Wayfarer's Walk: Dummer to White Hill
North of the M3 and the A30 the Wayfarer’s Walk crosses swathes of typical Hampshire farmland on its way to White Hill where the character of the trail’s surroundings changes dramatically
How crucial transport routes have shaped and influenced our countryside over the years is illustrated very effectively on this penultimate stage of the Wayfarer’s Walk. North of the village of Dummer the M3 motorway reminds us of our dependency on the car in the modern age, while a little further on two railway lines serve as a monument to the exceptionally gifted engineers and architects of the Victorian era. Finally, on this stretch, the trail crosses two vital routes from our distant past – the Harrow Way and the Portway. Here, also, the intensive farmland of central Hampshire begins to give way to the chalk downland of the North Hants Ridgeway, with the trail following a prehistoric track stretching from Basingstoke to the Vale of Pewsey in Wiltshire.
From Dummer parish church head north along the village street, passing the Queen pub on the left. Beyond the village, the road heads north, up towards the M3 roundabout. Pass the golf club on the right and at the next main junction, cross the slip road with extreme care. Traffic approaches at speed from the right. Continue on the pavement, go through the underpass and turn right. Keep to the pavement and when the road divides at the junction with the A30, follow it to the left and along to a lane on the right, signposted Oakley.
Take the lane and when it bears left by a sign for Southwood Farm, go straight on through a gate by a sign for the Wayfarer’s Walk. A pair of brick farm workers’ houses can be seen to the right. Follow the trail by the side of South Wood towards Bull’s Bushes Farm. At the farm outbuildings keep right and follow the path along the eastern and northern edges of Bull’s Bushes Copse, with its species of beech and Douglas fir. Join the road on a bend and keep ahead, joining a track at the next bend. Follow the trail across farmland, passing under a railway line, to emerge on the road by Cheesedown Farm. To continue on the Wayfarer’s Walk, turn right to the B3400 and cross over to the lane opposite.
Walk through the hamlet of Deane, passing All Saints Church situated in the parkland of adjacent Deane House, and follow the road to the right, near the entrance lodge. The Wayfarer’s Walk turns left by Deane Cottages. Bear right round the back of the houses and then across farmland to reach the road by Deane Down Farm. The highway here is part of the Harrow Way, a prehistoric route connecting the Pilgrim’s Way in Kent to Salisbury Plain. North of Little Deane Wood the trail crosses Summer Down, skirting Great Deane Wood and Frith Wood, with much of the woodland felled in the 1960s to make space for the intensive cereal farming which characterises this area. Past Freemantle Farm, the walk reaches the road by the Manor Farm at North Oakley.
Turn left here and at the bend, continue straight ahead on the track. Follow the Wayfarer’s Walk to the right and climb up over For Down. There are fine views back to the south. Cross the Portway and continue across farmland in a northwesterly direction. From this stretch there is a wonderful view of the route ahead, looking towards Watership Down. The route heads downhill, emerging on the B3051 by the White Hill car park.
Stretch of busy road with a pavement, quiet lanes, field paths and tracks
Typical North Hampshire countryside
On a lead north of Dummer, in the vicinity of Deane and at White Hill; under control over farmland stretches
OS Explorer 144 Basingstoke
Room to park in Dummer; car park at White Hill
None on route
Walking in safety
Read our tips to look after yourself and the environment when following this walk.