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Beacon Hill and Exton

A 7 mile circular walk from the Beacon Hill National Nature Reserve on the South Downs, near Warnford in Hampshire. (NOTE: There are two Beacon Hills in Hampshire, this is the one near Warnford, not the one near Burghclere). This peaceful circuit takes you through the rolling landscape of the Meon Valley, following quiet tracks and paths across chalk grassland and through beautiful sections of dense woodland. About two thirds of the way round, the route leads you through the pretty village of Exton with thatched cottages, a beautiful church and the River Meon flowing through the bottom of the pub garden. At the summit of Beacon Hill you will be rewarded with stunning views of the Solent and Isle of Wight.

The walk has several climbs and descents throughout, including a fairly steep climb up to the top of Beacon Hill at the end. The paths can be very muddy at times and the chalk can also be slippery so good boots are a must. You will need to negotiate several gates plus 12 stiles (all of which either have gaps alongside for most dogs to pass through or should be low enough for dogs to hop over). On the outward leg to reach Exton village most of the paths are enclosed tracks but you will cross two pastures that may be holding cattle (although they were empty when we walked). The return leg follows the South Downs Way and you have a choice to follow the walkers route (which crosses multiple cattle pastures and includes 6 of the stiles) or the bridleway route which follows a quiet lane. Approximate time 3.5 hours.

The walk starts at the unmade countryside car park for Beacon Hill National Nature Reserve (which has parking for about 10 cars in amongst the trees) located about 2 miles west of the A32 at Warnford. The post code SO32 3LB will take you to Warnford village from where you will need to follow these directions. Head south through Warnford on the A32 and, immediately after passing the flint garden wall of Warnford House and a small triangular green on your right, turn right into the unsigned side road (Wheely Down Road). Follow this lane for 1.8 miles, go straight ahead at the first tiny crossroads (don't blink or you may miss this) and then turn sharp left at the larger staggered crossroads (onto Beacon Hill Lane). Follow the lane for 0.6 miles and you will find the unmade parking area on your left (on a right-hand bend in the lane).

The full walk can be viewed and printed via the iFootpath website - Beacon Hill and Exton This walk is also available on the iFootpath App.

To book discount train tickets to this location please visit Train Genius

Location (Map)

Chappel and Chalkney Wood
Dedham, Gun Hill and the Stour Valley