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  • Writer's pictureClaire

Dog Walk: Whitchurch to Longparish loop, from farmland to water meadows and the River Test

After a typical deluge of a May Bank Holiday, the first chance I got this week for a long walk in glorious weather was Wednesday. My Mum was visiting so we decided a new sniffs Digby Day and walk and a lunch it was.

As the heat cranked up a notch (not complaining!) I thought a river walk would be good to cool Digby down in, plus he's my water fur baby.

Starting out in Whitchurch by the cemetery, you cross the road under the rail bridge and take the path through the fields opposite. When you get to the bottom of that field you turn right through 2 more field until you reach a style then a path to a road. These fields may have livestock grazing in them, today they didn't so Digby very much enjoyed bouncing in the long grass.

Next the route takes you up a road a little and to a gap in a hedge to take the path adjacent to the road before crossing the River Test at Hurstbourne Priors. We walked along the road for a bit before passing up through a field to woodland. This takes you away from the road and through some permissive paths through farmland until you reach the field behind a pub, which is just as well as we wanted to stop for lunch.

The Plough Inn is really quite special as it was a pub saved by its local community, and you can tell with a very warm welcome, local beers on tap and wonderful food. I am so pleased this pub was saved as its right alog the Test Way and is as important to ramblers and cyclists as well as the local community. So if you are ever in Longparish, make sure you pay this place a visit, you will be happier for it.

After a lovely lunch sitting outside in the sunshine, we took to our walk once more, this time heading along the road to Middleton and taking up the Test Way path across the water meadows.

This part of the walk I was looking forward to the most as I know Digby would love all the water along the route, especially as the temperature has risen. What I didn't think through was, after an utter deluge on bank holiday following the wettest start to the year the UK has seen for ages, the path in a lot of places was actually an extension of the river and I wasn't wearing wellies. Oh well, we were on a time schedule so just had to put best foot forward, and waded through some of the path. Still Digby was living his best life, jumping in the river, and swimming to his hearts content.

You follow the River Test until you reach Tufton then back on the path through some more farmland until you reach Whitchurch once more. A great 7 mile walk if you want a pit stop in between and one your dog will relish in.

Dog running in the long grass

Dog running in spring flowers

women and dog walking in the long grass

Freshly ploughed field in Longparish

Tractor ploughing the field

Chickens and horses in a field behind a thatched cottage

The Plough Inn in Longparish

Walking through a Hampshire village

Stately home in Longparish

Swan on the River Test

Dog enjoying the flooded path

The flooded River Test

Dog swimming in the River Test

Dog jumping into the River Test

Upper Mill in Longparish

Dog swimming in the River Test

Bouncing Dog in wheat field

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