2.7 of 5 (49 votes)

Circular walk from West Meon

A leisurely walk (countryside) in national park South Downs in Hampshire, England, about 9.50km (5.90 mi) long with an estimated walking time of about 3:00h. It is suitable for families with children, but unsuitable for prams & pushchairs, wheelchairs.
Elevation Profile
Gain 139m (456ft)
Loss 128m (419ft)
Max. Elevation 200m (656ft)
Elevation (total) 267m (875ft)
Start & End
West Meon
Distance 9.50km
(5.9mi)
Duration ~3:00
Difficulty  
Leisurely
Ordnance Survey Map
3Created by John Walker on 08 Aug 2014
We stayed in the village of West Meon, chosen because it had a shop, a pub, a cafe and, most important, a bus service between Petersfield and Winchester, giving a good base for travel to and from sections of the South Downs Way between Harting and Winchester. There was no bus service on a Sunday (in 2014) so this walk is a short circular route taking in a few miles of the South Downs Way. Petersfield and Winchester both have good train connections from Clapham Junction.

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Walk Map

Waypoints

OS Grid SU639238
From the centre of West Meon go south along the A32 then turn left along station road which winds between pretty cottages and large brick and flint houses to pass the entrance on the right to the Meon Valley Trail.
OS Grid SU642237
Continue over the old railway bridge on this quiet road uphill, climbing steadily between arable fields (colourful with yellow rape and dark green grain shoots in early spring). Old Winchester Hill ahead and Beacon Hill to the right are prominent.
About 0.30 km (~0.19 miles) from
OS Grid SU645216
At the top of the hill you join the South Downs Way, going ahead on a track parallel to the road. It turns to cross the road at the entrance to Old Winchester Hill, a nature reserve centred on an Iron Age hillfort which also has traces of Bronze Age settlement including a group of barrows. The land here is not cultivated in the main and sheep graze amongst the scrub. Here in the sunshine there were masses of yellow brimstone butterflies and a single orange-tip on the path.
About 2.09 km (~1.3 miles) from
OS Grid SU646208
The SDW follows a contour around the perimeter of the hillfort, passing a new vineyard on the south facing hillside. Here the path turns left, away from the stunning view down to the Meon valley.
About 0.81 km (~0.5 miles) from
OS Grid SU642203
At the foot of the hill the path goes right, revealing the village of Exton ahead. A zigzag route takes you along a potentially muddy section to arrive at a small stream which you cross on a footbridge to reach a disused railway line (that ran from Alton to Fareham before closure in 1968).
About 0.68 km (~0.42 miles) from
OS Grid SU624210
Turn right onto the disused railway track. This now forms the Meon Valley Trail, a walk that returns to West Meon along this wide and level track, alternating between a high embankment then in a deep cutting.
About 1.94 km (~1.21 miles) from
OS Grid SU630223
Off to the left is a large lake and the Meon river, a famous Hampshire chalk stream, meandering past a small church.
About 1.42 km (~0.88 miles) from
OS Grid SU641236
After about 2km the path broadens out at what must have been the West Meon station where only the short platforms remain visible. The Meon Valley Trail ends here because the viaduct ahead has been dismantled.
About 1.63 km (~1.01 miles) from
OS Grid SU642238
Go left to rejoin Station Road then turn left again to come to the junction of the A32 where this walk began.
About 0.22 km (~0.14 miles) from

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