Hampshire Walk – July 2018

After seven years – how time flies – this was my last walk for Hampshire Life, I hope you have all enjoyed accompanying me on my walks exploring some of the most beautiful parts of Hampshire and I wish you all, lots of interesting walks in the coming months and years.

Heading through fields on the way to St Mary's Church
Heading through fields on the way to St Mary’s Church

For my final walk I’ve decided to explore the countryside around the ruins of the Roman town of Calleva Atrebatum. This was once an important town in Roman Britain, standing at the junction of several major routes leading to other Roman towns such as Winchester and London. However, Calleva is almost unique in that it was later abandoned. All that remains are the amphitheatre and the impressive defensive walls which reach a height of 4m in places and run for one and a half miles; information boards sited around the walls give more insight about the former town.

The remains of the Roman Amphitheatre
The remains of the Roman Amphitheatre

Before visiting the ruins we head north, passing close to the Red Lion pub before meandering through woods to the picturesque Kiln Pond.

Picturesque Kiln Pond
Picturesque Kiln Pond

We then pass near to Silchester before the route splits. The shorter walk follows the Roman walls, whilst the longer route meanders through open fields, before both routes arrive at the lovely 12th century Church of St Mary the Virgin.

Church of St Mary The Virgin in Silchester
Church of St Mary The Virgin in Silchester

Inside there is a 14th century carved effigy of Eleanor Baynard and a Rood Screen from the time of Henry VIII, the screen shows both roses and pomegranates the twin symbols of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon and is said to be one of the finest in Hampshire. More recent additions include the carved figure of Christ above the altar by the sculptor Peter Eugene Ball and the beautiful Carpe Diem window created by Jon Callan.

The ruined Roman Walls of Calleva Atrebatum
The ruined Roman Walls of Calleva Atrebatum

From the church we head past the amphitheatre and then follow a wonderful section of the Roman walls back to the car park; published in Hampshire Life, July 2018.