What to do in Basingstoke: Walks around Squirrel Wood

We’ve all enjoyed discovering more ways to spend time safely outdoor this year, with walking high on the agenda. Here’s our top five great walks to experience in the local area:

Crabtree Plantation

Located just a few minutes from Basingstoke town centre, Crabtree Plantation is a nature reserve boasting beautiful woods and large open fields to enjoy a scenic and lengthy walk.

It’s the perfect place to take your furry friend as it’s dog friendly with plenty of space to run, plus there’s a pretty stream for those who like a paddle. Visiting Crabtree Plantation is a pocket friendly day out too with free parking and picnic areas to enjoy a spot of lunch.

The area is ideal for nature lovers as it’s home to a wide variety of butterflies including the rare White Letter Hairstreak - which commands an annual visit from the Butterfly Conservation to survey numbers.

For younger visitors there is a children’s playground which includes a zip line, climbing frame and swings. It’s also a popular location for kite flyers – young and old!

Basingstoke Common

This lovely location is the ideal spot to get away from it all – with an impressive 95 acres to explore. With plenty of land to stroll around, and the Basingstoke Canal running through the edge of the common – it’s the ideal place to take in some fresh air and let your cares drift away.

The Common is also home to The Basing Lime Pits – which forms part of the Basingstoke Canal Heritage Footpath Trail – which is popular for walking, playing and provides a lovely picnic spot in a rural location.

The War Memorial Park Tree Trail

This award-winning park is a wonderful place to visit for the whole family. Steeped in Georgian history, the park was refurbished in 2001 thanks to an award from the National Lottery Fund and since then it has been awarded the Green Flag Award for 2019 – 2020. Welcoming visitors of all ages the park boasts attractive landscaped gardens to walk and relax in, plus a bandstand, play area, BMX and skatepark, sports pitches and all-weather tennis courts.

A variety of events are held throughout the year, there are self-guided walks and a Tree Trail to follow. With an abundance of beautiful areas to sit down and enjoy a picnic – this park caters for anyone who loves the great outdoors in all seasons.

Chineham Nature Walk

The Chineham Nature Walk is a manageable 2.5km circular, ideal for the whole family.

Featuring streams, pretty bridges, woods and meadows brimming with wildlife – it’s a treat for the body and soul; during the walk, you’ll see colourful cherry trees, carpets of bluebells and listen out for the winged inhabitants – which include wrens, robins, blue tits, great tits, blackbirds and nuthatches – all singing their beautiful songs.

Watership Down

Watership Down in Basingstoke is the inspiration behind Richard Adam’s famous novel of the same name. Watership Down is a popular beauty spot with access to the Wayfarer’s Walk close to Kingsclere and Ecchinswell with open hillsides with spectacular views and ancient woodland to explore.

For those who work up an appetite, the beautiful Watership Down Inn at the foot of the North Wessex Downs is the ideal place to stop off for a well-earned lunch whilst enjoying fabulous views overlooking the head waters of the Test Valley.

Looking for more places to go? Check out our 'Where to go in Basingstoke: Sports, museums and thrill seeking in and around the area' article.