Longparish riverdance walk

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.

Key

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    • Route
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    • Temporarily closed
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    • Restricted use

Directions

Start in the car park opposite the village hall and watch out for the red waymarks as you follow this route. Start by visiting the 13th century church and walk east down the village street. By the stream you will pass the grindstone and Ashburn Rest, a 19th century seat recently rebuilt.

The route follows paths and the road as you continue through West and East Aston until the last house, where there is a footbridge on your right. Walk across East Aston Common and pause on the long wooden footbridge to enjoy the river.

On the way back, look at Upper Mill, a 19th century corn mill which has been restored to working order. You then cross the water meadows behind Longparish House, and follow the route back to your starting point.

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