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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.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Saturday walk - Overton Circular - Sense, Sensibility, and maybe some snowdrops

Length: 18.7km (11.6 miles), or 13.8km (8.6 miles) without pub lunch.
Toughness: 4 out of 10

9.50 train from Waterloo (9.57 Clapham Junction) arriving at Overton at 10.46. T=3.97

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here. For the walk's home page click here.

Years ago I did this walk at just this time of year and there was a wonderful display of snowdrops at Deane House, a couple of miles into the walk. I have no idea if they are still there but thought it would be nice to take a look.

The first half of the walk also takes in the pretty source of the River Test (and its stunningly clear headwaters) and several places from the childhood of Jane Austen (see notes in the walk directions), including the isolated church where her father was the vicar. This is in fact the area she grew up in and whose social set-up shaped all her novels.

Otherwise this is typical upland Hampshire - rolling hills, some big arable fields, distant views of nothing in particular. Lunch is at a pleasant rural pub on the far side of the village of North Waltham, though if you are not having a pub lunch you can cut out this section of the walk altogether and eat your sandwiches in Steventon churchyard - this is the 8.6 mile version of the walk.

Tea in Overton used to be a hassle, with the Overton Gallery having only a few tables and closing at 5pm. But the revamp of the White Hart Hotel, Overton's largest pub, has solved that problem. It is now modern, cosy and - in an update to what it says in the walk directions - seems to serve food all afternoon on a Saturday now, so you can have that nice gooey pudding that you know you deserve.

Leave 30 minutes to walk (up a road, so doable in the dark) from the centre of Overton to the station. It is a 20 minute walk, but you don't want to miscalculate, as trains are only hourly - at 20 past the hour. There is absolutely nothing to do in the environs of the station if you miss the train, apart from contemplating the De La Rue banknote factory next door.

1 comment:

Walker said...

N=26 on this walk, which was a bit of a surprise. But they all made a good choice as the ground was dry (chalk soils, perhaps?) despite Friday’s rain, and the weather was pleasant - w=sun-thru-cloud-in-the-morning-with-grey-skies-later.

There were also plenty of snowdrops - in Ashe churchyard, by Deane House, in Steventon churchyard, in North Waltham. Also aconites at Deane House and a bevvy of chiruping greenfinches (first I have heard this year) in North Waltham. One hesitates so early to say “spring-like”, but not wintry anyway.

I had booked for six at the Fox in North Waltham: they also accommodated five more, but the dining room was full otherwise. We clearly hit a slightly busy spot in the kitchen, but the staff were nice enough not to say so. The food came a tad slowly, but only a tad, and was worth the wait. The sandwichers eschewed the Steventon church short cut and joined us for a drink, though they left before we were finished and so are lost to history.

(The Deangate Inn earlier in the walk, incidentally, which I had assumed was closed for good, is showing signs of refurbishment: future walk posters might like to check if it has reopened.)

Tea in Overton proved a bit stressful because the Overton Gallery had shut its tea room by 4.30 and the White Hart had laid most of its tables for dinner and were reluctant to release them to us. Quite a lot of us had tea and some cake, however. After general agreement that it was too late to rush for the 5.20 train, most then did just that.

Six of us decided to widen our acquaintance of Overton pubs and went to the Red Lion, which is not bad, if a bit “local”. We then got the 6.20, armed with “supplies’, which we drank in honour of absent stargazers.