Best Autumn walks in Hampshire
September 27, 2023
Unlike the eastern South Downs, the Hampshire Downs are characterised by their wooded features, with pockets of trees and woodland hugging the Downs, making them ideal for Autumn wanderings.
Here’s some of our favourite places to take in the sights, sounds and smells of Autumn in Hampshire.
The Meon Valley Trail – 11 miles
Discover a trail that leads you through English history.
Once a railway line running from Fareham to Alton transporting local livestock and agricultural produce, the trail now spans 11 miles through picturesque countryside, from West Meon in the north to Wickham in the south.
The trail is suitable for Suitable for cyclists, walkers and horse riders (carriages
are only permitted north of West Walk).
There are no stiles along the way and as the gradient is mostly flat with a wide path, it is suitable for pushchairs and mobility scooters.
Forest of Bere – West Walk mini-loop
Discover the beauty and tranquillity of the South Downs National Park within easy reach of the charming market town of Wickham.
Covering 350 hectares, West Walk is the largest remaining fragment of the former medieval hunting ground, the Forest of Bere.
This route has been designed as a Miles Without Stiles route suitable for people with restricted mobility, including wheelchair users and families with pushchairs.
Throughout West Walk, small areas of nineteenth century oak remain from a time when oak trees were planted to supply the navy with timber for ship building.
Today, these trees have rare lichens growing on them, and are home to bats and nesting woodland birds.
Rowlands Castle and St. Hubert’s – 7 miles
Starting from Rowlands Castle train station in Hampshire, this walk passes through wooded tracks to St. Hubert’s Church, a hidden gem of the National Park.
Set in stunning Bronze Age landscape in the South Downs National Park, the earliest recorded reference is from 1053 but its foundations show evidence of an earlier history, with the north and west walls likely to date from the 900s and re-use of Roman material in the arches.
Inside you will discover nationally acclaimed 14th century Wall Paintings and a Millennium Wall Painting by Fleur Kelly.
The church is open throughout the year, visit idsworthchurchfriends.org for more information about this special place and details of The Idsworth Church Friends Trust.
The steep wooded hills in this far-western corner of the South Downs are known as ‘hangers’ because the ancient beech, lime, yew and ash woodlands seem to hang from the tall slopes creating a wonderful canopy for walkers.
The 21-mile Hangers Way runs the length of the area going south from Alton, and takes you through hanger woodlands and some of the key sights, including Selborne Common and the picturesque village of Selborne.
When reaching Steep and the Shoulder of Mutton, look out for the Edward Thomas Memorial Stone, also known as the Poets’ Stone. An acclaimed war poet of the First World War, Thomas’ 1909 poem ‘The South Country’ paints a picture of the Hampshire landscape.