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Local Towns and Villages


By SPP Reporter


Broughton and Horsebridge

Broughton has a thriving community which makes the village a delight to visit. The local inns provide welcome refreshments to walkers on the Test Way and on the Clarendon Way, both of which pass the village. During the summer Broughton Garden Gallery displays works of art by nationally recognised and local sculptors.

Travelling further along the road takes you to Horsebridge. The inn here serves as a reminder of the important people in the history of the area. The ancient boundary of the Deer Park, which John of Gaunt created, is right behind the building. Nearby attractions include Houghton Lodge Gardens & Hydroponicum and Broughton Down Nature Reserve. The village is ideally located for walking and cycling with many quiet country lanes and plenty of bridleways and footpaths.

Mottisfont, Kimbridge and Awbridge

The small village of Mottisfont is centred around the National Trust owned Mottisfont Abbey. The Abbey houses the National Rose Collection which is a delight to visit in July and August. Visitors to the Abbey and passing walkers will appreciate the Village Tea Shop. Mottisfont’s quaint neighbouring villages of Kimbridge and Awbridge (pronounced “Aybridge”), add to the sense that you are truly “away from it all”. Nearby, the National Trust owned Spearywell Wood offers a relaxing location for a stroll, whilst the disused Sprat and Winkle railway line, which forms part of the Test Way, attracts walkers and cyclists. A short distance away, Dunbride plays host to an annual International Beer Festival, an opportunity to sample a variety of local and national ales.

Monxton, Amport and Thruxton

These pretty villages, just a short distance from Andover, typify Test Valley. Amport still celebrates Mayday with a traditional Maypole dance. The neighbouring village of Monxton is a long narrow village spread along both sides of the Pillhill Brook. The Hawk Conservancy, Test Valley’s award winning attraction, is just up the road from these villages. On the other side of the main road lies Thruxton Race Circuit, which hosts many national motor races every year. The village itself lies in a conservation area, with lovely cottages and inns in an idyllic country setting.

The Wallops

Strung along three miles of the Wallop Brook, on its way to join the Test at Bossington, these three villages also featured as a backdrop for the popular TV series Miss Marple. The villages boast a wealth of timber framed thatched buildings and attractive gardens. The surrounding area is ideal walking country. Nearby attractions include the Museum of Army Flying, Explorers World, Danebury Iron Age Hill Fort and Cholderton Rare Breeds Farm.

The Tytherleys and East Dean

West Tytherley has a wonderful mixture of timber framed buildings and brick and flint cottages from the Victorian era. The surrounding countryside offers the walker a variety of routes to explore. East Tytherley is one of the smallest villages in Hampshire but still offers the visitor a hearty meal at its local Inn. East Dean lies just within Test Valley boundaries, but the neighbouring village of West Dean has the Hampshire-Wiltshire border running through the middle of it.

Chilbolton and Wherwell

The Test Way winds through Chilbolton and across the common to the River Test and into Wherwell. Chilbolton is one of the largest and most picturesque villages in the Test Valley. Chilbtolton Common, crossed by the River Test, is an area with an international botanical reputation and an important bird nesting site for snipe and redshank. Wherwell, said to be the most attractive of the villages in the valley, is characterised by its many thatched and timbered cottages and recently featured on the BBC Holiday programme. Harewood Forest borders the north of the village and there are many footpaths through this ancient hunting ground. An information leaflet is available on the Forest covering features such as Deadman’s Plack, a monument to a royal murder in AD 963 and the waymarked routes through Harewood.

Vernham Dean, Tangley and Hatherden

The parish of Tangley, which includes the hamlets of Wildhern and Hatherden, is situated in the north west corner of Hampshire and most of it is an officially designed Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The old Roman Road from Winchester to Cirencester, the Icknield Way, runs right through the parish. Vernham Dean is a charming village nestled in a secluded valley below the Chute Causeway road, which offers fantastic views at all times of day, from morning mists to stunning sunsets.

Stockbridge

Lying at the heart of Test Valley, the wide, picturesque Stockbridge High Street reflects its early role as part of a drovers’ road. Traditional groceries, tea rooms, pubs & restaurants, picture and craft galleries and famous antique shops, make for an interesting visit. You may even be lucky enough to catch glimpses of trout in the River Test which flows under the high street!

Take a few moments to relax and enjoy your surroundings on the Poetry in Motion Trail, a short trail of ten poems for you to discover whilst wandering through the centre of Stockbridge.

The Test Way passing through the town makes it an ideal location for country walks and cycle rides. Nearby attractions include Danebury Hill Fort, Houghton Lodge Gardens & Hydroponicum and Longstock Water Gardens.

The Clatfords

The two Clatfords, Upper and Goodworth, are twin villages straddling the River Anton. They share the same name, meaning “ford where the burdock grows”, yet they are quite different in character.

Nearby attractions include Bury Hill, a 300 foot high hill fort offering good views across the valley. The villages provide a good starting point for walks into Harewood Forest. Goodworth Clatford also has its own interesting village trail for you to follow and discover more about its past.

Walking and Cycling

One of the best ways to explore The Test Valley is to leave the car behind and discover the numerous footpaths and bridleways in the area. Paths wind through beautiful woodland, alongside rivers and travel on to hilltops giving wonderful views of the North Downs and vast areas of Hampshire, Wiltshire and Berkshire.

The area also boasts some long distance routes for walkers. The Clarendon Way crosses the borough east to west from Salisbury to Winchester, a distance of 24 waymarked miles. The Test Way travels from Inkpen Beacon in the north to Totton in the south, covering 66 miles of waymarked paths. The Keble Way is an 18 mile walk between Romsey and the Itchen Valley.

The Test Valley Tour

The Test Valley Tour is a series of walks and on/off cycle routes which have been published on easy to follow weatherproof cards. Many of them pass through pretty villages and offer ideal rest stops at country inns. The routes, which are suitable for all abilities from families to serious off-road cyclists, can be bought individually or in packs from our Tourist Information Centres, selected local cycle shops, or direct from the council offices in Andover.

There are several cycling events held throughout the year aiming to attract leisure riders and enthusiasts to explore the country lanes and tracks in this area, from a 50km mountain bike challenge to an orienteering style event.

The Ordnance Survey Explorer map No 131 gives full coverage of most of Test Valley and is recommended as the best map for walkers. If you would like more information on the route cards or the events please contact the Marketing and Events Officer on (01264) 368833.



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