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Hampshire Walk
Old Winchester Hill from Exton

County/Area - Hampshire

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 5.5 miles / 8.9 km    Ascent - 450 feet / 136 metres

Time - 3 hours 10 minutes    Grade - easy/mod

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Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Old Winchester Hill from Exton
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The attractive Meon Valley is one of the scenic highlights of this part of Hampshire. The village of Exton lies 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.

After parking, take care and cross over the A32 to follow the South Downs Way towards Old Winchester Hill. The first section of path does not encourage you to step out as after crossing a small footbridge there are some tree roots and other minor obstructions to negotiate. Despite this relatively slow progress you soon reach the old railway. Turn left along the old trackbed. This railway was called the Watercress Line and a section to the north of here is now preserved with steam trains in operation.

You can now step it out! 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. Reaching a deep cutting with a road over bridge (grid ref. SU633228), go under the bridge and take the path that climbs up to the road on your left. Reaching the road turn left over the bridge and walk for about 300 yards. Look out for the Monarch's Way footpath sign on your right.

Turn right onto this track, which leads you towards Peake's Farm. Nearing the farm the footpath is diverted away from the main buildings. Just follow the signed route which lead you back onto a track which ends after passing a small wood (grid ref. SU633212) Continue straight ahead here beginning to climb towards the summit of Old Winchester Hill. Bear left when you join the South Downs Way. The way ahead steepens but quite soon you are on the summit of the hill and able to enjoy wide ranging views of the Meon Valley.

To continue, descend the way you came. However do not retrace your steps towards Peake Farm, instead walking straight ahead to descend to the old railway. Cross the railway and all that remains is the short awkward section of path back to the main road and the start.

Other walks nearby

Walk 2662 Beacon Hill and Warnford from Extoneasy/mod6.0 miles
Walk 1034 Beacon and Old Winchester Hills on the South Downsmoderate10.5 miles
Walk 2533 East Meon to Old Winchester Hillmoderate12.0 miles
Walk 3324 Cheriton Mill & Tichborne from Cheriton easy5.7 miles
Walk 3260 Butser Hill Circulareasy/mod6.9 miles

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