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Watership Down, Hampshire

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Published July 29th 2021
In search of the real Watership Down
If you've ever read the novel by Richard Adams, or been traumatised by the 70s movie version, you may have wondered whether Watership Down is a real place.

In the book, Watership Down is the safe haven that Hazel, Fiver and the other rabbits try to reach when their home at Sandleford is threatened by humans.

Adams didn't just invent these names, as every location in the book was based on an actual place. Watership Down is in Hampshire, on the southern edge of the North Wessex Downs, and is a lovely backdrop for a walk.

Can you visit Watership Down
View from Watership Down


Here are a few different viewpoints you might want to explore:

White Hill car park

The easiest way to visit Watership Down is to park at White Hill.

Starting from St Mary's Church in Kingsclere, drive along Swan Street. After about a mile, you'll see two car parks on opposite sides of the road, with a footpath leading off to the right.

It's a nice, easy walk towards Watership Down, with some great views along the way.

Watership Down
It's a gentle climb along good quality paths


At the top of the hill, you'll find this little tribute to Richard Adams.



Apparently, this is the exact spot where Adams decided his fictional rabbit warren should be located. There used to be an old beech tree here and he imagined the rabbits living underneath it. The tree has since fallen, although a new one has been planted in the same spot.

If you know the story, you'll recognise some of the names carved into the fence here.



Circular walk from Kingsclere

This circular walk has some of the best views of Watership Down. The full route is about four miles, but it's an easy walk and you can cut off the second half if you don't feel like it.

You start off walking through farmland, which when I visited was full of small tortoiseshell butterflies.

Small tortoiseshell butterfly
This is a good place to see butterflies


Follow the map and you'll find several different views of Watership Down in the distance. My favourite is probably this one near the start, as the fields are sometimes filled with poppies.

Poppies
Watership Down in the distance


Beacon Hill

If you don't mind a steep climb, the prehistoric hillfort on Beacon Hill offers a good view of Watership Down in the distance.

Beacon Hill viewpoint
View of Watership Down from Beacon Hill


There are plenty of other interesting things to see from Beacon Hill, so check out my other article if you're thinking of doing this walk.

You can also see Watership Down from the top of Greenham Common control tower, although the view from there is quite distant. If you find any other good viewpoints please let me know!
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Why? See the real place behind the story
When: Any time
Where: Near Kingsclere, Hampshire
Cost: Free
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