logo Walking Britain

North Wessex Downs Walk
Watership Down and Ladle Hill from the Sydmonton Estate

Region - North Wessex Downs

County/Area - Hampshire

Author - Peter Lane

Length - 4.5 miles / 7.3 km    Ascent - 500 feet / 152 metres

Time - 2 hours 50 minutes    Grade - easy

Maps Ordnance Survey Logo Anquet Maps Logo

Ordnance Survey Explorer 144Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer 144Digital Map1:25kBUY
Ordnance Survey Landranger 174Sheet Map1:50kBUY
Anquet OS Landranger 174Digital Map1:50kBUY

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Watership Down and Ladle Hill from the Sydmonton Estate
Click image to visit gallery of 12 images.

A delightful short walk that features a fantastic section of the North Downs on the renowned Watership Down made famous by the eponymous novel about rabbits! The walk also features the incomplete iron age fort on Ladle hill and the genteel Sydmonton Estate. Views from the ridge (now forming part of the Wayfarer's Walk) are superb.

The walk commences near Wergs Farm, grid reference SU477582. Park on the side of the road, just before the farm if heading North towards Burghclere. Head North towards the farm and then after the farm buildings turn right along a broad track with superb views to the North up to Watership Farm. Take the first turn right down another broad track that passes paddocks, tree lined avenues and the impressive stately pile itself. Upon reaching the road through Sydmonton, turn left and after a few metres take a hedge-lined track that heads straight for the imposing Downs ahead. Ladle Hill is to the right, its fort hidden from view from below.

The track veers off left as it rises. Follow it as it turns into a tree lined lane with spectacular views into the valley below and Watership Down to the left. Upon reaching the crest, turn right onto the Wayfarer's Walk and follow it as it twists right then left towards the edge of a wood. At the end of the wood through a swing gate turn square left and follow the track as it turns square right passing a tumulus (ancient burial mound). The path climbs to the fenced off summit of Ladle Hill, an incomplete Iron Age Hill Fort. Explore this at your leisure and then return to the path.

At the end of the fort, the path turns left and descends slightly. The return route is marked with a waymarked post and a cairn. This bridlepath turns right at an acute angle, heading for the woods below. Enter the woods and follow the enclosed path all the way back to the start point. Note the view of Beacon Hill, highest point in Hampshire, by the A34 to the left.

Other walks nearby

Walk 3594 Beacon Hill near Burghclereeasy1.5 miles
Walk 3595 Old Burghclere & Burghclere from Beacon Hilleasy/mod5.6 miles
Walk 3413 North Wessex Downs & Source of the Testmoderate15.0 miles
Walk 1508 Hannington from Kingsclereeasy6.0 miles
Walk 2114 Hampshire and Berkshire Heightsmoderate15.0 miles

Recommended Books & eBooks

Walking Hampshire's Test Way

Walking Hampshire's Test WayGuidebook to walking the 71km (44 mile) Test Way in Hampshire from high on the chalk downs of Inkpen Beacon to the Eling Tide Mill near Southampton Water. Following the beautiful, crystal clear River Test, it passes picturesque villages and fascinating historic sites. Also includes 15 day walks to explore this lovely part of pastoral England.
More information

Walking in the North Wessex Downs

Walking in the North Wessex Downs30 walking routes exploring the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The routes are between 7km to 20km through this peaceful rolling chalk landscape covering parts of four counties: Berkshire, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire, with descriptions to reach the highest points in each one.
More information

Map and Compass

Map and CompassAn instructive guidebook explaining map and compass techniques, to help readers enhance their outdoor experiences. Whether you are experienced in map-reading, or have never used a compass before, this guidebook will sharpen your skills and have you exploring new areas in no time. There are also tips for GPS and digital mapping technologies.
More information

Further Information

Walk Location Map

Walk location map

North Wessex Downs Walking

This AONB includes significant areas of chalk downland with their unique habitat. Man's past has left many reminders in this area too including the iconic white horses, the stone circle at Avebury and Silbury Castle. More Information

Walk grading - Learn how each walk is assessed and select a walk to suit your ability and experience by going to Walk Grading Details.

Accommodation Nearby

Self Catering & Cottage Holidays - Properties throughout the UK & Europe

Follow Walking Britain for the latest news. Facebook Twitter

Mountain Weather

Stay safe on the mountains with detailed weather forecasts - for iOS devices or for Android devices.