A couple of Saturday’s ago gave us one of those glorious early summer evenings, ideal for a cycle. I didn’t go out with the intention of gathering ideas for a post, but the sights I came across, made me want to share my experience, and show you a bit of Northern Hampshire along the way…
As a cycle, I probably only covered 3 or 4 miles here, but you could easily add more miles to your route as North Hampshire has some great cycling country for all abilities and marked cycle routes on the maps. I guess it depends what you look for in a cycle… I sit firmly on the ‘enjoy it’ seat, more than an endurance boot camp, but you can find both around here with the North Wessex Downs.
I started (and finished), by Oakley Village pond. Should you need them, A pub, Coffee shop and village store 300 yards from here… There are some lovely cottages around the pond, and of more historic importance, is an example of a 18th
Century barn, which looks like its about to get some TLC.
2) There was a time when ‘Church Oakley’ and ‘East Oakley’ were in effect 2 villages, clustered around their farms. From the pond, The lane is called Rectory Lane and there are many fine examples of old buildings too see. Opposite The church and old school, I turned right into Station Road. With some old ‘estate’ properties then fields, It still feels like a remote country lane that hasn’t seen much change.
3) After a slight assent, (well I thought so), you can see the old Oakley station on the left. The track is still a main line for trains between The South West and London, but Oakley station closed in 1963.
Cross with care the Andover Road (B3400), into Malshanger Lane. Its a tree lined avenue, and is worth a visit in all the seasons.
The term ‘Hangers‘ although not totally unique to Hampshire, are closely associated with the county’s landscape, especially in the east of the county, near Alton and Selborne. They refer to wooded slopes.
At this stage I wasn’t thinking ‘blog’ so I didn’t photograph! so here’s a fine example I saw of ‘Malshanger Lane’ by A.J. Trickett
4) As the lane takes sharp turn to the left, There is a picturesque lodge on the corner by the gate into Malshanger Park. (This spot in itself is a good place to start a cycle and there is some off road parking). I wasn’t sure of the access on bike through the park, so I pushed the bike through the grounds.
5) I never tire of visiting the grounds of Malshanger Park. Often you’ll see sheep grazing – and they also have a herd of Alpacas…. There are some fine old trees throughout the park and n March and April there is a great display of daffodils. On this occasion, I was fortunate to see a couple of Dear in the trees and a Muntjac roaming. There are glimpses of the house, and there are several properties showing the using flint in their design, leading to the house, including a walled garden, and a tennis court.
6) A Manor at Malshanger was recorded in Doomsday. Though there is nothing left of the original buildings, we have a glimpse of its Tudor past with the octagonal tower that survives next to a later 18th Century house. It was the family home to William Warham (c. 1450 – 22 August 1532), who become an archbishop of Canterbury. Part of the house is currently used a retreat and conference centre.
7) At the cross roads by the Bowls club, Turn left, and down a gradual slope. You soon see a cluster of beautiful flint decorated cottages around a triangle. You join Hook Lane. At some point I imagine would have been housing provided for estate workers. Now they just have some very fortunate residents! Follow the road left and at the T junction turn left into Summer Down Lane.
8) I cycled down Summer Down Lane. I find capturing the essence of this part of Hampshire can appear a bit flat in photos, when there is quite a lot of undulation in the landscape. This evening the light allowed far reaching views.
(9 At the next junction turn right and the road bends around to the left into Ivy Down Lane. It was along here I was close to part of the Wayfarers Walk.
10) Less than half a mile, and under a railway bridge, you arrive at the junction of Clarken Green. There is a pub (and Hotel) at the junction. Turn right here on to the B3400. Just take a bit of care care crossing there is a bend from the left direction, which obscures the view a bit.
11) Take the first first road on the left – its a triangle, and then its left at the junction. We are going back towards Oakley. Opposite is one of the Old Estate houses that was part was Oakley Hall. We’re back into Rectory Lane.
12) I took a little detour here to look at Oakley’s Church – St. Leonards. If not, carry on along Rectory Lane for half a mile, back to the pond.
I walked through the lynch gate and behind the cemetery. (Just be considerate where to leave the bike – its perfectly safe, but it might be in someones way who maybe visiting the cemetery). Its a grade 2 listed medieval church, but altered and rebuilt in the 16th and 19th Centuries. I visited the church in an older blog when the weather was rather different! There is alot of open landscape behind the Church and is a popular spot for walkers and runners!
There you have it – As I said I’m more for stopping and taking in the landscapes, (and maybe resting), but there is a good amount of variety on this route.