The Wayfarers Walk is a 70-mile, long-distance walking route that will take you through lovely Hampshire countryside. Walking the entire route would take you from the stunning heights on the chalk downs at Inkpen down to the breezy seaside at Emsworth Harbour. 

Breaking down Wayfarers Walk

The full Wayfarers Walk certainly makes for a challenging walk, especially if children are joining the party! Luckily the walk is divided into six, more manageable sections, each brimming with exciting adventures. We opted for the North of the county, as we are less familiar with the area, going from Inkpen Beacon to Kingsclere; 13 miles, perfect for a full day.

Wayfarers Walk is especially good for less-experienced navigators, offering a fair amount of long and linear tracks with abundant waymarkers along the route. With the ‘WW’ symbols peppered across the land, one can almost forget about route finding and instead relax and take in the stunning outlook that North Hampshire has to offer.

Inkpen Beacon and Walbury Hill

“Inkpen Beacon” actually is the site of the triangulation station atop Inkpen Hill. The summit is part of the North Hampshire Downs, has a chalk ridge within the North Wessex Downs area and towers over Berkshire. Interestingly, the triangulation pillar itself does not stand at the apex of the hill.

Find your way up the hill and savour the view over the lush valleys and green fields spreading as far as the eye can see. Interesting fact: at a great 297m, Walbury Hill is the highest chalk hill in England! 

Wayfarers Walk roughly follows an ancient road often travelled by shepherds taking their sheep to fairs and market; so, if going on a nice sunny day, look out for the sheep and their newborns. With its wide-open spaces, the area is the perfect backdrop for photographing lambs at play. After spotting some woolly lambs, maybe look up lambing experiences in your area, to find out more about local breeds, and amaze your friends on your next walk!

The walk passes through beautiful scenery with plenty of flora and fauna, and the white hill area is popular with butterflies. 

Highclere Castle and Watership Down

The initial stretch of the route at Inkpen had some of the most spectacular scenery in southern England. High up on the ridge, the trail exposes the breathtaking views down onto the neighbouring county of Berkshire.

On one section of Wayfarers Walk, you get your first peek at the impressive Highclere castle dominating the landscape and surrounding estate park. Built in 1679, the building is featured in the popular TV series and now movie series Downton Abbey. The estate boasts over 5-000 acres and you can visit the popular Hampshire attraction so both locals and even international tourists enjoy a day trip at the estate. They also put on regular events throughout the year. 

Going through Grotto Copse, you will come across Grotto Lodge at the southern edge of the Highclere estate. Built over 175 years ago, this unique circular design promises stunning views across both North Hampshire and West Berkshire. Children might not be allowed, but if you fancy spending a night like you’re part of the Downton Abbey universe, why not book a couple’s getaway in this idyllic spot?

We took some snacks and a flask for a mid-walk break so we enjoyed a coffee break with panoramic views like this shortly after passing the Highclere estate.

We ended our route at the Watership Down area which is synonymous with both the novel and movie about a small group of rabbits. Two film locations on just one small stretch of the Wayfarer’s Walk in Hampshire!

Where will the trail take you next?

We’re always on the hunt for new and interesting paths to trail. Luckily, there are tons of resources out there, and even more adventures to be discovered. We came across Wayfarers Walk and the various routes that can be taken on the Hampshire County Council website. The website is a treasure trove of walks all over the county; short or long, accessible or challenging, there’s something for absolutely everyone. 

The complete route is available here.

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