From: Beacon Hill Car Park
Region: Hampshire South Downs
Walk : Circular
OS Sheet: Explorer 119
Start Grid: SU 599 227
Distance: 11.5 ml, 18.5 km
Height Gain: 737 ft, 225m
Height Lost: 737 ft, 225 m
Walking with: Katie (dog)
Notes: Tracks and minor roads, field and woodland paths. This route was published in the June 2013 edition of Country Walking. The details, descriptions and comments below are all mine.
These notes are provided to enable the walk to be plotted on a 1:25,000 map.
From the car park just to the W of Beacon Hill head NW on lane at bend take track (South Downs Way) to Lomer Farm where the South Downs Way, Monarch’s Way and Wayfarer’s Walk all meet. Head SSE on the Wayfarer’s Way passing Betty Mundy’s Cottage and St Clair’s Farm towards Steynes Farm. Before reaching Steynes Farm turn R on footpath across field and road (B3035) through the woodland passing Hazel Holt onto lane, R to the corner below Galley Down, R follow bridleway NW to the B3035, cross to lane down into Dean. At junction turn R, passing Cleverley Cottage and Deans Farm, joining the Monarch’s Way back to Lomers Farm and back to the car park.
Spring Bank Holiday and we were back in Portsmouth to visit the mother in law and Mrs G’s family here. The trip down on Friday morning had been rain and wind start to finish with some very heavy traffic, a fairly miserable journey.
Saturday could not have been more different, a lovely day to be walking on the South Downs. Earlier in the week when I had been looking for a walk further east around the Goodwood area but when my County Walking Mag. came and I saw this walk in there I went for it as it’s not often you get to walk on a National Trail and two long distance trails in one 11 mile circuit.
Getting to Beacon Hill was a thrash along the M27, and then off onto one of the nicest drives in the area, north up the Meon Valley along the A32, with remarkably little traffic.
Route finding by memory I turned off the A32 at Corhampton. I then turned into the wrong little narrow lane then turned left instead of right. I eventually admitted to the dog that we were a bit lost and it was time to stop to get the OS map out of my rucksack, in the boot, and then re-orientate myself.
We were only the second car in the car park, although there were numerous bikes wizzing about. Anyway Katie and I were soon sorted out and off along a short section of the South Downs Way to Lomers Farm then several miles down the Wayfarers Walk through the lovely pastures and woodland with Katie running around like a mad thing chasing real or imaginary rabbits, squirrels or game birds. Whatever they were I never saw them.
|Below King's Copse|
|St Clair's Farm|
After such a wet spring it was great to see the sunshine and the countryside so green, lush meadows, trees in full leaf, many also in blossom. Banks of Bluebell’s in the hedgerows and large swathes of wild garlic flowers along the track and through the woodland. Dandelions were everywhere, surprisingly, after all the winds and rain, with their seed heads fully intact.
However, the damage done by the winter and spring weather could be seen in the recently cleared ditches, small landslips on the steeper hillsides, in the arable fields areas of bare earth and where the crops are late, growth stunted.
North from Dean, a tiny hamlet but the largest place on the walk, The Monarch’s Way is all paved lanes and tracks which definitely became a bit of a trudge. Another factor could be that the Monarch’s Way here is generally uphill and the Wayfarers Walk is pretty much downhill.
|Track Monarch's Way|
|Katie cooling her feet|
Just south of Preshaw House, major works being undertaken to remove some five to six hundred metres of the existing track/bridleway and re-routing it further north. It is disappointing that work of this order is being carried out without any form of diversionary signage to assist walkers, riders etc. One wonders if permission/approval has been obtained from Hampshire County Councils Rights of Way Team for the closure and the diversion of the bridleway.
|Cowslips South Downs Way|
Overall the walk was very enjoyable and the time just flew by. Should I do this one again, or if anyone asked my opinion, which they never do, I would suggest re-planning the walk so as to start from the south, parking near to Dean or one of the other hamlets in that area, and walk the Monarch’s Way leg first. It gets that bit of a trudge feeling out of the way while you are fresh.