BOAT: Whitedown Lane

Location: 3 Whitedown Cottages, Wootton St Lawrence, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG23 8PF, UK
  • Overall Rating: 3
  • Location: Whitedown, Hampshire.
  • OS Explorer Map 144, 'Basingstoke, Alton and Whitchurch'.
  • Starting OS Grid Reference: SU589540
  • Starting GPS Co-ordinates: N51 28' 20" W001 51' 70"
  • Finishing OS Grid Reference: SU591563  
  • Finishing GPS Co-ordinates:  N51 28' 60" W001 37' 60"
  • To see: motte, site of Roman villa.
  • ALWAYS follow the Greenlane Code!
I can't find the proper name of this lane, so for want of better I have christened it (rather unimaginatively, I'll admit) Whitedown Lane. If anybody knows better please post the correct name via the 'comments' box below this post.

Beginning in the minute hamlet of Whitedown (litterally a farm a cluster of two or three cottages), and intersecting with another (unnamed) byway running from Worting Road Cemetery to Ibworth, this byway starts out almost due north on a surface of gravel separated by a grassy centre . The foliage on this the southern 'half' of the greenlane is also well kept due to use by farm machinery (and cows!) so the paintwork is never threatened.

Very soon a cowshed passes by to the left of the byway, which proceeds past two piles of excavated chalk and then between two gigantic piles of cow dung (both impossible to miss). A short distance further north suddenly the surface becomes concreted due to it being used as the access road to a covered reservoir, which also passes by to the west.

The second 'half' of Whitedown Lane then begins on crossing the A339. This can be an extremely busy road so (needless to say) please take great care in crossing it.

The lane continues on a hard surface, used as the access road to a large aerial of some kind (why is everything notable to the west of this lane?!) where the earthen surface reappears. Immediately the transition occurs, however, the foliage and undergrowth that lines the lane closes right in and scratches on the paintwork are a guarantee. This awkward section of trail carries on downhill past an unusually irregular copse (to the west, duh) and then the foliage releases its grip just after leaving the northern boundary of siad spinney. The byway then continues on its northbound track, shadowing a field boundary until it ends in the farm buildings of Lower Farm, at its junction with Basingstoke Road.

The reputed 'Castle in the Woods' that was stormed by King Stephen towards the end of the civil war in 1147 lies just to the west in the grounds of Woodgarston Farm, accessible by a public footpath. Never more than a wooden motte and bailey castle, only the motte survives in a very overgrown state these days. A little further to the west of this byway, the site of a Roman villa can be found, but there is absolutely nothing to be seen remaining above ground so it's not worth the detour.

Clouds, chalk, and poo.

View Whitedown Lane in a larger map

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