One of the best known hill forts in England and the site of one of the beacons that formed a network across Hampshire, near Burghclere.

The firing of beacons on prominent hilltops was an integral part of the early defence and communication system for Britain.

The last chain of beacons was lit on 5 June 2012 to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

The site is a chalk grassland habitat.

Chalk grassland would have covered the large areas of  downland in southern England, making good grazing for sheep.

The mark of centuries of sheep grazing are the slopes with a stepped appearance.

This is formed by a mixture of soil creep and the lateral movement of sheep over the centuries. Such erosion is clearly visible on the slopes of Beacon Hill.

Grazing is an important part of managing chalk grassland.

The constant feeding of the animals stops scrub from taking over the grassland.

The number of animals allowed to graze an area is an important consideration.

Too many animals will cause the floral community to suffer, too few animals will allow the scrub to encroach.

Now only remnants of these ancient unimproved grasslands remain.

Many more have been lost to intense grazing or arable crops.

Chalk grassland is rich in wild flowers such as Rock Rose, Wild Thyme, Kidney Vetch and Clustered Bellflower.

These flowers in turn support a variety of invertebrates.

One such invertebrate is Osmia bicolor, a scarce solitary bee that resembles a small red tailed bumble bee.

It feeds on Bird’s-foot-trefoil and nests in disused snail shells.

Many birds are also found on chalk grassland.

The Wayfarers Walk begins in the county of Berkshire at Combe Gibbet on top of Inkpen Beacon.

The route takes you over Walbury Hill at 297m is the highest chalk hill in England. Cross the A343 and skirt round the estate of Highclere Castle and its perfect park laid out by Capability Brown in the 1770s.

The route then runs around Beacon Hill and its pre-historic ramparts.

Here lies the grave of the 5th Earl of Carnarvon who became famous when he and Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922.

The route gradually descends down to the A34 with the Seven Barrows off to the left.

Follow the permissive path under the A34, then climb back up towards Ladle Hill, site of another Iron Age hill fort.

Walk onwards past Watership Down, the setting for the famous novel by Richard Adams about a group of rabbits.

This marble monument lies beside the Wayfarer's Walk, not far from the A34.

A memorial stone situated in the Seven Barrows field to the south of Beacon Hill.

The Wayfarers Walk is a 70-mile, long-distance walking route.

The route will take you from its dramatic start, high on the chalk downs at Inkpen to finish at Emsworth Harbour.

You will walk over some of the finest chalk turf in Hampshire down to the mud flats and salt marshes along the coast.

The Walk has been divided into six sections, each providing a really good day out.

Choose between high chalk downland with exhilarating views or chalk-stream valleys buzzing with wildlife, peaceful pubs in pretty villages or a busy market town.

Or why not have a relaxing seaside picnic while watching the marsh wildlife.

The inscription on the stone recalls that it was here that Sir Geoffrey de Havilland (1882-1965), pioneer aviator, aeroplane designer and founder of the aircraft company that bore his name, made his first successful flight on 10 September 1910.

Honesty Kingsclere will be serving refreshments, freshly baked bread, pastries, cakes and light lunch.

This lovely little coffee shop is situated on Swan Street in the Hampshire Village of Kingsclere.

It is the perfect place to catch up with friends and enjoy a bite to eat or a refreshing cup of tea or coffee.

The shop sells the Honesty range of breads, pastries, cakes, tarts and biscuits, jams and pickles.

Light snacks and lunches such as soups, paninis, pasties, sausage rolls, sandwiches and pork pies are available all day.

Winter Walks at Beacon Hill Iron Age Hill Fort

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