Rockbourne, the Roman Villa and Whitsbury

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This is an easy circular walk between the lovely village of Rockbourne with its Roman villa and the neighbouring village of Whitsbury.

Rockbourne and Whitsbury lie in quiet countryside between the New Forest to the south, the Avon Valley to the east and Cranborne Chase to the north. They are both within the boundaries of the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire AONB. Whitsbury was part of Wiltshire until 1895 and is still under a Wiltshire parliamentary constituency.

The village of Rockbourne presents an attractive picture of thatch, brick and timber, a delightful church and an imposing manor-house, not to mention a quintessential village pub. Whitsbury has similar attractions in terms of church and pub and is best known these days for its equine connections, comprising four major yards of racing stables, stud and dairy. You will see more horses than people on that stretch of the walk. Famous Desert Orchid, who was trained there, actually reopened The Cartwheel pub after its refurbishment, or so the pub claims – you may have to call in for corroboration!

The Roman villa at Rockbourne once stood in the centre of a large farming estate and is the largest known villa in the area. Its history spans the period from the Iron Age to the 5th Century AD. The villa includes bath-houses, living quarters, farm buildings and workshops. You can see the best mosaics, part of the underfloor heating system and the outline of the villa's forty rooms.

England - South England - Hampshire - New Forest

Features

Ancient Monument, Birds, Church, Good for Kids, Museum, National Trust, Pub, Wildlife, Woodland
21/03/2014 - Stephen Paul Monaghan

We did this walk in early March 2014. There were two barriers on this walk that required you to 'limbo dance' under fixed bars (installed in place of stiles or gates) - not marvellous at all if you are tall and/or no longer very supple. It did my back no favours. One is at Point 2 and has, it seems, replaced the 'new metal gate on your right' mentioned in the guide. The second was between Points 3 and 4, along the narrow path (which you enter to the right of a large gate). Also, there was a large fallen tree across the path in the deciduous wood you cross in Point 8. As the deep depression is immediately on your right, there is no way round the tree - we carefully climbed through substantial branches and over the trunk. The tree and inappropriate barriers have been reported to Hampshire C.C. If you plan to visit the Roman Villa on this walk, note that is not open on Saturdays, even in season. Point 11: the fingerpost mentioned has gone. Turn right within onto a track only about 30 yards after getting on to the road. Point 12: we thought it was nearer 600 yards before you reached the fork.

13/11/2011 - Jill Larby

Thank you Richard for posting this lovely walk which we did on November 13th 2011. The autumn colours added to the beautiful countryside views which this route gently leads you through, lots of great scenic photo opportunities. Several stiles need to be negotiated and were quite slippery from the morning heavy dew, but nothing a seasoned Walkingworld follower couldn't manage. A bit tricky for a bigger dog, just a bit of a challenge.

12/08/2011 - Nigel Williamson

A pleasant walk with a variety of landscapes and some good views.

05/06/2011 - Michael Diamandis

Really nice walk with a variety of things to see and great views, especially from Whitsbury Church. Great directions. Would do again which is always a good sign!

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