Head to Little London near the northern edge of Hampshire for a walk through the ancient woodland of Pamber Forest.
The walk this month is based at the village of Little London to the north of Basingstoke, which, until the mid 19th century was a local centre for the production of bricks and tiles. Clay deposits in the surrounding area have been exploited since Roman times and tiles produced here where used in the nearby Roman town of Calleva Atrebatum (near Silchester).
After passing the village pub – The Plough – the walk heads for Pamber Forest. Managed by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, the forest is a remnant of a much larger ancient royal hunting forest. The wildlife trust have a number of marked trails through the forest to allow visitors to explore more of the ancient woodland.
A quick look at the map shows that the Portway, a former Roman Road, ran through the forest on its way from Calleva Atrebatum to Sorviodunum (Old Sarum). Later on in the walk, just before Latchmore Green, we cross over the route of the Roman Road that ran between Calleva Atrebatum and Venta belgarum (Winchester).
After passing Latchmore Green the walk meanders through fields before a short out and back loop allows a visit of St James’ Church, which dates back to Norman times. If it’s open, take a look at the impressive medieval wall paintings, including the murder of St Thomas a Beckett. The final leg of the walk heads west past Bramley Corner back to Little London.
Anyone wanting a shorter walk can follow the shortcut just before Latchmore Green, missing out the section past Bramley Corner; published in Hampshire Life, October 2017.