Robust Rambles

Dymchurch to Didcot Robust Ramble

Section 35 Return

Hook to Odiham

Walk Details
Map OS Explorer 144 Basingstoke
Distance/Time 3 miles/ 2 hours
Start The Crooked Billet in Hook
Comment This is quite a tough return walk with boggy terrain, rough paths and a subway under the railway which is long and dark. A long climb up in woods with confusing paths.
Walk Instructions

Leave the Crooked Billet and cross straight over the dual carriageway. At the far side turn left along the pavement (do not drop down the bank to track below). Soon cross a stream and immediately turn right down to an old mesh fieldgate and metal kissing gate.

Through the kissing gate bear right up the side of the field past a pole to a stile at the top end. Cross and continue up the centre of a boggy field to a stile by an old metal fieldgate. Go on in same direction with a hedge on your left towards a distant railway embankment.

Where the hedge ends, at a boggy area, bear left, up onto higher ground. Go diagonally across this higher ground to meet the railway embankment in the far opposite corner. Concealed behind a fallen tree and more bog, is a stile. Cross this into a very small and narrow subway under the railway. This passage is very long and so dark in the middle that it’s not possible to see the ground; a torch is suggested.

At the far side cross a high stile into a field with a hill on the left. Bear slightly left around the hill (do not climb up it) passing a lake down on your right. As you go, aim for a low white house over by the motorway. At the far side of the field is a stile in the fence hidden by a bush.

Cross the stile and a farm track to another stile in the field beyond. Bear quite sharply left across the corner of the field towards a distant pylon to a stile in the hedge leading upto a road. Turn right along the road and under the motorway.

Immediately past the first house on your left, turn left up a rough track by a vehicle storage area. Keep on up past a bungalow to a sunken track and follow this out to a road. Turn right down the road.

Just past two bungalows, turn left up a stony track to Bridge Farm. At gateposts, go through an old wooden kissing gate. Follow a path dropping down through an area of bracken (ignore a waymark off left into a thicket; it is the public right of way but too overgrown to use). Follow the path down to a lake and turn left along the side of the lake.

On reaching the corner of the lake go on over rough ground passing Bailey’s Farm on your left and heading towards willow trees with a pylon in the distance. Walk along the side of the willow trees then go through them to a drive and continue down this to exit onto a road. Turn right, up the road, for ¼ mile using the verge as much as possible. Near the top of the hill by a bus stop and metal bollards turn left on a wide horse ride into woods. As often happens in woodland there are informal paths and few waymarks.

Follow the wide and often boggy horse ride away from the road. Ignore any side and cross paths and walk steadily for 5 minutes. Just after a branch off left, the track narrows and becomes very boggy. Here there should be a waymark post. Turn right onto a feint path going slightly uphill.

Try and keep on a straight line up through silver birch trees, ignoring side tracks. The path winds a little as it continues steadily uphill to reach a junction with a cross track by a fallen tree on your left.

Turn left onto the cross track to face a Y-fork. Bear right uphill again. Near the top of the hill a horse ride crosses at an angle. Go over and on, uphill, under holly trees. On reaching an earthen drive, turn left and follow it out to a road.

Cross the road and continue on a broad horse ride. At a row of posts reach a beaten earth track. Cross to a footpath opposite and go forward into woods. Follow the path down, soon nearing the edge of the wood with a field over on your right. Ignore turnings off left. At Y-forks bear right.

Almost unexpectedly arrive at a canal with a house over on the other side. Turn right along the towpath for ½ mile to pass under a main road. Arrive at a picnic area and climb up to a road.

Turn left over the canal to reach the Waterwitch pub in Odiham and the start of the section.