Our journey in this article describes a demanding but rewarding 20km circular walk from Stockbridge to Danebury Hill Fort and Longstock.

The walk, if done in a relaxed way, taking in the sights and stops en route, takes about five hours. Along the route, there are diverse landscapes with interesting historical, natural, and cultural locations.  You walk along narrow footpaths, bridleways, tracks, and quiet country lanes. The first part of the route, parking in the designated parking area on Roman Road in Stockbridge takes you uphill with open fields alongside until you cross the main A30 and over a stile. Here the views open out over the farmlands and long straight stetches towards Danebury Hill Fort.

From Old Stockbridge Road to Danebury Hill

When you reach the Old Stockbridge Road you can choose to take a small diversion along the road to the Fort. On the day we visited, we were lucky to see highland cattle and ponies grazing, helping to support habitat conservation. The site is owned and managed by Hampshire County Council and provides a fascinating day trip in its own right. The hill rises visibly from the surrounding low-lying areas, making it obvious why it was chosen as a hill fort site. From the road, you walk up to the hill, past a car park at the entrance and one nearer the top next to the toilets both with information boards.

The views across the plains are particularly good from this aspect of the hill. Danebury is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and has been subject to significant archaeological activity, with evidence from this indicating the fort was built some 2500 years ago and occupied for 500 years. The Museum of the Iron Age in Andover houses some of the finds

The fort contains circular earthworks and rampart rings so it’s worth immersing yourself in the full circular walk of the Fort to gain a full sense of the size and structure. Children will enjoy running up and down and through the earthworks. Many beech trees provide seasonal changes of perspective, and makes it a great area for a picnic and games.

Via Longstock and Leckford

Continuing our walk we headed cross country along a bridleway through open country with no traffic noise and few houses or people. With a steep hill ridge on the right, we noticed to the left the vineyards of Black Chalk Wine. Looking across the fields the treehouse accommodation can be spotted, great places to stay for wine lovers.

Crossing the Longstock Road we continued on our way with our sights set on a lunch break at the café and farm shop of the Leckford Estate. Before reaching this, we passed the entrance to Longstock Water Gardens, lovely, quiet gardens which are open part-time and again part of the Estate, all owned by John Lewis plc. 

The farm shop is up a long drive and has a great plant nursery set in walled gardens. The shop sells a range of Waitrose foods, produce from the Estate and Hampshire Fare. We enjoyed a simple but tasty lunch at the outside picnic tables as we had a dog with us. The café has a great breakfast menu for early risers.

Stockbridge’s Thatched Houses and River Test

Standing on the bridge over the clear waters of the River Test, we arrive in the picturesque former market town of Stockbridge. The town has blossomed in recent years with a wide range of independent eateries and shops selling clothing for country gents and women, gifts, wine, a delicatessen, butchers, rugs and books, plus regular antique fairs at the Town Hall. The site of the ducks and trout in the waterway in the middle of town attracts adults and children alike.

Similar Posts