Cheriton and the Civil War Battlefields

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Who could believe that this tranquil area of countryside was once the site of a tremendous battle with enormous bloodshed just over 350 years ago! However, the history of this beautiful area of Hampshire provides us with a marvellous excuse to enjoy a good walk with some far-reaching views.

On the 27th March 1644 the Roundheads under Sir William Waller marched from Arundel and assembled at East Meon, a small village seven miles to the south-east of Cheriton as the crow flies. The Roundheads then attempted to cut off the Royalists as they advanced eastwards from their base at Winchester, so the Royalists, led by the Earl of Forth and Sir Ralph Hopton, raced for the security offered by Alresford, where they spent the night of the 27th on the nearby downs. The Roundheads camped in Lamborough Fields to the east of Cheriton Village.

By the end of the 28th March the Royalists had advanced and lay upon the ridge along Upper Lamborough Lane to Bramdean Lane; and you will be walking along this route. You will also be going past where the Roundheads' position was, lower down along the Cheriton Lane. After a tense night, when dawn arrived on the 29th March the Roundheads sent 1,000 musketeers into Cheriton Wood to the east of Bramdean Lane and the Royalist positions. The Royalists however, outflanked them in the wood and drove them back. There then followed a fierce battle in which the village to the south, Hinton Ampner, was set on fire by the Royalists. The Roundhead cavalry took advantage of the smoke cover and after a long battle around Bramdean Lane and with heavy losses, the Royalists returned to Alresford, setting fire to it before retreating to Reading.

This Battle of Cheriton finally halted the Royalist advance out of the South West and thwarted Charles 1's plans for an advance upon London. The area of the battlefield remains undeveloped agricultural land, Cheriton Wood is still there and so is the network of tracks and minor lanes which gives us the opportunity to survey this battle scene. There has been disagreement as to where the exact site of the battle took place, but a metal-detecting survey has produced evidence which may suggest that the traditional site, as described here, is the correct one. Maybe one day there will be a full detailed survey to prove it once and for all.

The walk also takes you past a monument commemorating the 20,000 soldiers who were involved in the battle, although other sources claim that there were only 15,000. The losses vary too, from 360 to 2,000.

England - South England - Hampshire - South Downs

Features

Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Good for Kids, Great Views, Play Area, Pub, Public Transport, River, Wildlife
03/10/2015 - Anne England

Another lovely walk from Sylvia, which we completed today in warm autumn sunshine. A few things to note, however: at waypoint 9, the fingerpost is very difficult to see, as it's now attached to a fencepost. The start of the path is badly overgrown, and you can't get into the adjacent field on the left of it. However, as it leads into the field on the right, you might as well start in this field, which is open, rather than get all the nettle stings I did in attempting to be correct! You can stay in this field until you almost reach the woodland right at the top, then turn left through the gap. There's no longer a stile into the woodland, just a gap and a signpost (WP10). Turn right to go down to the field. Before WP11, ignore a footpath into the woods on your left. The stile at WP11 is derelict and hard to see in the hedge, which is now a line of trees! The track at WP13 becomes very overgrown not long after you take it. There is, however, a gate into the field that is bordered by this path. It's not marked as a footpath but as it wasn't locked I walked through the field (not sure if it's allowed!) and rejoined the path through a makeshift metal gate just before it reaches the farm. Finally, the stile at WP18 doesn't exist any more (it's a gap!) and there's no Wayfarers' Walk sign but it IS marked the Itchen Way. Follow this through a gap and left down the hill and you end up walking through a newish group of houses to the lane and WP19. Sorry to be so long-winded but it's too nice a walk not to adjust!

12/08/2010 - Pete Steele

A most beautiful walk. The instructions were superb as always from Sylvia. Interesting, steeped in history, a lovely country pub and worth travelling too. Stunningly beautiful views. The flower pots still does not accept credit/ debit cards so take cash if you want a bite to eat.

26/08/2009 - Walkingworld Admin

Our thanks to Doug Mills for his updates. These were entered August 2009. Adrian (Admin)

26/08/2009 - Douglas Mills

An excellent walk, full of interest and varied scenery. Be aware that The Flower Pots does not accept Credit or Debit Cards. We weren't, so went to eat at the excellent Tichbourne Arms instead! Regards Doug

26/05/2008 - Andrew Rhys

Many thanks to Sylvia for her excellent directions. This was a lovely walk with much for those interested in history. The views were fantastic and our group had an wonderfull time.

27/03/2008 - Ray Churcher

This is a fine walk with far reaching views throughout. Except for one short stretch the going was surprising good. It's an easy to follow walk on mostly wide tracks and the local history adds to the interest. I have to say that things were a little more quiet than they probably were 300 odd years ago--I didn't see one Roundhead or Royalist the whole walk!! Thanks for this, Ray Churcher.

11/10/2007 - Ian and Sarah Jane Lloyd

By following Sylvia's excellent instructions we thoroughly enjoyed this walk last Saturday. The Meon Valley is one of our favourite areas in which to walk as there are fantastic views to soak up and no need to climb challenging hills first. We were lucky enough to spot Buzzards, a flock of Long-tailed tits and, the highlight, a Kingfisher as we walked back in to Cheriton.

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