BOAT: Sotherington Farm Lane

Location: Sotherington Ln, South Downs National Park, Alton, Hampshire GU34, UK
  • Overall Rating: 3
  • Location: Selborne, Hampshire.
  • OS Explorer Map 133, 'Haslemere & Petersfield'.
  • Starting OS Grid Reference: SU754331
  • Starting GPS Co-ordinates: N51 09' 30" W000 92' 30"
  • Finishing OS Grid Reference: SU754339
  • Finishing GPS Co-ordinates: N51 10' 00" W000 92' 50"
  • To see: Selbourne Priory, The Wakes.
  • ALWAYS follow the Greenlane Code!
Update 18/08/2014: The quagmire has been reported as having become considerably more dramatic (!) than when we drove this byway (see comment, below) so it is now one to avoid altogether.

NB: there is a fair chance of getting stuck on this lane. Don't drive it alone or without a recovery method.


In the absence of any other title I can find, I've named this byway after the farm at the southern end. Starting out northbound from Sotherington Lane, the greenlane passes a converted barn to the east. It's rather narrow due to the encroachment of mature growth and a little rutted as the earthen surface is often pretty soft after rain.

After a few tens of metres on this short lane the real obstacle rears its ugly head. From the way it looks, the surrounding fields have a drainage system that empties straight into this dip in the byway, and with it being a hollow way (the lane surface sits lower than its surroundings) it is almost always wet here, even in dry spells. The result is that there is a long quagmire that carries a very high chance of swallowing your vehicle.

We walked the route and surveyed this obstacle using a stick. There is a firm surface underneath the water, but unfortunately it is covered by at least a foot and a half (far more in places) of a thick, sticky goo, the suction created by which could easily stop a vehicle in its tracks. The only way through (if there is indeed a way through) is a very capable vehicle and momentum, but the impact on the greenlane itself of this style of driving, which is better suited to off-road centres, contributes towards the negative views of greenlaning held by many other user groups and does not aid our cause. As such, to avoid damaging the lane and to avoid further negative press for our hobby, we recommend a voluntary seasonal restriction of usage, and as a further piece of common sense, to only drive it after a dry spell.

Climbing out of the pool (should you be lucky enough to have gotten that far!), the byway continues on a northwards track until its ending where it meets Honey Lane, just east of the village of Selborne. The site of Selbourne Priory lies on private land just to the north (there's little to see above ground anyway), and The Wakes (the home of the naturalist Gilbert White) is in the village itself.

This is Hampshire County Council's Byway 66.

The 'water feature'. It's long, and very wet.

View Sotherington Farm Lane in a larger map

7 comments:

Nick McConnell said...

I think you will find this lane is pretty much impassable now....we tried it last year and both got stuck. Absolutely horrendous lane and not maintained at all.

James Brown said...

Thanks for the info, Nick! I've updated this page with your report.

Anonymous said...

BIG tyres and a winch your be fine

James Brown said...

Maybe, but one would only make it worse for then next green laner, not to mention other users. Best to avoid it altogether and use that winch in an off-roading centre.

Producktionsweb said...

I believe that I accidentally found this lane today and proceeded to give it a go. However it mentioned that there were works on the lane and there has been sign of some restricted access recently. If I have it right, it goes downhill into a high sided cut, where water runs down from the top of the hill where a stream runs into it. After going down for quite a way, the path becomes the channel of the stream. All of the vegetation had been cut back but we got to this extremely wet looking point and stopped and turned back (reversing for bloody ages!) as I had no idea how bad it would get and we were at a point where reversing could have become very difficult with no turning space.

Looks like it may be being handled and improve over the next few months though.

Producktionsweb said...

I just posted a comment mentioned the state of this road... I believe from further map perusing that I may have actually been on the rather pedigree'd Water Lane which must have had some work - a lot of it was quite placid... maybe I didn't venture far enough to get into real trouble!

James Brown said...

What, THIS http://www.moderndayexplorers.net/2012/08/boat-water-lane.html Water Lane?! PLACID?!?!

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