Soberton & Newtown
- Distance: 10 miles
- Duration: 4 hours
- Transport: No public transport links
- Two start points: Holy Trinity Church Newtown or St Peter’s Church Soberton Postcode: SO32 3PF
- Download the route map 1mb
Soberton was at one time called ‘Sud’ (meaning south) bere (meaning grange) tun (meaning farm), back in the 6th century when the area was invaded by the Jutes of Denmark. The Danish tribe that invaded this part of Hampshire were called the Meon. The River Meon takes its name from them. The village was formed due to the ever growing size of South Grange Farm.
The Church of St Peter dates from the late 12th century although there are medieval wall paintings. The tower wasn’t built until the 16th century. St Peter’s was restored in 1881 and it wasn’t until 1897 when it became a Parish Church.
Up to the 19th century, the area south of Soberton grew and Soberton Heath and Newtown were made into a separate parish in 1850. The Holy Trinity Church was built in 1851.
Some time in the late 19th century Soberton Towers was built by Colonel Charles Brome Bashford. During its time the Towers have been a private residence, a school and a home for the Wrens from HMS Mercury, Leydene.
This circular route is split into two sections. The western section is 4.5 miles (7.5km) and the larger eastern section is 5.5 miles (8.5km). The route is waymarked with white discs with green arrows and the text “Soberton & Newtown Millennium Walk”.
The eastern section starts at St Peter’s Church, Soberton. Turn right out of the church along School Hill, at the crossroads continue straight across, after the cottage turn left along the Wayfarers Walk uphill bearing left, over a stile into a large field. Continue in a south easterly direction to a stile. Cross over, follow the track and turn left through the trees for approximately 500m. At the junction bear right along a bridleway leaving the Wayfarers Walk to the left. At the road turn right into Hambledon Lane. After the house on the right turn left at the track and continue on Armsworth Lane. Turn right. After the farm turn left at first footpath, cross the field to the opposite corner. Cross over the stile, across the field to a gate in the corner keeping right of overhead cables. Turn right, following the hedge/fence and, at the iron gate, go through and turn left, through the second gate and follow the path to Hoe Street. Turn right at the road, after Killane Stud take second footpath on right (concrete lane). Follow the lane which opens into the drive of a large house, keep right and take the path through woods for approximately 500m to a stile. Cross the corner of the field to a further stile. Continue on to Ingoldfield Lane, turn left. Follow road to the crossroads, turn left to Newtown Church.
From Holy Trinity Church turn right and after 100m turn right onto a gravel path. Follow the path to a stile. Cross over into field to the next stile and continue over stile. Cross field to a stile in the opposite corner, continue ahead passing through several gates and over stiles. After last garden gate path follow the ditch, exiting at Hundred Acres Road. Cross road to West Walk. Follow the track through woodland for about 1 mile. Ignore cross path junctions and take the marked path to the right by a fenced pond (wartime bomb hole). Keep straight on and across a car park to Stoneover Road. Cross over and through Upperford Copse.
Follow the main track ignoring any cross paths, exit copse onto disused railway line. Turn right under a bridge and continue for 1km/0.5 mile, immediately after next bridge turn left and up steps to the road. Turn right, after approximately 50m turn right along a footpath passing a tennis court and leading towards the river, bear right and down wooden steps back onto disused railway line.
Turn left and continue north for approximately 1.5km/1 mile to a bridge over West Street. Take steps on left down to the river. Turn right under bridge into West Street and walk to the road junction. Enter meadow on left through the kissing gate. Follow the path across meadow to stile on northeast corner beside Soberton Church gate.
Photograph Copyright © Peter Facey