Beacon Hill and Exton is a 7.3 mile loop trail located near East Meon, Hampshire, England that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options.

Length7.3 miElevation gain885 ftRoute typeLoop
HikingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingRunningForestPub walk
Description
Waypoints (6)
Getting There

A circular walk from the Beacon Hill National Nature Reserve on the South Downs, near Warnford in Hampshire. (NOTE: There are two Beacon Hills in Hampshire, this is the one near Warnford, not the one near Burghclere). This peaceful circuit takes you through the rolling landscape of the Meon Valley, following quiet tracks and paths across chalk grassland and through beautiful sections of dense woodland. About two thirds of the way round, the route leads you through the pretty village of Exton with thatched cottages, a beautiful church and the River Meon flowing through the bottom of the pub garden. At the summit of Beacon Hill you will be rewarded with stunning views of the Solent and Isle of Wight. The walk has several climbs and descents throughout, including a fairly steep climb up to the top of Beacon Hill at the end. The paths can be very muddy at times and the chalk can also be slippery so good boots are a must. You will need to negotiate several gates plus 12 stiles (all of which either have gaps alongside for most dogs to pass through or should be low enough for dogs to hop over). On the outward leg to reach Exton village most of the paths are enclosed tracks but you will cross two pastures that may be holding cattle. The return leg follows the South Downs Way and you have a choice to follow the walkers route (which crosses multiple cattle pastures and includes 6 of the stiles) or the bridleway route which follows a quiet lane. Approximate time 3.5 hours.

The walk starts at the unmade countryside car park for Beacon Hill National Nature Reserve (which has parking for about 10 cars in amongst the trees) located about 2 miles west of the A32 at Warnford. The post code SO32 3LB will take you to Warnford village from where you will need to follow these directions. Head south through Warnford on the A32 and, immediately after passing the flint garden wall of Warnford House and a small triangular green on your right, turn right into the unsigned side road (Wheely Down Road). Follow this lane for 1.8 miles, go straight ahead at the first tiny crossroads (don't blink or you may miss this) and then turn sharp left at the larger staggered crossroads (onto Beacon Hill Lane). Follow the lane for 0.6 miles and you will find the unmade parking area on your left (on a right-hand bend in the lane).

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Reviews (80)
Photos (138)
Activities (59)
Completed (158)
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Lou Dee
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WalkingGreat!
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Noelle Webb
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HikingGreat!
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Lana Mullins
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Hiking
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Monika Grotowska
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HikingGreat!

One of my favourite walk amazing views and good distance

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Dean M
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WalkingGreat!

Great trail and good instructions. Very dry underfoot. There is a long section of ‘dogs on lead’ between Betty Mundy’s and Exton. Nice views at the end on Beacon Hill.

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Alexander Kent-Braham
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Hiking

So pleasureful

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Justin Draper
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Hiking

Beautiful walk, not too physical but the walk up the hill at the end is a little steep at times. Worth it for the view at the end!

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Philip T
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RunningMuddy

Really nice trail run. Good views and well sign posted.

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Sean Doyle
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Hiking

Bit of a climb at the end but well worth it. Took us almost 3 hours but this was with multiple photo stops - couldn't not stop and enjoy the view

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Jacqueline Fieldsend
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Hiking

Breezing, brrrr but well worth the muddy climb , Fabulous day to be at the top

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deirdre wright
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Hiking

beautiful mainly off road through hedgerows and open countryside. u fortunate the shoe pub is closed in lockdown

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Greig Wileman
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Hiking

Very muddy in places but lovely walk. I would recommend doing it in reverse to get the steep hills out the way at the beginning!

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Hazel Atkins
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Hiking

very muddy and slippery at points but some beautiful views and well planned route

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Dale Douglas
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Hiking

First time I've made this trip and really enjoyed it. The going was good underfoot and the weather was dry and mild. Slight muddy patches but you wouldn't know it looking at my boots!

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lewis hope
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HikingGreat!Muddy
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Hansi Karu
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HikingGreat!

Nice walk. We walked counter clock wise and towards the end of the route you need to climb but it’s a nice finisher with great views.

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Luke Newman
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Hiking

lovely only saw 2 people!

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Nick Ashley
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Hiking
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Pickled Tiger
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Hiking
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shanice Rowland
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Hiking

beautiful views, i did have to navigate my two dogs over about ten stiles along the way - luckily they are small spaniels! ,some of the walk there's signage to keeps dogs on a lead, but all in all had a lovely walk

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Catherine Davis
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HikingGreat!

We started the trail at Exton and from there went anti clockwise. The instructions are good, there is a complicated bit before and around the ‘Betty Mundy’s Bottom’ area so keep alert. Excellent view from the top of Beacon hill, route goes through idyllic agricultural fields, woodland and steep rocky footpaths. We took a leisurely 3 hours. There is a good pub in Exton and a shop in nearby Meonstoke.

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Mark Haller
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HikingOff trailPrivate property

A nice enough trail in some beautiful countryside. It was over 12km for us. The agricultural work in the fields meant you couldn’t follow field edges easily. Disappointed the length was way more than described as we are all beat now! The village of Exton is beautiful!

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Sophie Wilkins
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Hiking

This was definitely one of our favourite routes in the area! The instructions for this route are so detailed and make perfect sense at every stage (also loved the history to it). The views are incredible and the town of exton is so picturesque. We barely saw anyone whilst on this walk, be prepared to walk up a steep incline at the end, but the views are well worth it! We were lucky to not cross any paths with cattle!

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j Moore
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Walking

We went on a lovely overcast summers day. The route is very well explained. It took us to some really beautiful places. We took our 6 and 7 year old and it took us four and a half hours owing to their little legs and many stops to rest, look at the ponies, sheep, crops and playing wizards in the forests! The village was so picturesque and unfortunately because of covid we could not stop at the pub, but it would have been a welcome break before going up the last steep hill... maybe next time! We took the bridleway route option at the end, we did have to squeeze into bushes to let cars past and it was quite steep. This was a well thought out route with some lovely snippets of information. Our 6 year old said it was the best walk they've ever been on!

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Jonny Gulliver
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Hiking

Very pleasant walk trough fields and forest. Instructions where very detailed. Awesome views from top of the hill at the end of the walk. Took us 3 hours.

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Emma Collyear
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Hiking

Great trail and beautiful scenery. Thoroughly enjoyed all the stages. Map and directions were easy to follow. Stopped for a 15min sandwich break but at a good pace, this took us 3hrs 10mins to walk.

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Will Osborne
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Hiking

really beautiful trail. easy to follow and great views from the top of the hill. will definitely do again

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Louise Case
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Hiking

Did this walk with my 73 year old father. We did it in reverse so walked down Beacon hill. He still found it a bit hard going towards then end. A lovely walk and amazing views. Not too muddy considering all the rain! Took the dog and he loved it. Had to detour as a field of bulls! But fab none the less.

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