North Hampshire Downs Ramblers step out for Children in Need

By Anne Collis

Local organiser Anne Collis recently joined North Hampshire Downs Ramblers on her first walk as they step out to raise money for Children in Need.

At the beginning of October, I went for my first walk with the North Hampshire Downs group; this was also my first ramble since becoming a volunteer local organiser for the Ramblers. This walk was run by a very lovely lady called Fleur (very far left in the photo) and was part of the Countryfile’s initiative to get people rambling for Children In Need.

The walk itself was a pleasant 5-mile route in and around Hartley Wintney with relatively flat terrain throughout, so it wis ideal for all levels of walkers. There are a couple of roads that you do need to walk down and cross during this walk, so please remember to look out for your fellow walkers, as well as yourself. We didn’t have any problems with blocked access on any part of the walk but there is a field with horses that you do need to be mindful of whilst walking through it.

We all met in the centre of the village where there is a large car park and public toilets, so it makes an ideal starting point as the walk route loops back to here. Once everyone was primed and ready to go, we headed off down the nice looking high street and out towards the Causeway Common which has a lovely little pond.

The next place of interest along the walk is St. Mary’s Church with Gothic Revival and English Gothic architecture. After walking for a bit further through some woodlands, fields and along a couple of road stretches, we came to the woods at West Green Common. We took a break here and all put some money in the Children in Need box. Although I don’t exactly know how much was raised, around £50 is a good estimate. 

Once our break was over, we pressed on towards Hazeley Heath which takes us past the 18th century Hazeley House. Whilst walking through Hazeley Heath you will come across some random looking concrete structures, these were used during WWII to train troops in how to operate tanks in tricky conditions, such as extracting them from bogs. If you have a good knowledge of wild mushrooms, Hazeley Heath is also a good spot for a foray.

On your way out of Hazeley Heath you cross over the River Hart and then re-cross it when you near Riverside Farm on the start of your return to the village. Throughout this walk there was lots of beautiful autumn colours especially whilst walking through woodland areas.

It was great to be a part of this event and help raise some money for a great cause whilst doing something that I love at the same time. The people on this walk were so friendly and welcoming. If you fancy enjoying some autumnal colour and taking in a bit of local history, details of this walk can be found here.

Anne Collis joined the Ramblers in September as a volunteer local organiser. She lives in Basingstoke. Local organisers are our new campaign volunteers, who support our groups with local and national campaigns and raise the profile of the Ramblers locally. Find out more about local organisers here, or get in touch with laura.burley@ramblers.org.uk.