I like Basingstoke. I think it’s a bit of an underrated destination. A good place for a spot of shopping, keeper of a couple of lovely parks, lots of nice walking. I wrote a bit about exploring Basingstoke here, I’d love you to have a read.
Modern Basingstoke is a bustling town, but there is a little corner of it that keeps ties with country life and a more traditional way of doing things. One way of experiencing this is to take a walk across Basingstoke Common and into the village of Old Basing.
It’s a lovely walk at any time, but Summer into Autumn you’ll likely have some extra company. Basingstoke Common is home for some of the year, to lots of grazing horses. Of all sizes, of many different coats but generally all pretty friendly.
Some are very friendly indeed. Here and there, one will walk with you for a while. Or come in close for a scratch and a nuzzle. If you stand still, the most social of them will come to you. They are curious and seem very used to people and dogs coming and going.
The practice of the common being used to graze goes back to medieval times. Now it’s a tradition maintained on the edge of a modern town. You can stand with the horses and look across to the high rise buildings of modern Basingstoke but it’s only a short roadside walk into historic Old Basing.
A wander into the village take you past pretty brick homes and traditional cottages. On a grander scale, you can’t miss the grand old gates of Basing House or the Great Barn that belonged to it. All that is left to explore of the once grand country house are the ruins, but they are set in extensive grounds and pretty gardens.
The ‘dog friendly’ board with the handsome illustration caught our eye, we just crossed our fingers that The Wolf would tick the ‘well behaved’ box. He did, more or less. Once inside, the human bar staff were lovely but it was the tiny four legged team member that really stole our hearts. Love a puppy spot.
The Crown is a welcoming, traditional village pub in the heart of the village. Definitely drop in if you’re in the area. Find them on Instagram as @the_crown_old_basing and on Facebook here. Go on, give them some love. Hospitality needs some support just now.
Post beer garden, the road from the pub wanders through the village. Past pretty homes, the village bakery and down to the church. The Church is a pretty one. Imposing, stood proudly in a sprawling churchyard. Large patches of the older sections have been turned over to nature and are managed to be wildlife friendly. A path loops through, past ancient graves and trees that have grown into strange, twisted shapes around them.
This would be quite the place for a night time walk or a Halloween wander. I’d be up for it, would you?
Just by the church, the war memorial. Every town and village has one, but it’s never ‘see-one-seen-em-all’. There’s always time to pause, if only for a minute.
And next to that, possible the most creative use of old stones I’ve seen in a while. A bench pulled together with grave stones. All from one family? A grave themed bit of upcycling? No idea. I quite like it anyway.
Exit the church yard and it’s an easy wander back to the common and back to the starting point. You could make this walk as long as you like by picking up the Basing Trail and heading into Basingstoke.
But sometimes all you need is to stretch the legs with good company, a village pub and a historic corner of old Hampshire. oh, and some friendly horses.
I’m joining in with Jo’s Monday Walk with this post. There’s some fabulous walks from all over the world on Jo’s Monday posts, do go and have a read.