Mattingley - Whitewater River - Forest of Eversley - Circular

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The Ordnance Survey map shows this area as the Forest of Eversley. Indeed it was a royal hunting forest and has now been given Countryside Heritage status by Hampshire County Council. Much of the forest now only exists in the imagination! One tract of woodland which does still exist is at West Green Common.

The walk starts from the green at Mattingley. Mattingley Green Cottage, 17th Century and Bannisters Farm, 18th Century, set the tone for some attractive buildings along this walk. Mattingley Church is very interesting and unusual. Dating from the fifteenth century, it is of timber-framing with herringbone brick infilling. Two bells are amongst the oldest in Hampshire, one having been cast about 1450. The church is usually open.

The River Whitewater, which rises near Greywell (Walk 4464) is a tributary of the River Blackwater and ultimately flows into the Thames near Reading. It keeps a low profile, is probably known only to anglers and at times is little more than a stream, but when I wrote this walk immediately after the heavy snow in February 2009 it was quite substantial. Its headwaters flow over chalk and there is little pollution, making it rich in wildlife. It contains a variety of species of fish including brown trout, dace, barbel, perch, pike and chub. Like many rivers in the south of England, it also contains the non-indigenous and alien signal crayfish. To the uninitiated, they are to our native crayfish what grey squirrels are to red.

The 18th Century West Green House was once the home of General Hawley ('Hangman Hawley'), commander of the English cavalry at the Battle of Culloden. It is now owned and let by the National Trust. The house was restored by the Trust after it was badly damaged by a bomb planted by the IRA in June 1990. The target was the then treasurer of the Conservative party Lord McAlpine who had lived at the house, but had relinquished the lease shortly before the attack.

The Leather Bottle pub dates from the early 18th Century and was a watering-hole on what was a busy toll road between Basingstoke and Reading. This road was incidentally the A32 under the original 1920s numbering system, but it was downgraded to a B-road after the M3 was built, in order to divert north-south through traffic on to wider roads.

Updated with minor changes in August 2016 - thanks for the feedback!

England - South England - Hampshire - Countryside

Features

Birds, Church, Good for Kids, Mostly Flat, National Trust, Pub, Restaurant, River, Wildlife, Woodland
25/03/2019 - Patricia Daw

We did this walk with friends on a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon in March. There are a lot of directions for a relatively short walk. We went wrong once when I think the thought of a cup of tea at the beautiful West Green House got the better of me. (They even let us into the cafe without any proof on us that we were members -we are!) We had to come back out on to the road then turn left to find the next stile. We found the gate with the strong spring where the directions say it should be. The Leather Bottle was popular - we'll have to visit another time. A much enjoyed walk.

22/04/2015 - Harley Quilliam

Another excellent Richard Clayton walk! Easy going on a dry day, but it could be really boggy in places after heavy rain. Mattingley Church and its churchyard is a haven of peace and tranquillity before and after the walk. The broken stile at WP8 has been replaced by Hampshire County Council. The information board at WP22 is no longer extant, but its blue post is still there. We couldn't find the black metal gate at WP26, but the one at the other side of the field has a very strong spring! At WP31, there is no 'second stile' (although there is one to the left, leading south along the river bank). We went straight ahead to the field boundary and turned right. (We couldn't find the 'helpful wooden sign'.) Past the cattle trough there is a hand-drawn sign ('Footpath' and arrow) to prevent you turning left too soon. What a wonderful part of the country!

16/08/2014 - Wendy Jenkins

A really lovely and interesting walk, especially the bit by the mill where you walk through the gardens, so pretty and tranquil. Points to note from initial route posted:- Waypoint 31 walk diagonally to your right there is no electric fence anymore -

01/08/2013 - Jill Stacey

We have just completed this short walk on a very hot day. A nice walk with good clear instructions and a nice variety of scenery. We started at West Green House (NT) which is well worth a visit and has nice tearooms. The church at Mattingley is worth a visit and we were lucky that it was open so we could see the lovely inside. We also enjoyed seeing the unusual pigs at WM13.

31/07/2010 - Andrew Long

Good little walk. Pigs at WM13 very cute!

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Distance away
29.2 Miles