BOAT: Stancombe Lane

Location: Stancombe Ln, Alton, Hampshire GU34, UK
  • Overall Rating: 4
  • Location: Shalden, Hampshire.
  • OS Explorer Map 144, 'Basingstoke, Alton and Whitchurch'.
  • Starting OS Grid Reference: SU713424
  • Starting GPS Co-ordinates: N51 17' 60" W000 98' 20"
  • Finishing OS Grid Reference: SU697420  
  • Finishing GPS Co-ordinates: N51 17' 30" W001 00' 40"
  • To see: Watercress LineAlton.
  • ALWAYS follow the Greenlane Code!

This is a great byway, if a little overgrown in places. Starting on Old Odiham Road, the green lane leaves on in a westerly direction. The track itself follows the northern boundary of Alton Golf Course and initially descends steeply downhill on a surface of roughly strewn rubble and mud. Passing through woodland, at the bottom of the hill the lane turns sharply northwards, and at this point it becomes quite challenging.

Tricky part: If you get your line wrong you will hit one of two mature trees that have grown fairly close together. Normally they would not be problem but being on a bend it took two goes to get our Defender 110 through without damage. Once past the trees a very steep (but short) climb awaits, although with a squeeze of power it is relatively straightforward.

At the top of the rise the byway once again turns sharply back to the west and starts and ever steepening descent between the northern boundary of the golf club on the wire-fenced southern edge of a field. The track here is lightly rutted and rather less lightly overgrown on the southern side: scratches are unavoidable but it is not as bad as some lanes we've driven! Once past the field the lane turns to the right and starts a steep, rutted descent downhill which can be slippery when wet (HDC equipped Land Rovers will lap this up!) towards New Odiham Road. Take care crossing the road here as the traffic fair whips past.

Across the road the lane acts a metalled driveway for some cottages. On reaching the last one (called Stancombe if memory serves) the longer and far less technical portion of the byway begins forking out to the left-hand side of it's graveled drive. Heading gently uphill this green lane is becoming a hollow way in places due to usage over the centuries. A pleasant tree-lined drive ends all too soon at Holme Farm in the hamlet of Shalden. We recommend driving it as long as you don't value your paintwork too highly!

When you're done go and visit Alton instead, and perhaps take a trip on the awesome Watercress Line steam railway. This is Hampshire County Council's Byway 11 and 12, treated as one entry through logic and convenience.


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