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September 2017

Old Alresford to Odiham

 

The track starts at SU 595342 just to the east of Old Alresford and goes north-east.  The map calls it “Oxdrove Way” but surely it was used more for sheep?  There is water at Nettlebeds Farm – disappointingly called Littlebeds on the old maps – and a marshy field further on at 606356, both providing a drink for thirsty cattle.  But Odiham, where the line of the path tends, was famous for its sheep market1 .  (See #1, a 1967 re-enactment). 


Anyway it’s a perfect 4-mile walk up to Upper Lanham Farm and back.  (After that it loses its charm, then hits tarmac.)

 

The first half, to Nettlebeds2, is chalk upland that provides splendid views (#2,3); the second, to Lanham, is finely wooded (#4,5).  Take a picnic because you won’t see many houses, let alone a pub.


PS  It's a short walk from Odiham to Blackwater, where an annual fair was held on Nov. 8th on the Green.  Moreover, the 'Welshman's Ride' across the heath nearby was the route to Farnham, where a fair was held two days later.  The Welsh link with Farnham was important: it was a major hop-growing centre where the Welsh found employment and by 1670 stockings knitted in Wales were for sale at Farnham Market.

 

1 There these flocks from Hampshire would have been joined by Welsh runts on their way to Kent or the South London markets from Bristol.

2  Nettlebeds Lane joins our track from Bighton, where there's a splendid stance of pines.  (See separate article)

September 2017 image 1
Odiham "Fair" 1967
September 2017 image 2
Open country
September 2017 image 3
Yew Tree Resting-place
September 2017 image 4
Water here..
September 2017 image 5
..before the woods.