there is a fence on your left and finally your path comes out to a road at a bend. Don’t join the road but turn immediately right at a fingerpost on a footpath between fields. The path weaves left and right by a fence and comes into a residential road. Keep left along the road and follow it as it bends left to the main street opposite The Cricketers (see intro). There is also a general store at the corner.
- After possible refreshment, turn right and enjoy a walk through this endearing village, amidst ever changing styles. (You can alternatively make use of a lovely footpath that runs parallel to the road.) Walk straight ahead, passing the cricket ground and children’s playground on your left, and the Plough community hub and drinks pub on your right. Continue, following the main street as it bends right and left, soon reaching the car park where the walk began.
Walk taken from fancyfreewalks.org
Image: River Test at Longparish by Kelvin Davies CC BY-SA 2.0