Andrew Fendick: January 2017
On Monday 2nd January 2017, over 30 of us gathered at St Andrews to walk to Bridge Street. It was a glorious morning with bright sunshine, blue skies and a chill breeze to keep us cool as we walked, a perfect winters day.
The walk had been organised by the Bridge Street Wednesday Wanderers home group and planned by John Goulding, who also supplied some interesting historical information about the places we passed on the way, some of which is included below.
The walk started by heading west along Weyhill Road, past the line of shops. During the second world war the 'Linga-Longa' cafe was where the Co-Op store now stands and in the 1940's an American Bomber, very badly shot-up, was trying to reach Andover airfield at the top of Weyhill Road. It was so low it took the top of the cafe's chimney off, crossed the road and landed in the field before crashing into Ashfield Road houses. There were no civilian casualties but, sadly, the crew were killed.
We then turned right into Upper Drove and walked down to the junction with Harrow Way. Harrow Way is one of the earliest by-ways in the area, pre-dating roman occupation and was used to transport copper or tin to the cinque ports.
From Harrow Way we took the path towards Charlton Lakes, coming out near the play area.
John pointed out the line of 1980's houses on Foxcotte Road to the North of this point. An archaeological dig had revealed the ruins of an ancient hamlet in this area which had been abandoned in 1665 when someone returned from London bringing the Black Death.
We turned East here and walked beside Charlton Lakes.
Here we joined the 'The River Anton Way', a path that goes from Charlton Lakes all the way through to Chilbolton where it meets the 'Test Way'. We crossed Charlton Road and then went under Goch Way to Anton Lakes. Until 1963 the lakes were known as the 'gravel pits' where Marshall's Farm had excavated. We followed the path round the edge of the lakes to the point where the River Anton leaves the lake as a crystal-clear stream.
The River Anton picks up water from Shepards Spring here and then it then heads towards the centre of Andover. We walked beside it passing Homebase, Wickes and The Range and under Northern Avenue to come out at Shepards Spring Lane. We lost sight of the river here as it past behind the houses and commercial premises but we soon picked it up again at Charlton Road near the Folly roundabout. John pointed out a culvert that feeds water from a spring in the middle of Western Avenue into the River Anton at this point.
The last leg of our walk took us down Western Avenue with the river on our left, but mostly hidden by foliage, towards The Town Mills. Andover Town Mills is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. It was rebuilt in 1964 and last milled in 1974. It is now a public house. But its offerings didn't tempt us as we headed past towards our destination at Bridge Street and a very welcome cup of soup.