Newtown heathland and Herbert

A short history of Newtown

The Parish of Newtown lies in the very north of Hampshire and adjoins the border with Berkshire at the River Enborne.

The Bishop of Winchester created the medieval borough of Newtown in 1218. This forms part of his estate along with Highclere and Burghclere. A ditch, created in 1224 defines the bounds of the village. You may see the remaining traces of this mile long ditch on your walk.

You will pass the St. Mary and St. John the Baptist church on the Arbuthnot Woods walk. The church architect, Henry Woodyer, built this village church in 1865 of flint and features a square tower with a shingled broach spire. Notice the wild flower, ferns, and buttercup on the column capitals typical of his style.

Newtown Common is a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation with a wide range of heathland and woodland plants and animals. The mixture of open heath, areas of pine and oak woodland and birch scrub here benefit a wide a variety of species.


    • Route
    • Temporarily closed
    • Restricted use


This walk crosses the main heathland area of Newtown Common. It then goes through the Herbert Plantation, a mixed woodland of oak, birch, alder and pine.

Start from the Jonathan Hill car park.

Head straight along the well used green track, parallel with the road. This leads to the open heathland part of Newtown Common. Cross the tarmac road, Adbury Holt, and carry on along the side of gardens on your left (crossing Burghclere Common). After which veer left through a staggered barrier to enter the Herbert Plantation.

Follow the path for a short distance until you arrive at crossroads with a handy seat. Take the straight path to the left and follow it until you come to a junction where a right hand path goes down through the woods. Keep on this path staying in the same general direction and a stream should soon appear on your right. Carry on until the kissing gates.

Here you will find a sign about the Herbert Plantation and a rough track, which is the other end of Adbury Holt. Go left up the track. After a house on your left, take the path which appears on your right and rejoin Newtown Common.

Pass under overhead power lines and then go down to small gulley which can flood at times. Continue up the other side in the same direction. You will soon arrive at your starting point at Jonathan Hill.