BOAT: Standfast Lane/Watersford Lane

Location: Church Ln, Hampshire GU33, UK
  • Overall Rating: 5
  • Location: Empshott, Hampshire.
  • OS Explorer Map 133, 'Haslemere & Petersfield, Midhurst & Selborne'.
  • Starting OS Grid Reference: SU759310
  • Starting GPS Co-ordinates: N51 07' 40" W000 91' 70"
  • Finishing OS Grid Reference: SU752300
  • Finishing GPS Co-ordinates: N51 06' 40" W000 92' 90"
  • To see: River Rother, Empshott Church, Hawkley Inn.
  • ALWAYS follow the Greenlane Code!
NB: this lane is subject to a seasonal TRO between 1st November and 30th April each year. Do not try to drive this byway between these dates.

Standfast Lane and Watersford Lane are rolled into one review for the sake of this article, since they are essentially one and the same. This byway is initially pretty unassuming, but don't be deceived: it includes a great if unusual section of greenlane through an open field. Encroaching undergrowth is never really an issue, but the lane does gradually become narrower as this sunken lane is flanked by earthen banks that close in gradually. It is never so narrow as to present a challenge or obstruction, but if you should meet someone coming the other way there is most certainly no where to go!

Starting at its northern end, the BOAT leaves Church Lane and heads south-west on a lightly-rutted mud surface, with some sparse gravel in places. The lane descends down through pleasant woodland towards a small, gated bridge that takes it over the upper reaches of the River Rother. Over the bridge the lane bursts out of the woods into the field mentioned above and starts to rise again. This section is really quite a refreshing experience: used as we are to overgrown lanes and restricted views, it is a nice contrast to have a bit of space around us! I should hope it is needless to say, but please do not stray from the track. There is no reason what-so-ever to stray from it and mucking up their field will just anger the landowner (who is already miffed by 4x4 owners) and make you look like a fool, despite it being illegal. Point made, rant over.

Near the top of the hill the lane passes through another gate and back into woodland, where it follows the contour lines in a southerly direction until it eventually turns into somebody's driveway and finishes in the hamlet of Lower Green. A great lane and well worth a drive.

It scores further points for its proximity to the village of Hawkley and the awesome, 'rural' Hawkley Inn. When we called in for a compulsory post-lane tipple, they had an exceptionally strong cider called Swamp Donkey. Brewed in Alton apparently, when pondering what its ABV is, the label says 'don't ask'. Just one pint did strange things to our chosen victim... Nearby to the northern end of this green lane the picturesque Empshot Church is remarkable for its unusual spire.

To Hampshire County Council, these are Byways Hawkley 25 and 26, combined here for simplicity.

Total distance: 1.63 km (1.0 mi)
Total time: 09:52
Moving time: 09:26
Average speed: 9.89 km/h (6.1 mi/h)
Average moving speed: 10.36 km/h (6.4 mi/h)
Max speed: 34.20 km/h (21.3 mi/h)
Average pace: 6.07 min/km (9.8 min/mi)
Average moving pace: 5.79 min/km (9.3 min/mi)
Fastest pace: 1.75 min/km (2.8 min/mile)
Max elevation: 193 m (634 ft)
Min elevation: 133 m (436 ft)
Elevation gain: 32 m (105 ft)
Max grade: 8 %
Min grade: -9 %
Recorded: 02/07/2013 16:16

View Steadfast Lane in a larger map


Anonymous said...

Best lane for miles around. As stated DO NOT stray from the field track! It's actually 2 lanes - Watersford Lane (BOAT 24) and Standfast Lane (BOAT 26). Both have a seasonal TRO so is only open in the summer months. Check on - see BOAT 24 and 26 under "Hawkley". I have met the farmer and he does not 4x4 laners!

Dempo said...

Thanks for the input, I've updated this post with the latest information you supplied. It's appreciated.

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