UCR: West Hoe Lane

Location: W Hoe Ln, Southampton, Hampshire SO32, UK
  • Overall Rating: 3
  • Location: Bishop's Waltham, Hampshire.
  • OS Explorer Map 119, 'Meon Valley'.
  • Starting OS Grid Reference: SU569175
  • Starting GPS Co-ordinates: N50 95' 40" W001 19' 10"
  • Finishing OS Grid Reference: SU575181
  • Finishing GPS Co-ordinates: N50 96' 00" W001 18' 30"
  • To see: Bishop's Waltham PalaceThe Crown Inn, tumulus.
  • ALWAYS follow the Greenlane Code
West Hoe Lane (even though it lies to the east of the 'suburb' of Bishop's Waltham called Hoe, but who are we to be pedantic?!) leaves another UCR called Jervis Court Lane in a northerly direction at a cluster of Victorian cottages. Initially on a gravel surface, the byway heads uphill along a field boundary and lined on each side by tall hedgerows. After around 400m the surface soon reverts to unrutted mud and the hedgerows close in, although it all looks like this summer's growth and does not present a serious obstacle. Indeed it is pretty likely, unless you are very unlucky, that you will get through without a scratch! We did.

On cresting the top of the ridge, the lane begins a gentle descent and plunges into woodland, which in this case is called Runnydown Copse, and is a patch of ancient woodland owned and maintained by the Woodland Trust (they are an awesome charity, and one you should seriously consider supporting!). The woodland is a little tight in places, and a washout runs straight down the middle of the surface (see picture above), but again there are no major obstacles. The byway turns eastwards on entering the wood, and after a short distance turns again sharply to the north and continues towards its terminus on Dundridge Lane. But before, completing this green lane, a cottage on the east side of the lane and a hedge to the west narrow in sufficiently to make one have to concentrate (see picture below)!

A tree-covered tumulus can be found in a field just to the south of the start of the byway. The Crown Inn in Bishop's Waltham is well worth a visit for your post-lane victualing, but don't believe its website: far from being in the middle of the Hampshire countryside it is instead most firmly in the middle of the town. They also offer rooms for those from 'forn parts' (read Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett). Whilst you're there by all means explore Bishop's Waltham Palace: the awesome ruins of a medieval palace used by the ecclesiastical top brass of Winchester in the Middle Ages. Their museum (on site) is also worth a look but check opening hours first at it is only open at weekends.

Tighter than it looks.

View West Hoe Lane in a larger map

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