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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Saturday, 21 January 2017

Woods, canals, castles and an attractive Hampshire town

SWC walk 84 - Hook to Winchfield
Length: 16km (9.9 miles) - with possible extension to 19km (11.8 miles)
Toughness: 3 out of 10

9.42 train from Waterloo (9.52 Clapham Junction) to Hook, arriving 11.01.

If you just miss this train, get the 9.50 Exeter train from Waterloo (9.59 Clapham Junction) and change at Woking (arrive 10.23, depart 10.32)

Buy a day return to Hook.

For walk directions click here. Click "Main" under the map before printing to eliminate unneeded directions.

This walk has not been done since August 2015. It feels lonely and unloved!

It features stretches both morning and afternoon along a canal, which has the benefit of making navigation easy (and being less muddy???). Other features of the walk include the crossing of Hook Common, the ruined Odiham Castle, a picturesque hunting lodge and the town of Odiham itself, with its Georgian-fronted High Street.

Those Georgians loved their lunch pubs, because Odiham seems to have several, along with restaurants and coffee shops: so hopefully we will not starve.

I am suggesting the 16km (9.9 mile) Shorter Walk today, omitting the Dogmersfield Loop.

If you do decide to do the Loop - the 19km (11.8 mile) version of the walk - you will find one section of the canal path closed for repairs. However, the Basingstoke Canal Authority says there is a signed diversion through the village of Dogmersfield, which will probably add a bit to the walk length, but hopefully not much.

Tea is at the Winchfield Inn.

Trains back from Winchfield are at 05 and 35 past. Due to engineering works you have to change at Woking, which extends the total journey time to Waterloo slightly to 1hr 22 minutes. If you linger in the pub, the 19.35 seems to be a direct train, however, taking just 1hr.


Anonymous said...

For walk directions click here. Click "Main" under the map before printing to eliminate unneeded directions.
Should this read 'Click "Shorter walk omitting Dogmersfield loop (16km)"?

Walker said...

I was leaving it up to walkers whether they want to do the Dogmersfield Loop or not. If you definitely don't want to do it, click on the shorter walk omit it, yes.

Chris L said...

You can click "Shorter walk ..." if you're quite sure you won't want to do the Dogmersfield loop. But if you want to keep your options open, click "Main" or better still download and print the PDF which will give you directions for all variants of the walk.

Walker said...

n=26 on this walk, including one late starter who missed a connection. Perhaps it was the w=glorious-sunshine-and-frozen-ground but this seemed to be a wonderful winter outing, with several visits to the scenic and rural Basingstoke Canal, each one different. At first it was half empty of water, then fuller, and then in the afternoon frozen for a long stretch. Only perhaps towards the end of the walk did it start to seem a bit samey.

Hook Common could have been a squelchfest if the ground had not been frozen solid: the Hampshire Wildlife Trust's attempts to restore this as wet heathland seem to be working.... In general this might or might not have been a muddy walk in normal conditions but we never got to find out as the ground remained hard as a brick. Odiham Castle ruins were interesting - who knew it had such a role in our history? The little diversion to a hunting lodge and round a (frozen) lake in the afternoon was also charming.

Odiham offered lots of choices for lunch, though the "friendly hostelry" of the Bell was not doing food. Eight of went to Next Door (that was its name), which was basically a pub trying to be a restaurant: orders at table, but the food came quickly enough. At least one went to the Creperie and I don't know where the others went.

At the end of the walk the silent barman of the Winchfield Inn stolidly served tea in pots, one at a time. We did not get to sample its garden... The 17.05 train was indicated on the platform as going to Waterloo, but on the train said it was going to Woking, so we got out expecting to have to change as predicted in the walk post. But the terminating Woking train was then attached to four more carriages (while we waited in the cold on the platform) and then went on to Waterloo. It would have been nice if the guard, when he checked our tickets, could have told us this. Aren't we always being told that onboard train staff are a vital part of customer service?

Walker said...

Photos of today's walk are on our Facebook page: