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Folkie 10th July 2019 02:25

Scot's Poor To Boscombe Down By Ancient Track, 9th July 2019
Yesterday I went on a ride along the ancient track, the Whіte Wаy, from Scot's Poor, through Ludgershall, and down to Boscombe Down.

The track is part of an ancient road that originally ran from the Inkpen Ridgeway at Scot's Poor to Old Sarum. It's now interrupted at the Allington track, in the middle of nowhere, because the land beyond there is now used by the MOD for Boscombe Down Airfield (:shhhh). I followed the original route of the track, as much as possible.

So, what does "Scot's Poor" mean? "Scot's" is a corruption of scout's, and suggests that the place was the location of a lookout post, and 'poor' may mean inhospitable, or a remote, desolate, place. I can imagine that the top of Silver Down was indeed a remote, inhospitable, place from which to have to keep a lookout!

There are various ancient and Medieval sites along the route:
  • Tow Barrow, a Neolithic longbarrow, near Scot's Poor.
  • The Medieval Ludgershall Castle, built on the site of an Irοn Agе fort. The Empress Matilda took refuge there as she retreated after defeat by Stephen's forces at the Rout Of Winchester (in 1141). At that time Winchester was the capital of the country.
  • Numerous Bronze Age and Irοn Agе bank and ditch earthworks (boundary earthworks, "Devil's Ditch").
  • Quarley Hill Irοn Agе hillfort.
This is the route I took to Scot's Poor:

Key to map routes:
• • •: Restricted byway, bridleway, or footpath; not legal to ride; and parts of the original route that cannot now be followed.
▬▬: Byway (Byway Open to All Traffic: BOAT) or unsurfaced, unclassified, public road; legal to ride.
▬▬: Metalled public road.
I went along the Α272 to Petersfield, stopping for petrol in Midhurst. Then up Stoner Hill (lovely bit of road) and to Alresford, and on country lanes to Micheldever Station. That included a mile and a ½ of unsurfaced road, from Abbotstone to Nοrthington.

This is at the start of the unsurfaced section:

and along the way:

Here's a video of someone riding that stretch of track:

From Micheldever Station, I went through Whitchurch and St Mary Bourne.

Between Whitchurch and St Mary Bourne:

St Mary Bourne:

Then up the Bourne/Swift Valley through Hurstbourne Tarrant, and up Conholt Lane to the Chute Causeway and Scot's Poor.

Here are three old pics of views from Chute Causeway over the Hippenscombe valley:

Scot's Poor, the start of the ancient track to the South West:

The old Scot's Poor Inn, now just a cottage:

This is the route along the ancient road, from Scot's Poor to Tidworth:
  • The first part of the track, which is still called Whіte Lаne, is a byway.
  • The route continues South as a bridleway, Water Lane, and instead I diverted to the West, following a byway (through Herridge Stud Farm) for a mile to a metalled road, then South West to The Shears Inn.
  • From The Shears Inn another byway goes East and then South East to rejoin the original route at Great Wickheath Copse.
  • South from Great Wickheath Copse towards Ludgershall the track is a byway called Blackmore Lane.
  • From Woods Farm, across Blackmore Down, past Ludgershall Castle, to Ludgershall it is just a footpath, requiring a short diverion to the East.
  • From Ludgershall to Tidworth I followed the main road. The original route may have been a little to the South, but in any case this is now MOD land, with barracks, firing ranges, and such.
This is the section from Scot's Poor to the Shears Inn road in more detail:

The unsurfaced roads I went on are marked in blue. Scot's Poor is in the top right of the map; the Shears Inn road is down the left side.

White Lane, heading South West from Scot's Poor (old pic):

Here's a video of someone riding the byway from Scot's Poor to Herridge Stud Farm:

I stopped at The Shears Inn, on the Cadley Road just outside Collingbourne Ducis for lunch.

The Shears Inn:

This is the section from The Shears Inn to Ludgershall in detail:

The Shears Inn is in the top left, where the blue tankard symbol is.

Here's a video of someone riding the byway from Cadley Road (near The Shears Inn) to Wοods Farm (near Ludgershall):

When I got to Ludgershall, I went to have a look at what remains of the castle. Massive earthworks, but little masonry:

This is the route from Tidworth to Boscombe Down:
  • From Tidworth to Shipton Bellinger I followed the main road. Again, the original route may have been a little to the East, over Furze Hill, but it's now military land, etc.
  • From Shipton Bellinger to the Amеsbury Rοad the ancient road is a byway, the Amesbury Way. There is a dogleg where it goes under the A303 through a short tunnel, but the original route was clearly a continuous straight line. The last part of this section is (rather poorly) surfaced.
  • The route continues from the Amеsbury Rοad to the Allington Track as a byway.
This is the section from Shipton Bellinger to the Amеsbury Rοad in more detail:

Here are some pics taken a little to the South West of Shipton Bellinger.

The direction I've come from:

and the way ahead:

Mostly it wasn't through trees, but it was a very warm day, and it was nice and cool under those trees, so that's where I decided to stop!

Here's the last section, from the Amеsbury Rοad to the Allington Track, in detail:

Here are some pics taken along that section.

Looking back:

and ahead:

Further on the track got a bit more overgrown.

The way I've come from:

and where I'm going:

Finally the end is in sight.

Looking back:

and towards Boscombe Down:

The lorry (truck), that you can just see the top half of above the grass, is on the Allington Track (it may be called 'track', but it's a normal road). Where the lorry is, is about where the unsurfaced track ends.

To the centre left of the pic you can see the Boscombe Down Airfield runway. That spec in the sky that looks like a squashed fly: that's a military helicopter. To the right of the lorry you can see some of the airfield buildings; Nissen Hut type things.

Here's a video of someone riding the byway from Shipton Bellinger to Boscombe Down:

This is my return route:

I went down the Allington Track to Allington, and along to Cholderton, then through Palestine (!), Kentsboro, and past Danebury hillfort to Stockbridge. From Stockbridge I went on one of my usual routes home via Crawley and then the Α272 (stopped for petrol in Winchester).

Total distance: 150 miles.

It was cloudy all day, but very warm. A great day out!

Glamazon 10th July 2019 10:36

Thanks Nigel, another great read & photos. Dad spent some time at Boscombe Down when in the RAF in the late 40s

rokytnji 10th July 2019 16:21

Your trip report lights a fire under my butt and makes me druther playng the lotto today hoping I can bring my Husky SM610 along for one of these english coutryside cruises.

Odds are never happening. But. Gonna throw a peso away today anyways.

sportsterpaul 11th July 2019 02:08

Some very interesting scenery, comes off as an adventure, thanks for sharing.

Ireeman 11th July 2019 03:37

This makes my heart warm...very proud of you Folkmon.

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