This month’s walk is based round the village of Preston Candover, tucked amongst the gently rolling landscape that lies between Basingstoke, Alton and Alresford.
The name is derived from ‘Prestecandevere’ meaning ‘Candover of the priests’; the Candover part probably stems from ‘caniodubri’ which means ‘clear waters’, referring to the stream that rises from several springs just to the south of the village.
The Manor of Preston Candover was first mentioned during the reign of Edward III when it was held by the Hoyville family, although before this date the manor may have been called Candover Scotland. In 1368, the manor passed to William de Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, before passing through a succession of families until it was sold to George Long, a Parliamentarian during the Civil War, however, during the conflict the manor house was destroyed.
From the car park we follow the main street southwards to reach the village green with its war memorial, old water pump and pub, the Purefoy Arms; ahead of us is the late 19th-century Church of St Mary the Virgin. The village did have a much older church, built in the 12th century situated further to the south. Sadly, following a fire, only part of this church, which is cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust, remains.
We then head through fields to Bradley Corner and shortly join the Three Castles Path as far as the village of Bradley. This 60-mile long distance route runs from Windsor Castle to Winchester via Odiham Castle and is based on the journeys of King John during the 13th-century.
The little village of Bradley, first mentioned in a charter made by Edward the Elder in 909, has a number of picturesque thatched cottages near to the village pond, whilst a short way to the east near Upper Farm, is All Saints Church. Parts of the church date from 13th century although it was mostly rebuilt in 1870s.
After leaving Bradley we join the Oxdrove Way – a 25-mile off-road figure-of-eight route – for a short while before following Oak Hill Lane back towards the village; on the way there is a view of Preston House to the west. The house, built by William Guidott, in the 18th-century, is now the home of Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover – member of the Sainsbury’s supermarket family – and his wife, Anya Linden; published in Hampshire Life, April 2018.