Weekend Walk: Steep and Ashford Chace

Starting at the village of Steep, near Petersfield in Hampshire. We parked next to the church, just next to Bedales School, attended by Lily Allen, Daniel Day-Lewis and John Wyndham. Just the three of them. In a class together. The church has an interesting wood beamed tower, with tile cladding.

Steep Church

It was a sunny morning, and walking through the woods was delightful. Such abundance of new growth, and the bluebells near their full glory.

Bluebells Path

Bluebells Wood

This area between Ashford Hangers and Petersfield is known as Little Switzerland. Very little. But quite charming. The hangers rise sharply to the north west.

Bushy Hill

I like how the puce of the smaller tree brings out the colour of the copper beech’s new leaves:

Blossom and Beech

Back into the woods and across Ashford Stream. Dappled light all around.

Ashford Stream

Ashford Stream

More bluebells in this wood, as we headed north:

Bluebells, Steep Marsh

And cute footbridges:

The Moors, Steep Marsh

Approaching Steep Marsh Farm, some creatures in the woods. The sharp-eyed cockerels and the pigs, rooting and curious. The pigs seemed very happy and had plenty of room to dig, eat, roam amongst the trees. They liked the tree barks and eating sticks.

Cockerel, Steep Marsh Farm

Curious (90/365)


Then to some more huge farm sheds, probably for chickens. At least they had the RSPCA Freedom Foods sign on the shed, but I couldn’t help thinking what it was like in there. I’ve worked in sheds like this and there’s not a lot of room for each chicken, and no natural light.

Industrial Farming

Out of the woods, towards Mill Lane, the sky opened up. Splendid clouds today.

Bushy Hill

A short walk down Mill Lane towards Ashford Chace

Mill Lane

I like these early 20th Century-style road signs:


At Ashford Farm in this old shed you could buy free range eggs, and a variety of organic meats. Just leave your money and take what you want. How’s that for trust?

Free Range Food For Sale In Here

Then views to the Hangers. Cool names: Shoulder of Mutton Hill and Stoner Hill. The trees in various stages of leaf, giving many textures and colours to the woods.

Shoulder of Mutton Hill

Stoner Hill

Then we picked up the Hangers Way and headed south, catching a glimpse of Ashford Chace House through the trees. Built in 1912, it is now apartments.

Ashford Chace, 1912

Further south there has been some work done to open up the path to the pools near the springs. Very clean water. We felt like floating in it, and exploring the waterways.

Little Langleys

Little Langleys

But this Canadian Goose might not have been pleased if we had:

Canadian Goose

More white clouds and blue above the new green:

Little Langleys

And then a lovely surprise just off the Hangers Way. A Waterfall! And not two miles from Petersfield. I’d have never have guessed it was there. Not sure about the red parasol though:

Little Langleys Waterfall

Nearing the end of the walk, looking back to Oakhurst Farm and Little Langleys:

Oakhurst Farm

And back through Northfield Wood to the church.

Steep Church Steeple

We saw such variety in a small area. I really liked Little Switzerland and will definitely walk here again.


4 thoughts on “Weekend Walk: Steep and Ashford Chace

  1. Dear Mr. Toms,
    Many thanks for allowing me to download your images of your walk around Ashford Chace.
    I used to live near there at ‘The Island’ in the late fifties when a small boy attending Dunhurst(Bedales junior-school).
    The waterfall was there then, allowing water to flow from a large pond and you could climb up along side, from the footpath at the bottom.
    Sadly the area was bought by a local architect who built an ultra-modern glass-box house on the edge of the pool. It really stood out, as the site was open to the road.
    Stoner-Hill and the beech-hangars with the Edward Thomas memorial stone are very worth walking from The Gatehouse with tremendous views but it is a real climb from the road.
    Thanks again and good luck with the Yoga and keep walking.
    Peter Trelease.

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