The Test Way -Mottisfont to Kimbridge
Posted on June 23, 2016
The latest stretch of the the Test Way that doesn’t offer much of the River Test, was completed today as I undertook the relatively short trek from Mottisfont to Kimbridge and back, in total isolation.
I had no phone signal and there was not another human or dog in sight; just trees alive with birds, humid air, and lead grey skies that threatened much but thankfully, offered little. A bit like the England football team.
Starting at the Church of St Andrew, I walked down a tarmac lane, somewhat originally called Church Lane (if you have a dog you may need a lead) until it gradually filtered into a gravel track before guiding me across a pretty if not spectacular meadow.
As I walked across the meadow, I once again found myself lamenting the lack of the River Test that along the Test Way, is about as rare as seeing a Kingfisher on your garden bird table. However, as the field meandered towards some woods I did spot a bridge yonder.
As I approached it, I realised that there was indeed a small section of river on this walk but alas, it was not the River Test but the rather less celebrated, River Dun. When I say less celebrated, I mean that I have never heard of it before.
Apparently the River Dun rises at West Grimstead near Salisbury and eventually joins The Test near Kimbridge, today’s destination, further adding to my brain’s bulging useless information department and putting itself high up on the agenda of my forthcoming book, ‘How to Enjoy Yourself’.
Despite seeing the River Dun, there is no ‘Dun Way’ near the Test Way but I did notice that I was also on a walk called ‘The Monarch’s Way’. “That’s another walk to add to my list” I thought to myself smugly.
Apparently the Monarch Way was the route taken by Charles II in 1651 after being defeated in the Battle of Worcester. It zig zags from Worcester to Brighton and is around 625 miles in length, leaving me to curtail my earlier ambition of walking the length of it, with the first words coming into my head being, “Fuck that!”
So over the bridge I went and up into some thick woods that were alive with treecreepers, nuthatches and green woodpeckers. The track through the woods is excellent walking terrain but you are heavily penned in by fences either side with plenty ‘KEEP OUT’ signs to remind you that you are a mere peasant and general nuisance in the heart of Hampshire landowner territory.
The walk then takes you across a railway bridge, down through some more woodland and into a meadow and onto Kimbridge Lane, which is a winding road and not to be recommended if you have a dog with a similar brain capacity as mine.
It is here where you can look at the River Test from the road and it is a beautiful river, but if you attempt to go near it, there is fair chance you might find your anus on the receiving end of a landowner’s shotgun.
As I walked back to my car, I took in as much as I could, because, with so much new walking territory to cover, it is a walk that I am never likely to do again.
Next up, Kimbridge to Awbridge.