Whitchurch, historic mills on the River Test, woodlands, Freefolk village & pub!

  • March 15, 2014 · 10:15 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

A 7.5 mile walk from Whitchurch, a pretty Hampshire town on the River Test. The River Test is a world-famous trout stream. The walk gives you chance to see many of the former water mills that were at the heart of local industry producing everything from cloth to corn and paper along with the lovely village of Freefolk. The clear, iron-free water of the river is ideal for several industries, including silk-making. Overton's silk mill failed, but Whitchurch Silk Mill is still operating today. We will be stopping for a pub lunch in on the way.


An even more prominent local industry is paper-making. The industry was started in 1712 by Henri Portal, a Huguenot refugee who brought over the secret of watermarking paper. The business was so successful that he was soon able to transfer production from Bere Mill to the much larger Laverstoke Mill, a short distance upstream. Success was assured when the Portals won the contract to supply watermarked banknote paper to the Bank of England in 1727. The contract has continued to this day, although production is now at De La Rue's modern Overton Mill, alongside Overton station. 

The 7.5 mile route, on and near the River Test, follows a mixture of field and woodland paths along the way. There are just a few gentle climbs and descents but mostly flat.

What you need to bring/wear:

Suitable walking boots and waterproof layers including a coat. Warm clothing suitable for the temperatures at this time of year. It is your responsibility to ensure you are suitably kitted out. Water, money for lunch.

Getting There:

By car: 

Bell Street car park in Whitchurch is free and where the walk ends. Nearest post code RG28 7DD. 

By train: 

There is direct trains from London Waterloo taking only one hour. Good news again this walk starts from the station! 

Cost: usual meetup fee of £2 each, payable on the day.

Safety, terms and conditions: I am an experienced walker and a qualified outdoor first aider. First aid kits are carried on all walks. It is fully your responsibility to ensure you are well equipped and medically fit for this walk. Whilst all care is taken during this walking event, the group or it's organizer/event host is not liable in any way for any attendees death, injury or damage/theft of any attendees personal property during this walking event. By signing up for this meetup event you agree to these terms and conditions.

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  • Debra

    Thanks Katie for organising such a lovely walk. Gorgeous weather and a friendly group of people. My pub lunch was delicious and I just hope I will be allowed back in that pub after the dog incident! Extremely enjoyable day.

    1 · March 16, 2014

  • Diane

    A lovely day again! Good weather and a lovely route. Relaxed and enjoyable and as already mentioned a great lunch and tea with very tasty lemon drizzle cake. Felt fed in every way.
    Well done Katie.

    1 · March 16, 2014

  • Dave C.

    I really enjoyed the meetup, thanks to you all for your great company and Katie for her warm welcome. I hope you like the photos I have posted and look forward to seeing you all again soon. The tea and cakes really rounded off a fab day.
    kind regards Dave

    1 · March 15, 2014

  • Alan

    Thank you Katie just wonderful, a perfect walk, day and lovely people. Well done!
    I have some really nice photo iso if anyone would like me to send them some feel free to email me.
    Thanks again for a lovely day Alan

    1 · March 15, 2014

  • Pauline B.

    Had a really great day, thanks for organising Katie, weather good, company good, scenery good, food good, afternoon tea although I actually had a ginger beer - good, can't ask for more than that!

    2 · March 15, 2014

  • Christine W

    Beautiful day for such a lovely walk with interesting and varied scenery - and so enjoyable not least due to the pleasant company. Many thanks to all - especially Katie for organising.

    1 · March 15, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Ohhhh so sorry I, too, have to pull out...! :-/ I'm sure it will be a perfect day for this walk!!

    March 14, 2014

  • Ailish L.

    I am gutted having to pull out of this fabulous day with such beautiful scenery. Reason: I have been given a present of this weekend in Paris, with a ticket to see the Ireland v France game (6 Nations rugby) which I really enjoy, followed by an exciting evening in Paris - so I cannot turn it down, but I do hope this walk and opportunity will come around again very soon. Would love to participate, have a lovely day and no doubt I will hear all about it. Thanks. Ailish

    March 12, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry to have to pull out of this lovely walk due to a clash of events.

    March 12, 2014

  • Elizabeth

    Alas! I will be away this weekend

    February 9, 2014

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Rafaël

We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

Rafaël, started French Conversation Group

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