A short history of Longparish
Longparish consists of many hamlets, including Forton, Middleton, Longparish Station, West Aston and East Aston. It lies along the west bank of the clear braided waters of the River Test. The valley is about half a mile wide, flanked by low ridges, with Harewood Forest to the north and west.
The village has many attractive thatched cottages and St Nicholas Church, which dates from the 13th century. An excellent network of footpaths, including part of the Test Way, links the settlements. The paths provides some memorable views of the old cottages, the landscape and the river.
Livestock graze the low lying fields of the valley. Arable crops such as barley, wheat and oilseed rape are grown on the rising ground. Small spinneys and areas planted provide cover for game birds and other wildlife.
Harewood Forest was a royal hunting forest in Saxon and Norman times. But now the forest is managed for forestry, hunting and wildlife. In World War II marshalling ammunition was stored in Harewood Forest and taken to Southampton by rail. The many concreted rides are still used for forestry operations.
- Temporarily closed
- Restricted use
Visit Forton, a pretty hamlet off the main road with many thatched cottages, and then cross farmland into Harewood Forest with some splendid views.
Park in the car park by the village hall, not far from the Plough. Take the chance to visit the church before going through the second lychgate which was probably provided to rest coffins from Forton.
From the meadow you see Middleton House on the right before strolling down Forton Street. Walking across Cutty Brow you may well hear skylarks above the A303. The furthest point is in a group of beeches on the Middleway which are beautiful at any time of year.
The route follows the road part way back for the wonderful views, which continue down the Broadney path back to Forton.