The North Hampshire Downs, to the west of Basingstoke, forms the southern edge of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) which encompasses a large tract of unspoilt rolling chalk downland, an open landscape that offers some great walks as you’ll discover on this walk.
The route heads down a peaceful wooded track with lovely views towards Watership Down – anyone who has read Richard Adam’s book Watership Down about a group of rabbits will recognise some of the place names around here. Soon the path levels out and passes through Sydmonton; on the way take a look to the right to catch sight of Sydmonton Court – country home of Lord Lloyd Webber of Sydmonton (aka Andrew Lloyd Webber). Soon the walk heads west and then north to reach Ladle Hill. After admiring the views the walk heads along the crest of the downs back to the start. Although there is no pub on the walk, The Royal Oak at Ecchinswell, is just a short drive away; published in the January 2016 issue of Hampshire Life.