logo Walking Britain

Hampshire Walk
Beacon Hill and Warnford from Exton

County/Area - Hampshire

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 6.0 miles / 9.8 km    Ascent - 600 feet / 182 metres

Time - 3 hours 40 minutes    Grade - easy/mod

Start - OS grid reference SU617212
Lat 50.986905 // Long -1.122342
Postcode SO32 3NR (approx. location only)
what3words start sock.winter.socialite

Maps Ordnance Survey Logo Anquet Maps Logo

Ordnance Survey Explorer OL3Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer OL3Digital Map1:25kBUY
Ordnance Survey Explorer OL32Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer OL32Digital Map1:25kBUY
Ordnance Survey Landranger 185Sheet Map1:50kBUY
Anquet OS Landranger 185Digital Map1:50kBUY

It is recommended you take a map. The preferred scale is 1:25k.

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Beacon Hill and Warnford from Exton Photo from the walk - Beacon Hill and Warnford from Exton Photo from the walk - Beacon Hill and Warnford from Exton Photo from the walk - Beacon Hill and Warnford from Exton Photo from the walk - Beacon Hill and Warnford from Exton Photo from the walk - Beacon Hill and Warnford from Exton
Click thumbnails for larger images.

The village of Exton lies in the attractive Meon Valley just off the A32 main road. The start is a small parking area (grid ref. SU617212) which is reached by turning off the A32 and taking the northernmost of the two lanes off the main road into the village. Immediately after turning off the A32 the small parking area is evident on your left. Note that in fine weather and busy periods that this may get full quite quickly.

Beacon Hill and Warnford from Exton Beacon Hill and Warnford from Exton Beacon Hill and Warnford from Exton Beacon Hill and Warnford from Exton Beacon Hill and Warnford from Exton Beacon Hill and Warnford from Exton 
Click thumbnails for larger images.

After parking, walk into the village with the River Meon on your left. The lane bears sharp right. If you want to have some food or refreshments there is a pub down the lane to your left, but for the walk you need to continue along the lane passing the parish church which will be on your right. The road gradually bends left. After approximately 200 metres look out for a South Downs Way sign on the right (grid ref. SU611210). Follow this sign and enter open farmland. Ahead lies the first objective, namely Beacon Hill.

The onward route is clear. You cross an access track and begin to climb more steeply with an improving view behind you. Reaching a lane, turn right. It is worth looking left as you have an excellent panorama that includes the Solent and the Isle of Wight beyond. After a short way along the lane a signed path on the right (grid ref. SU601223) should be followed to the trig point on Beacon Hill. The view is particularly fine over the Meon Valley.

From the trig point take the clear track that heads north-west to a car park and road junction (gird ref. SU598227). Turn right here and walk through pleasant woodland. You are now on the Monarch's Way. Follow the well signed path as you descend gradually towards Warnford. In places the landowner has perhaps provided rather too much signage but this is better than none! Reaching a road, turn right into Warnford. As you reach the main road note the watercress ponds on your left.

At the A32 turn left, walk past the pub to reach a road junction (grid ref. SU624231). Turn right up this lane climbing a little in the process. After just over half a mile you reach a bridge over the old railway (grid ref. SU633228). Take the path on the left hand side of the road and descend to the old trackbed. Turn back on yourself and walk under the road. You now have a straightforward walk on a well graded path. This railway was called the Watercress Line and a section to the north of here is now preserved with steam trains in operation.

Crossing the lane to Peake farm (grid ref. SU628218) is about the half way point to where we will leave the old railway. This is good walking and you can keep a good pace along this section. At grid ref. SU624211 you leave the old railway and follow the signed South Downs Way back to the start. This last section does not encourage you to step out as there are some tree roots and other minor obstructions to negotiate. Reaching the main road, take care and cross to the parking area opposite.

Other walks nearby

Walk 2710 Old Winchester Hill from Exton - easy/mod - 5.5 miles/8.9 km

Walk 1034 Beacon and Old Winchester Hills on the South Downs - moderate - 10.5 miles/17.1 km

Walk 2533 East Meon to Old Winchester Hill - moderate - 12.0 miles/19.5 km

Walk 3324 Cheriton Mill & Tichborne from Cheriton - easy - 5.7 miles/9.3 km

Walk 3260 Butser Hill Circular - easy/mod - 6.9 miles/11.2 km

Walk 2422 Butser Hill and Wether Down from Buriton - moderate - 12.5 miles/20.3 km

Walk 2043 Thorney Island from Emsworth - easy/mod - 9.0 miles/14.6 km

Walk 1835 Treyford & Didling from Hooksway - easy/mod - 6.0 miles/9.8 km

Walk 1128 Bradley from Home Farm, Burkham - easy - 5.5 miles/8.9 km

Walk 3693 Alton to Farnham using St Swithun's Way - moderate - 12.0 miles/19.5 km

Recommended Books & eBooks

The South Downs Way Map Booklet

The South Downs Way Map BookletMap of the 100 mile (160km) South Downs Way National Trail, between Eastbourne and Winchester. This booklet is included with the Cicerone guidebook to the trail and shows the full route on OS 1:25,000 maps. The trail typically takes a week to walk and is suitable for most levels of ability.
More information

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

The National Trails

The National TrailsThis inspirational guidebook looks at each of the UK's 19 National Trails, with information that allows ease of comparison and contrast, inspiring you to find out more and to take up a long-distance challenge. Some Trails are short and easy, others much longer, many have strong themes - they may follow a coastline, or traverse ranges of hills.
More information

Social Media

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.

Digital Mapping Guide

Digital Mapping Guide - a simple guide of how to start using digital mapping. Includes advice and useful links.