From town to countryside
- Credit: Archant
Richard Tyson enjoys a walk around Wickham Market and Pettistree
From the bus stop in the main square cross the road, go 20 yards to the right, then enter the churchyard. The tall spire can be seen from many points, even, it is said, from ships out at sea. Pass the tower and continue straight on through the graveyard.
Just before number 10 of a row of houses in front, turn left, then right in 15 yards. Keep straight and you are soon on a path between fences. When a tarred lane is reached, turn right. After another 250 yards go straight ahead on a footpath track marked Sandy Lane.
Pass underground buildings on the right, which are said to have been constructed for nuclear war defence purposes.
Cross over Chapel Lane and keep straight on beside a hedge, then straight ahead at the lane. When the lane goes right, you veer a little left, entering the nursery area. (Note the footpath sign pointing into the nursery.) Keep straight on until the reservoir is reached; go right here on a path, which fell into disuse but was revived a few years ago through the efforts of ramblers. Turn right at a stile and, when you reach the old main road (now B1438), cross over and turn left beside the road on a drive, which becomes a lane separate from the A12 slip-road. Soon this lane goes sharp right just after the entrance to Pettistree House and you continue straight on a footpath.
Observe the slip-road from the A12 down on the left and turn right near an advertisement hoarding. Your path crosses the field, then bears left when a small wood is reached. Find some steps down into the grounds of a large house. Keeping to the bottom of the slope, look in two minutes for a left-turning over a footbridge. Cross the bridge and go right through a field to Byng Hall farm. Keep straight at the first junction, then pass the farm buildings on your left until you reach the last one; bear left and pass through a gate on the left of a corrugated iron shed. Continue through woodland and emerge on a road at a sharp corner. Go right; then, just after a little bridge (40 yards), your route is left on a track through a grassy meadow in a pretty valley. Pass a small lake, where I rested on a big log (a short break is allowable on a footpath for purposes “connected with your journey”). Pass some cottages before Grove Farm is reached.
Cross over and enter the next path beside a fence on your right; this is a pretty country track fringed by woods and hedges. When a road is reached, turn right for 20 yards, then left onto a field path. Reach a road beside Pettistree Village Hall.
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Pettistree church and the Greyhound pub are 350 yards to the right, but our route goes left towards the distant spire of Wickham church. When the lane bends left, you turn right along a footpath and in three minutes cross a sleeper bridge on the left. Now you are on the playing field and the village hall is ahead, with the main street beyond.