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Off the Beaten Track

Archway Country lane

Have you ever looked along a country lane, footpath or an archway and wondered where they might lead? To follow on from the series of 2020 Digital Updates, ideas for walks - real or virtual - will be highlighted in the first part of 2021. As well as giving examples, it is hoped that the methodology explored for some of the walks will allow people to come up with their own routes. If, after looking at the suggestions from these webpage, you have examples of walks you would like to share, please email with your ideas.

The places offered will be ordered by themes but locations will also be given; we shall aim to give a spread of areas around Hampshire.

Theme: Linking small scale urban features

1. The first example looks at the work carried out by Andrew Watten and his family in Basingstoke. They have made the exploration of the locations of Benchmarks in the town part of their walks. Andrew explains his interest in these features which were originally important as part of the Ordance Survey's mapping of the United Kingdom. You will be able to use his methodology to devise your own routes to look for examples of benchmarks around where you live.

2. Karen Wardley, Co-ordinator for the Medieval Graffiti Project, has discovered an interesting walk along Holly Brook and Tanners Brook in Southampton. As she notes, "Even the most unprepossessing urban areas can throw up unexpected opportunities for walks which encourage us to discover more about our local history." Discover more about this part of Southampton.

Theme: Archaeological features

1. Jan Bristow, Chair of the Archaeology Section, has written an account of walk to the east of Stockbridge (link to pdf) which, as she writes " inspired by the idea that both a good walk and archaeology can be combined, and makes use of the excellent report by Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe and Cynthia Poole (*see key reference: Danebury Environs Programme, Vol.2, part 1) to give some details of both Stockbridge Down and Woolbury hillfort, and includes some of the finds that they discovered when excavating Woolbury."
Two other links, to help with background on the visit, are the National Trust's Heritage Records and the Ordnance Survey's GetOutside initiative.

2. Jo Bailey, President of the HFC&AS, has explored two Iron Age sites on the border between Southampton and the Test Valley.


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