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Walking the Test Way

Part five - West down, Chilbolton to Stockbridge

Distance: 3 miles    

Approx time: 1-2 hours

This part of the route uses an old dismantled railway line to lead you down to Stockbridge. The river is always beside you, peeping through the trees, passing the village of Leckford and it is worth taking a detour to the bridge as you pass Longstock which is really pretty.

You could consider adding an additional 4 miles (and a bit more if you walk round the ramparts) from Longstock to walk up to Danebury Ring which is a 2.5 mile walk (additional 5 miles out and back).

Danebury Ring is a large Iron Age Hill Fort and evidence found suggests that the fort was built 2500 years ago and occupied for nearly 500 years (700BC to AD43). Large beech trees around the perimeter of the earth works make the site prominent in the surrounding landscape.

In the hill fort you can see the 'ring' of ramparts and the once hidden gateway. The earth works around the entrance give a feel for the success of the Danebury defences. You may notice that the ground slopes to a high spot in the centre of the ring. This area was a focal point for religious gatherings and important meetings. The subtle dips in the ground are where the grain stores used to be. These dips are the only visible evidence of past excavations.

Life was short and harsh in the Iron Age. Danebury was predominantly a farming community, the people kept sheep and cattle, wove woollen cloth and made leather goods. As Danebury had few natural resources it relied on trade with other areas to get iron, tin, copper, salt, shale and stone. It is likely that woollen products and grain were traded in exchange for these.

A community of 300 to 400 people lived here for more than 400 years. There is evidence of 73 roundhouses, 500 rectangular buildings and thousands of deep storage pits. During this time one of the main tasks may have been to protect livestock and grain from attack by raiding parties. Men, women and children may all have had to fight off invaders by hurling sling stones. Warriors fought with swords and sometimes used horse drawn chariots.*

If you have taken the detour to Danebury Ring, you will head back down to join the Test Way again at Longstock and complete the last mile of the disused railway which takes you to the top of Stockbridge High Street.

Stockbridge was first referred to in 1141. The main street is particularly wide, reflecting its earlier role as part of a drovers' road. It developed as a market town in the 13th Century, and is still thriving today. The wide main street rests on a chalk causeway built over the seven streams that make up the River Test. The water criss-crosses the high street, where you can take a break from your route to feed the huge trout or explore the many antiques and crafts shops, galleries, pubs and cafés.

*Danebury Hill Fort archaeological information source Hampshire County Council website.

River Test 1 (Longstock).jpg
River Test 1 (Longstock).jpg



Danebury  Ring

Stockbridge High street.jpg


Refreshments:  Lots of pubs and cafes to choose from along Stockbridge High Street Accommodation: The White Hart Stockbridge, is right on the Test Way

.Accommodation:  The Peat Spade, Longstock - 2.4 miles away

Public Transport:  Stockbridge has bus services to Andover, Salisbury and Winchester to get to Romsey you have to go via Winchester.

Parking: At West Down car park OS Explorer map SU390383

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