BOAT: Winslade Lane

Location: A339, Winslade, Hampshire RG25 2, UK
  • Overall Rating: 5
  • Location: Ellisfield, Hampshire.
  • OS Explorer Map 144, 'Basingstoke, Alton and Whitchurch, Odiham, Overton and Hook'.
  • Starting OS Grid Reference: SU654478
  • Starting GPS Co-ordinates: N51 13' 32.52" W001 03' 54.58"
  • Finishing OS Grid Reference: SU645460
  • Finishing GPS Co-ordinates: N51 13' 36.08" W001 04' 35.37"
  • To see: bluebells!, the course of the Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway.
  • ALWAYS follow the Greenlane Code!

UPDATE 02/07/2016: Apparently people have been leaving the byway to go 'off-roading' illegally and thereby destroying habitat like that displayed in the image below-right, as well as vastly increasing the chances of a TRO being applied to this lane. We realise that asking a moron to refrain from doing something is as fruitful as screaming into the void, but, as responsible green lane drivers we condemn this behaviour and ask 'PLEASE, JUST DON'T DO IT'!

This is one of our favourite green lanes, especially in spring as when driving between Fryingdown and Whinkney's copses during the bluebell flowering season, the floor is literally a carpet of blue (see right, taken earlier in the year), and the smell is simply out of this world. Full marks awarded.

Although on this occasion we started in the north, we prefer driving this lane from south to north, as the slow descent towards Winslade with it's moss-lined banks and thousands of bluebells on either side make it a real pleasure. This article will therefore describe driving the lane when beginning in the south.

This byway is relatively well drained: we drove this lane in early December during considerable snow melt. The ground in general was exceedingly wet, however this lane did not have any standing water at all, short of a few small puddles. It is as such very easy going, not too muddy and relatively unrutted (see below right, taken in Webb's Copse) and as such scores a difficulty rating of 1. Turning off of Bushywarren Lane, near Ellisfield,  the BOAT wends it's way north along the flat, following the border of Webb's Copse (see above right), a densely planted industrial coniferous plantation. After around 700m, the lane jinks slightly to the east and enters the deciduous Fryingdown Copse. After another 100m or so, it starts an intially very shallow but ever steepening descent towards Winslade. There are numerous woodman's tracks to leaving the lane to the left and the right, these must be ignored.

The lane soon turns further to the north east and enters Whinkney's Copse, where it descends into a slight, moss-lined cutting and starts downhill in earnest. Take care in the copse: there are numerous mature beech trees lining the lane which have protruded into the lane either with their roots or the trunks themselves. There is more than enough room to drive past, but make sure you take the correct line: sliding into the tree will damage both it and your vehicle. Which would suck.

Continuing downhill, on exiting the copses the lane turns sharply to the east. Make sure you pick the right route: there is a false, misleasing 'track' that forks off the left. This leads up the old Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway's embankment. You won't make it, you'll damage it trying, and it's a restricted bridleway, so don't do it. Keep the small hut well on the left and head under the awesome ivy-covered underbridge (see left).

For it's last 100m or so, the lane then becomes the driveway of a cottage at the foot of Poor Hill, and the lane ends where it meets the A339 in Winslade. A truly great byway in a relatively wild corner of Hampshire which in springtime becomes exceptionally, fragrantly beautiful.

View Winslade Lane in a larger map


Nick said...

I did this route tonight and it's a real cracker! The woodland is beautiful and both a fox and deer ran across in front of me. After all the rain recently it was a bit boggy but not terrible. Sadly looks like lots of people have been going off the path and damaging the banks though.

Dempo said...

Thanks Nick! This truly is an exceptionally beautiful, relatively wild little corner of the country. I've updated the post with your findings.

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