Section 35 Out
Odiham to Hook
|OS Explorer 144 Basingstoke
|3 miles/ 2 hours
|The Waterwitch by Basingstoke Canal
|A straightforward short and open walk through mixed use countryside, the busy M3 motorway contrasting with the natural history of Bartley Heath. The odd boggy moment.
With the Waterwitch pub on your right, walk up the road. Just over the brow of the hill turn right on a footpath on a gravel track between houses. At the end reach a metal kissing gate by a metal fieldgate. Go through in to a large triangular field. Walk continue to walk directly away from the road behind. Keep along the top side of the field on a feint grassy path parallel to the hedge over on your right.
Head to the right of a clump of trees and ponds at the far end. Past the ponds down on your left, ignore a footpath off left and continue under power lines into the next pasture. Continue as before but move up closer to the hedge on your right. At a junction of power lines, meet a metal fieldgate and a metal kissing gate in the hedge.
Turn right through the kissing gate go up the field under power lines with a hedge on your left. At the top leave the field over a stile by a metal fieldgate (rather boggy here) and go forward over a canal bridge then a road bridge.
Keep on down a farm road (ignore a stile on your right) to farm buildings. Join a concrete track and keep on through new industrial units (making plastic tubs) and continue to a crossroads by a brick building.
Turn left here past a pond on your right. Immediately turn right up the side of the pond past a pond and on to meet a grey packhouse. Bear left then right up the side of this building with a field and river on your left. Pass a second packhouse.
Keep on across open fields ahead by power lines towards distant trees and motorway. Cross a ditch midway and continue to enter trees at the far side. Immediately turn right on a cross track and go along to a footbridge and cross the motorway.
At the far side enter Bartley Heath (beware of the ponies ! but look out for the Ruddy Darter and Broad Bodied Chaser dragonflies). Walk directly away from the motorway on a clear path. This soon becomes a wide beaten earth track straight as an arrow up the heath with power lines on the left.
Eventually pass under power lines and leave the heath through a gate by a cattle grid. Continue in same direction. The track becomes a roadway and passes under a railway. Go on by new houses onto what is now a public road. Basically keep on in the same direction.
Look out for a cycletrack on your left. Walk along this to take you through the road junction ahead aiming towards distant power lines.
Keep on the road ahead up to a junction with a main road and the Crooked Billet in Hook at the end of the section.