North Wessex Downs
The North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is located in the counties of Berkshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire. The area is perhaps better known by its individual areas of the Marlborough and Watership Downs, the Berkshire Downs, the White Horse Hills, the Lambourn Downs, the Vale of Pewsey and Savernake Forest.
Ultimately it is the highly attractive and unspoilt villages and sense of isolation that are the primary attractions of the area. For those looking for a truly breathtaking walk then the North Wessex Downs will be sure not to disappoint with footpaths which provide access to some of the most spectacular views and secluded valleys in southern England.
It was the Watership Downs, based in north Hampshire, on which the famous book by Richard Adams: 'Watership Down' was actually based. Richard Adams grew up around the area so was able to use the breathtaking views as stimulation for his first and most famous novel.
The Watership Down Trail is an invigorating cycle ride which takes in some of Hampshire's finest scenery. The route begins on a quiet country lane out of Kingsclere followed by a challenging off-road climb to the top of Ladle Hill. The route continues along the ridge of Watership Down, south past North Oakley, through Ibworth and off road back to Kingsclere. Download the cycling route map and chose between the 9 or 17 miles long trail.
Whitchurch off road cycle trail is a challenging trail covering many of the places that were also an inspiration for Richard Adams' 'Watership Down'. Stunning views from Woodcott Down and Ladle Hill contrast with the picturesque Hampshire villages of St. Mary Bourne and Binley.