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Clanfield Walks 4: Butser Hill & Queen Elizabeth Country Park


  • Author: Amble Wobbler
  • Published: 13th May 2020
  • Categories: Blog, Business, Clanfield

Clanfield Walks 4: Butser Hill & Queen Elizabeth Country Park

Clanfield is located so close to Butser Hill and QECP that even the most reluctant walker will be tempted to pull on their boots to enjoy the spectacular countryside on our doorstep.

Butser and Back

Firstly, a simple, ‘up and back’ trail to Butser Hill: you start from St James Place estate, walk up alongside London Road, past the Hampshire Hog and then down the slip road towards the A3; but just as you reach the A3, stop at the track beside the last house. At the mouth of this access track to the houses, you take the bridleway leading uphill. This is a bit of a climb but follow this route all the way and you’ll end up at the top of Butser Hill. You can then choose between several tracks to take you around this famous viewpoint to take advantage of the superb views in all directions, before retracing your route home.

A different option is to visit Oxenbourne Down; this is a shorter route that lets you explore the quietest corner of the Country Park, without taking you up to the top of the Hill. As above, you come down the slip road towards the A3, but at the last house, you turn down the access track that takes you into the valley of Oxenbourne Down. This quiet Nature Reserve does not open onto any other area of the Country Park . So, if you want to explore this little valley, you are welcome to do so but must return the way you entered.

Circular Walk: Windmill Hill to QECP

A circular walk from Clanfield to QECP necessitates walking a variety of hills and valleys, but this route offers delightful views en route. The full walk is nearly 6 miles long, but a short cut is available if you wish to use it.

From Clanfield shops , climb Drift Road to Snell’s Corner: opposite Hilltop Garage there’s a gap in the A3 dual carriage-way to cross to begin the walk. (Note - if traffic is heavy, consider driving to start point; see map). Along the opposite lanea public footpath leads up Windmill Hill: climb the hill to reach the windmill, making sure you turn around to see the fabulous views to the coast, before proceeding through the gate.

The views on the other side of the windmill, towards the north, are almost as fine. Then about 100m on, you turn right into a narrow footpath that leads out onto a steep down (where you can see Butser Ancient Farm far below): the path drops you onto the lane that leads to Chalton - if you want a short cut, turn left at this lane and take the footpath that is on your right a short walk away, see map.

On the main route, when you reach Chalton, turn left at the first junction, then immediately left again at North Lane cottage (look for the fingerpost). Follow this footpath all the way as it gently rises across fields to the distant trees of the Queen Elizabeth Country Park forest.

When you get to the gate of the forest turn left on the perimeter path. Unless you know the forest paths well, don’t leave this path. Otherwise you risk getting lost on the many management tracks through the trees. As this route winds its way along the edge of the forest, it offers lovely glimpses back to Windmill Hill, which seems to shift its location every time you stop and look. Eventually, at an obvious corner of the forest path, you’ll notice a small footpath joining you on your left. You turn off here, where to your right, a stile indicates your route ahead. [Note, this is also where the shortcut re-joins the route, see map].

Over this stile, the path ahead goes up and down like a switchback as it crosses the field to take you back to the A3 bridge at Clanfield. From here you walk down the road and cycle-path to where you can cross over and access the paths in the St James Place estate.



 




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