Not quite as well known as Stonehenge, but impressive is an appropriate word to describe this most massive of prehistoric monuments. Whereas about eighty large Sarsen stones were used in the construction of Stonehenge, it is reckoned that about six hundred were used in the construction of Avebury. About one hundred Sarsens between three and four meters high were used in the outer circle of 350 meters diameter, the remainder in two smaller inner circles of 100 metres diameter and a long avenue to the `Sanctuary´ on Overton Down. The B4003 road traces the route of the avenue for much of the distance, whilst Avebury lies on the A 361 road. Avebury also boasts an Anglo-Saxon Church, a couple of Museums and a 16th Century Manor House. Nearby is the tallest prehistoric mound in Europe, at Silbury, and a large Neolithic burial tomb, the West Kennet Long Barrow. If you have an interest in standing stones or stone circles, this is well worth a day’s visit.
Avington. TOP of PAGE
5 Miles NE A pretty thatched village in the Itchen valley. There is a lovely park and a fine Georgian church containing much mahogany work. Avington Park House, a fine Georgian Palladian mansion, hosts various fairs and exhibitions from time to time.
26 miles SW An attractive old village, with the remains of an old Abbey founded for the Cistercians by King John in 1204. At Palace House, Lord Montague of Beaulieu maintains a now famous collection of vintage vehicles at the National Motor Museum. Both the Abbey and Museum are open daily from 10.00am except Christmas Day.
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2 miles south of Beaulieu, this picturesque 18th Century village was the place where over 50 naval ships and numerous merchant vessels were built around the time of Nelson. H.M.S. Agamemnon, Nelson’s favourite ship was built here. A Maritime Museum and Historic Cottage displays record life in the 18 century. Cruises are available on the river.
11 miles SE An attractive town and ancient market place, with an old ruined Castle founded by Henry de Blois in 1136.
Chawton. TOP of PAGE
17 miles NE. This village is famous as the location of Jane Austen´s House, the 17th Century red brick house where she wrote many of her novels. Administered by the Jane Austen Memorial Trust, the house is open 11 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. daily 1st March to 31st December (except Christmas Day and Boxing Day.) January & February Saturdays and Sundays. Admission Fee charged. Car Parking available. On 24 May 1817 Jane Austen moved to 8 College Street Winchester, and died there on 18th July 1817 at about 4.30 a.m., aged 41.
8 miles E. An attractive village on the River Itchen. The Royalists and the Parliamentarians fought on Cheriton Down in 1644.
Compton. TOP of PAGE
3 miles SW A settlement in the valley with evidence of the Bronze Age on the Downs, is a picturesque village with a long history. The Church, carefully enlarged to preserve its early origins, is of interest and of serene beauty.
5 miles NW A pretty village with many old buildings. Has rich literary associations, most notably those with William Thackeray.
3 miles NE. A small village with many thatched cottages. The Norman and Early English Church is of interest.
Farley Mount Country Park. TOP of PAGE
Not so far away, being just 10 miles SW of Winchester at Ampfield on the A31 road to Romsey, the Gardens and Arboretum are open every day 10.30am - 6.00pm, (Or at dusk if earlier) except for Christmas Bank Holidays. Founded in 1953 the 184 acres of gardens boasts a collection of some 42,000 plants of 12,000 different types. In 1977 they were given in trust to Hampshire County Council, who continue to expand and enhance the collections. In 1997 the Gardens were included in the Register of Parks & Gardens of Special & Historic Interest by English Heritage. At all times of year there is something to delight the eye. The site boasts the largest Winter Garden in the UK. An admission fee is charged. For details of charges and opening times visit their website http://www.hilliergardens.org.uk/
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5 miles SW. A village of quaint charm, with a high tech presence in the form of IBM laboratories in Hursley Park. In the Park are the remains of Merdon Castle, one time palace of the Bishops of Winchester, built in the 12th Century by Bishop Henry de Blois. The Church has a monument to Oliver Cromwell´s son, who is buried there.
10 miles SE. One of the loveliest valleys in Hampshire, it is best approached from Winchester by the Petersfield Road. It includes a number of charming villages and both Old Winchester Hill and
Beacon Hill command magnificent views of the Solent and the New Forest.
About 25 miles SW. Loads of open space, walks , woodland and villages. Most of the area is heather and heathland interspersed with Forestry Commission enclosures for the commercial production of timber, but there are still hundreds of acres of dense deciduous forest, little villages and busy towns. A good day out is to be had exploring the area. Try visiting the Owl Sanctuary at Crow near Ringwood (Tel 01425 476487) or the Otter , Owl and Wildlife Conservation Park at Longdown, Ashurst (Tel 01703 292408). The New Forest Museum in Lyndhurst High Street
10 miles SW. A picturesque market town with a beautiful Norman Abbey, built in the 10th Century. In the Abbey is the illuminated Romsey Psalter (1440), and other items of great artistic
8 miles NW. A pleasant little town on the River Test, famous for it´s fishing. The town now has many antique shops and the like. Both Stockbridge and it´s sister village of Horsebridge were ancient
river crossing places. With the decline of horse drawn transport Horsebridge never grew much beyond a little village, whereas Stockbridge prospered. It is believed that the town is founded on a marshy site that the Romans
stabilised with heather and soil, prior to building their road.
Amateurs and experts alike will stand and marvel at this World Heritage site. Despite the ravages of time and centuries of neglect the stone circles still have the power to impress, and to set the mind to wonder.
8 miles E. A lovely village, home of the Tichborne family for many centuries. The Mansion House in Tichborne Park is 19th Century. There is an interesting old church which is partly Saxon.
10 miles NW. A beautiful village with thatched and timbered cottages, on the River Test near Andover, and the site of a well-known Benedictine Nunnery, now a ruin.
Singleton, just North of Chichester, is the home of this wonderful Museum for ancient buildings. A registered charity, this organisation rescues and preserves notable buildings that are
threatened by neglect or demolition, and are good examples of their type. The techniques used are a mix of high tech and traditional, with the accent on Traditional. Exhibits on display include a working 17th century
water-mill, a Tudor Farmstead, a timber framed Medieval Hall, Barns, a Victorian schoolroom complete with blackboard and benches, a Toll House, a charcoal burners camp, and all sorts of other buildings both great and humble...
In all over 40 regional historic buildings set in 50 acres of Sussex countryside. There are many classes available, and the visitor can watch craftsmen working on restoration projects. There are a good range of both
static and interactive displays, and the children’s `hands on´ area is well worth a visit. For the conservation minded there are specialist training classes where the very best researchers and craftsmen pass on their
knowledge and skills. The Museum is well worth the entrance fee, but you will need a whole day if you want to do a complete tour. For access times, events and travel information Tel 0345 959099.
Whitchurch Silk Mill is in North Hampshire, in the centre of the small town of Whitchurch on the River Test. It is on the edge of the North Wessex
Downs area of outstanding natural beauty, not far from Watership Down. It is also located within easy reach of Salisbury Plain and Stonehenge.