Walking the Test Way
Part two - Hurstbourne Tarrant to St Mary Bourne
Distance: 3 miles
Approx time: 1-2 hours
In Hurstbourne Tarrant the path runs through the village, past St Peters a 12th century church, and crosses the valley
heading steeply uphill to the copses of Wallop Hill Down, where you can look back for a picture postcard view of the
village nestling below.
Gently descend past Stoke Hill Farm to St Mary Bourne which straggles alongside the course of the Bourne Rivulet where the 12th Century St Peter’s Church (the daughter chapel to St Peter’s in Hurstbourne Tarrant) contains several treasures, including a marble font, which was almost certainly the gift of Bishop Henri de Blois, the very well-connected Bishop of Winchester 1129-71. He was a grandson of William the Conqueror, and a brother of King Stephen. He is also known to have had a special devotion to St Mary and it is thought that the St Mary Bourne Chapel was his deliberate choice for the installation of a rare Baptismal Font honouring St Mary with the spring fed – pure water from the River Bourne.
Look downstream for the huge nine-arch viaduct on the edge of the village which was constructed in mid 19th century as the main rail line between Salisbury and London This is not a principal route any longer. On the other side of the viaduct are numerous watercress beds managed by Vitacress.
The George Inn
St Mary Bourne
George Inn or slightly further up the lane Bourne Valley Inn, St Mary Bourne.
George Inn, St Mary Bourne www.georgeinnstmarybourne.co.uk
Bourne Valley Inn, St Mary Bourne www.bournevalleyinn.com
Hurstbourne Tarrant is on a regular bus route to Newbury and Andover. St Mary Bourne has a regular bus route to Andover.
Hurstbourne Tarrant playing fields OS Explorer Map 131: SU350530
St Mary Bourne playing fields OS Explorer Map 131: SU420505