Saturday, August 22, 2009

Test Way #11: Dodgy signage

There is little doubt that the third leg was simply brilliant in all respects, although if I had one critisism, it would be the signposting. There are plenty of waymarkers on The Test Way but, at crucial points between Stockbridge and St Mary Bourne they went completely AWOL and almost resulted in us taking long diversions that wouldn't have been ideal when we already had 13.5 miles to do!

So if you're walking the route in future remember these key points:

1) When the route comes alongside The Mayfly Pub (although this isn't particularly visible from the path) you leave the old railway line and cross the road towards Wherwell. The crossing point is a junction of the A3057 and a local road and there are a couple of footpath options here - make sure you get the right one!

2) We accidentally left The Test Way when we got to Wherwell. There is a point when you move along a very narrow cutway at the back of some houses and once you are through this the waymarks are non-existent. We turned right towards the village centre and, quite by accident, found the path again shortly afterwards. However we should, I think, have gone straight on. If we had OCD about this walk then we would have gone back and rewalked that section!

3) At several points between Longparish and St Mary Bourne the waymarks have their own signposts, and we saw three of these that had broken and been laid into the hedge or long grass. Be careful not to go off in the wrong direction by trying to guess!

Best thing is to have a good local map with you and try to work it out from that!

Luckily we were so in awe of the scenery and the countryside, that it hardly mattered. It was definitely a feature of this leg, however, and something to watch out for!

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