June Walks Giveaway: Alresford & the River Alre, Hampshire
This walk is reproduced from our popular walking book 'Waterside Walks in Hampshire'.
📥 To download this walk and take it with you, click here!
ALRESFORD & THE RIVER ALRE, HAMPSHIRE
Distance: 3 miles
A duck-thronged lake, a lovely old watermill, the River Alre (pron. Ah-rl), and a path which ranks among the county’s best for waterside interest and charm. These are yours to see and enjoy on this walk from the ‘watercress capital’ of Hampshire.
HOW TO GET THERE & PARKING
New Alresford is bypassed by the A31, the Winchester-Alton road, with turning-off points to it at roundabouts for those approaching from either direction. The town also has direct road links with Basingstoke and with the A272 at Cheriton, via the B3046.
Parking space can sometimes be found in Broad Street. However, the pay-and-display car park off Station Road, by Alresford station, is normally the best option and so our walk begins from there.
From New Alresford’s Station Road car park follow Station Road north down to join the town’s main street opposite the Bell Hotel. Turn right for a few yards, then go left into the well-named Broad Street. Keeping straight on down Mill Hill Lane at the bottom, soon you turn left along Ladywell Lane, a cul-de-sac with flanking cottages and paths leading to a hard-surfaced footpath with the River Alre to your right.
After a while on your left are the Alresford Memorial Gardens, on land that was presented to the community in 1951 by the late Sir Francis Lindley to commemorate the dead of two world wars. The river is then straddled by Alresford’s beautiful and picturesque old fulling mill. It bears on its end wall an ancient notice more than hinting at dire penalties for any who fish here without first obtaining permission from the owner of the fishery.
Your path continues beside the river, and eventually swings right past the end of a road called The Dean and into increasingly rural surroundings, with trees overhanging the water and open country on either hand. Soon you bridge the Alre’s fast flowing current as you skirt an old and derelict riverside building. With swirling water now on your left, continue to another footbridge over the water to your right. Cross, then your path emerges through trees to join a lane, which you follow ahead, going steadily uphill.
The path then levels out and you come to a gate which you pass through and follow a concreted lane going uphill to the right. This then leads to a metalled lane which you cross and continue diagonally left, onto a path which leads through the hedge on the opposite side. Keep on up the hill, with open fields on your left and a hedge on your right, not to mention a gorgeous view behind you. You pass over the peak with fine valley views before dropping down to a further quiet country lane, reached through the hedge on the right at the bottom. Turn right onto this lane for a few yards, then turn left along a signposted right of way which proves to be a very delightful hedged green lane.
Within a short distance you will come to a cross roads of lanes which you pass over. Then, shortly, you come to another junction where you turn right along another hedged green lane. Follow this going downhill to the right. When you reach the metalled farm road turn right along it. Follow this road with a hedge on your left and houses on your right and ignore all side turnings. The path then turns into a grassy path with high hedges at the side. When you reach the point where a yellow footpath sign on the right points to a gate, take this and beyond it, follow the lefthand hedge along farmland with distant views of Old Alresford church that looms up to your left. Pass through a wooden kissing gate and on
into the next field. There are now watercress beds on your left.
Soon you pass some cottages on the right, then you reach a metalled road, with a flint wall facing you, to turn left. Cross a small bridge above a clear, small tributary of the Alre and a good spot for spotting fish. The hedgerows here when we walked the route in late August were thick with blackberries and ripe sloes. Soon the road swings left and begins to go gently uphill. Just before you reach the main Basingstoke to Alresford road, by the 30 mph sign, turn right along a narrow metalled footpath that passes more (disused) watercress beds. Then pass Alresford’s Town Mill with its spectacular multi-tiered cascade. The mill has now been converted into apartments.
At the end of the building, turn left and go up some steps to cross a bridge with the river swirling noisily just below your feet. Join the main road opposite the Globe Inn.
After The Globe, continue up into Broad Street, passing the lovely Old Fire Station building with its red door, to return to your car.
- Alex Batho