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Godshill and Castle Hill

Godshill and Castle Hill

This walk takes you along quiet field and woodland paths to the site of an Iron Age hill fort

It then continues to a stream-side hamlet on the edge of Castle Hill. There are views across the beautiful Avon Valley with its wildlife-rich water meadows and pasture and an optional detour to Castle Hill fort before returning along field and woodland paths to Godshill.

Frankenbury is the site of an Iron Age hill fort that strategically overlooks the Avon Valley. The steep natural slopes on your left form the western and southern side defences of the fort. The north east sides were defended by simple a bank and ditch. The fort encloses eleven acres and various artefacts have been found including Iron Age and Roman pottery and coins.

  • Start/finish: Bus stop outside Fighting Cocks, pub, Godshill. Grid ref. SU 175 149, Postcode SP6 2LL
  • Ordnance Survey map: Explorer OL 22 New Forest
  • Getting there: New Forest Tour red route (seasonal open top service).
  • Distance: 2.6 miles (4.2 km), 3.6 miles (5.8 km) with detour
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Local facilities: Fighting Cocks pub. Parking is available for pub users. There is a Forestry Commission car park at Godshill cricket pitch about 400m east along Roger Penny Way.
  • Accessibility: Mostly easy walking with gentle gradients. Gates, two stiles and a footbridge. Woodland tracks can be muddy.

1. Kissing gate

Starting at the bus stop head downhill past the village hall. Turn left at the waymarker and through a kissing gate into a field, following the hedge on your left. Go through the metal gate in the field corner and turn right following the hedge, now on your right.

2. Left to Sandy Balls

Leave the field through a wooden gate, follow an enclosed footpath and turn left towards Sandy Balls Holiday Park. At the next waymarker turn right through a gate and right again following the road along the edge of a campsite. Continue straight ahead where the road becomes a gravel footpath. Pass utility works on your left and follow the path through an old beech wood and along the edge of Frankenbury Fort.

3. Metal gate

Follow the path as it bends left downhill and turn right off the path through a waymarked metal gate into a wood. In spring see if you can spot primroses, bluebells, wood anemone and creeping buttercups. Go through another gate. Please keep dogs under close control to reduce disturbance to wildlife and livestock grazing on the pastures.

4. Folds Farm

As you emerge from the woodland turn left onto a gravel track towards Folds Farm. At the track junction turn right to join the Avon Valley Path for a short section. Continue straight ahead through the farm and over a stream. At the waymarker, cross over a cattle grid and follow the gravel track straight ahead to join the road.

5. Detour to Castle Hill

Optional detour: You can now turn left and  follow the road uphill along the ridge to Castle Hill fort. It was built in 1148 on the site of an earlier Iron Age hill fort and you can still see its medieval earthworks in the form of a ringwork and bailey. Then continue to Castle Hill car park for panoramic views west across the Avon Valley and beyond to the chalk hills of Wiltshire.

6. Bridge across a stream

Turn right and follow the road for 80m and take your first right down a gravel track alongside houses. Continue following this lower track, which becomes an enclosed grassy track past a cottage. Ahead is a wooden bridge with a stile across a stream flowing alongside a meadow.

7. Track junction

Cross over and follow the path alongside the stream and over a stile into the next field. Go straight on across two more fields with gates. At the third waymarked gate turn right onto a gravel track and through a wide gate uphill to the track junction. At the waymarker go straight ahead uphill through a wood. Turn right at the field gate and retrace your steps alongside the hedge to the first waymarker. Turn right through the gate to re-join the road and back uphill to the Fighting Cocks pub.

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