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  • Writer's pictureClaire

Hike: A walk for everyone, Wherwell to Chilbolton in Hampshire

Updated: Oct 29, 2023

While my youngest was at pre-school Nanny came up to spend some quality time with her eldest grandson; when the 3 year old is around Nanny is entirely usurped by this pint-sized dictator.

I wanted to do a walk in Hampshire we hadn't done before and I knew this walk would have a paddling spot, which is ideal on a hot day. We parked up in the beautiful Village of Wherwell that is liberally peppered with thatched cottages and some beautiful riverside gardens that I could not help peeking in to, made a mental note to buy a hammock, however the romance of reading by the river somewhat lost in my garden!

We are heading to a long bridge and there is no mistake when we get there. My sons eyes light up knowing that he can go for a paddle. This is a lovely spot and some children had rubber rings and paddle boards, so I have committed this to memory so when we come back we have all the gear for a whole day of fun.

After paddling and creature spotting for half an hour we press on with the desire of finding a suitable picnic spot. The bridge leads to Chilbolton Cow Common, which is a lovely vast space, reminiscent of the New Forest, with the addition of lots of thistles, overlooking a lovely big cottage, with the river meandering through and a herd of cows grazing. It feels like a Contstable painting. The ideal picnic spot!

Suitably refreshed we press on. Our walk takes us through the common and into the village of Chilbolton, there is a quaint tea room and a pub to suit everyones refreshment needs should you not have a picnic on you, also this is around the halfway point of the walk should you want to take a breather.

We are now following the Test Way as we head back to the Common in a different direction and walk around the big cottage from the Constable painting vista from before. We then exit the common and cross a road and head to West Down Nature Reserve. The reserve resides on a hill that we ascend and is covered with rabbit burrows, thistles and other wild flora, it's so pretty. When you get to the top of the hill the views across the Test Way are stunning, there are lots of benches here too so you are very much spoilt for picnic spots on this walk.

Now descending back to the road, we cross over and walk beside a disused railway line back to Fullerton. The path then takes us through Cottonworth, where there is a delightful vineyard that specialises in English Sparkling Wine called Black Chalk Winery and Vineyard. I poke my head in to check it out, now formulating a plan to bring my husband on this walk, and maybe walk it in reverse, nab a bottle of this in a cool bag and end up at the river where we can picnic on the bank, sampling our wares... such a romantic!

After the vineyard you walk the road back to Wherwell, thus closing the loop of this wonderful walk. There is the White Horse Pub at the end of the walk, should you want to reward yourself in any way. I think its safe to say we will return to this one but not forgetting the paddle board or rubber rings!

I'd love to hear about your walks, please comment below on your favourite walk in the UK!

Bridge across the river Test

River running through Chilbolton Common

Thatched cottage on Chilbolton Common

Nature reserve in Chilbolton

Nanny and grandson walking in a nature reserve

Overlooking hampshire downs from the nature reserve

Black Chalk winery

English sparkling wine from Black Chalk winery

War memorial in Wherwell

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