The Northbrook Arms Walk
As much as we’d love you to spend hours eating and drinking with us, its always good to stretch the legs every now and then. In collaboration with Fancy Free Walks, we have a fantastic walk that you can take through East Stratton and Brown Candover using us as your starting and end point.
This walk is 10.25 KM or 6.75 MILES and depending on your walking speed will take around 2.5hrs.
The route will take you through the beautiful village of East Stratton on a tour of fields and forests in a historic area close to Winchester. Along the way your route continually enters deep forest and emerges into the light to give you views across the country. Some little surprises await you unexpectedly to add to the day’s charm. An especially enchanting time to do this walk is in early autumn when the sunflowers are at their best.
You’re very welcome to use the Northbrook Arms car park which is situated to the back of the property (look out for the signs). We’re a rambling, cyclist and dog friendly pub so all guests are welcome. If you’d like to eat with us as well as have a refreshing drink – we advise that you book in advance to make sure we have a table ready for when you need it.
There are some sections of this walk with nettles and other undergrowth so long trousers are advised. Remarkably for such a typical rural area there a no stiles or livestock. Paths are generally clear and relatively dry, so boots are not necessary, except possibly in very wet or wintry conditions. Your dog will enjoy this walk, but a good lead is needed for the walk through Brown Candover.
Use post code SO21 3DU and we’re located quite clearly on Stratton Lane as you drive through the village.
East Stratton is a village within the Stratton Park Estate (see below map). It gets its name from being on the Roman road (or “Street) that runs between Silchester and Winchester. The five pairs of thatched cottages next to the Northbrook Arms were built in the early 1800’s. There are older cottages along the lane to Stratton Park. The church of All Saints is more recent having been built in 1880 to replace an old Saxon church at a different location.
1.Walk down the main road through East Stratton, with pub and the thatched houses and East Stratton House on your left, towards the church. Shortly after, the road bends left past the church. Apart from a visit to the Church of All Saints, your route is straight ahead on a minor road, signed to Woodmancott, keeping right to avoid a cul-de-sac which leads to Stratton Park.
Stratton Park was originally a large country house before being demolished and replaced in 1963 by John Baring, descendant of Sir Francis Baring who bought the estate in 1801 and built the house. Only the classical portico still stands, regarded as a listed historical treasure. The new building was seen as a “carbuncle” and earned John Baring the soubriquet “Basher Baring”. The Manor goes much further back, at least to the year 900, when it was part of the great medieval Benedictine monastery, Hyde Abbey, later dissolved under Henry VIII. The new owner was Sir Thomas Wriothesley (pronounced “Risley”). His daughter married Lord Russell who demolished half of the village to accommodate his deer park.
Follow the lane uphill. On the left you can see the classical-style portico of Stratton Park. After some woodland on your left and a left bend, the lane descends. At the bottom, turn right on a wide drive, a restricted byway.
2. The path runs to the right of Whiteway Farm. The “byway” is now an ash-shaded narrow path. Thorn bushes encirlce the path, followed by a hazel coppice. 700m after the farm, the shady path enters a long woodland clearing in Norn’s Copse, part of Thorny Down, and finally enters a wide corridor through the wood itself. And open area is followed by an oakwood. You come out finally to a tarmac lane. Turn right on the lane. In 300m, at a road junction, keep straight on, on a rather rough tarmac drive. In 250m you come to a junction by a large house, with the modest but fitting name Lone Barn. Turn right through the entrance, passing the house on your right.
3. The green grass here is a joy. Continue through a large wooden gate on a fine hazel-shaded woodland path. Note that you are on part of the Wayfarer’s Walk, a 71-mile (114 KM) long-distance path through Hampshire from Emsworth on the coast to Inkpen Beacon. Ash trees dominate before you cross straight over two driveways between Church Lane Farm and two houses. A long gradually descending nettly path leads to St.Peter’s Church in Brown Candover. Your path bends right and left, discharging onto the cricket pitch from where you have access to the church.
St Peter’s Church was built in 1845 to a design by James Wyatt, from funds provided by the same Barings who owned Stratton Park. It replaced a Saxon church which had stood on the other side of the village. Its sheer size* shows the importance of the village in history, serving as it did about 200 farm labourers from the wide district. (* Though not as large as the huge church in the tiny neighbouring village of Northington.) Together with Preston Candover (“of the priests”) and Chilton Candover (“of the young retainer”), Brown Candover (“of the Brune Family”) forms an ancient group named from the Candover brook and the valley in which the River Itchen runs and meets several of its tributaries. The name “Candover” comes from the pre-Saxon British words “caniodubri’, meaning “beautiful waters”.
4. Keep right on the gravel path, out to the road, and turn right on it, passing a milestone for the Wayfarer’s Walk. Opposite, just to your left is the historic timbered Moth Farm and Granary. Candover Park, on your left, is a large agricultural and sporting estate. The people of Candover seem to drive everywhere and there is no footway, but a grass bank on the left is a useful refuge. Ignore a signed byway on the left. Finally, where the road bends left at the end of the village, keep straight on, on a yew-shaded lane, Bryces Lane, marked as a cul-de-sac. You pass several isolated houses until, after 350m, at the last house, the tarmac ends. Turn right here, thus leaving the Wayfarer’s Walk.
5. The surface turns to grass and your path runs gently uphill between hedges. In 300m, continue ahead on a shingle drive coming from a small quarry. Your path runs under trees and, nearly 1⁄2 km from the quarry, suddenly emerges to give you fine views across the fields. Ignore a private path into a field on the right shortly and, where the drive bends left, leave the drive by keeping straight on, as directed by a 2-way fingerpost, onto a track in a wood of tall ash and beech trees. Keep a wired pheasant enclosure just to your left and stay on the main path where it veers a fraction right away from the fence. After 300m in the wood, you come out into a large wild flowery meadow. Turn left along the edge and, in the corner, turn right at a fingerpost, staying on the edge of the meadow. In 180m, about half way along the edge, fork left at a 2-way fingerpost into the woods.
6. You are on a lovely clear path through mixed woodland. In 300m or so you come out into another green meadow. Keep to the left-hand edge and, as you emerge into a larger crop field, keep straight ahead along the right- hand edge. Follow the gravel path, soon changing to grass, for 1⁄2 km into the corner where you meet a junction of fields. Keep straight ahead here along the right-hand side of the next crop field. In late summer, the far corner contains another crop of smiley sunflowers. Your path veers into the adjoining field, this time along the left-hand edge. It now elbows left and right and runs along the right-hand side of another colourful field, with a hardcore surface. In the corner, keep straight ahead along a woodland path. After a brief section under tall trees, your path leads out to the road in East Stratton, near the Northbrook Arms, where the walk began.