In autumn 2017, Whitchurch Walkers are Welcome volunteers, alarmed by the latest round of cuts to their local bus timetables, secured a Partnership Grant from Stagecoach South to produce the first two in a series of bus walks aimed to increase footfall; the walks have proved popular ever since.
Two years later, the third leaflet in the series explores the rarely walked trails over the downs to the south west between Whitchurch and the early Saxon settlement of Bullington, just south of the A303. The 6.5 mile trail takes in the open vistas across the downs towards Danebury Rings Iron Age Hillfort and the beautiful Rivers Test and Dever; two of Hampshire’s finest chalk streams.
For those interested in railway heritage, this mapped walk closely follows the route of the old dismantled railway line that once ran from Didcot-Newbury-Southampton. North of Whitchurch much of the old line is now lost under the A34, but to the south west the embankment is largely intact and includes a number of splendid Victorian brick railway arches along the way. At Bullington the path goes up and over the old railway embankment with clear views along the old track bed.
With the country’s rural bus services seemingly under constant review, well designed bus walks can appreciably add to the footfall; they say ‘use it or lose it’, so get out there this autumn, hop on a bus and enjoy the walk!
A pdf of the walk is available for free download at www.whitchurchwalks.net