Today Barton Stacey is a quiet parish, nestling comfortably in a rural area, yet within easy reach of major town and cities. In this setting the parish provides a pleasant and safe place to live and work, and a good place to stay when visiting the area.
The centre of the village is a mixture of house styles typical in Hampshire villages – but with one difference – no thatch. This is a conservation area, and special attention is given to retaining and enhancing its character. Read more, below, about the conservation area from the Conservation Policy document.
Modern developments within the village are relatively small, with either extensions, single house additions, or groups of up to four houses. The area to the east of the village has two modern developments. First, the former Ministry of Defence housing for Army personnel based at the now closed Barton Stacey camp. This includes Roberts Road and all the roads leading from it. The majority of these houses have been sold off by the Ministry and are now in private ownership. Second, the area around the Test Valley Borough Council development at Kings Elms. Again, most of these houses have been sold off by the Council and are now in private ownership.
The village is small and closely knit. Until the 20th century it was a strongly ‘linear’ settlement with almost all its buildings running north to south through the village. With its growth in recent years Barton Stacey has spread eastwards but the village street is dominated by its old buildings. The street is not perfectly level, nor is it entirely straight. These deviations create a visual interest as one walks along its length – different views are revealed in shifting sequence. Many of the houses are right up against the road and this provides a feeling of enclosure. This is helped by the presence of numerous well places trees – mostly chestnuts – and some fine old walls.
The architectural character of the area is well defined. The fire that swept through the village in 1792 led to major rebuilding, accounting for a similarity of many houses. The fire also explains why, exceptionally for Hampshire, there are no thatched buildings in the village.
As the main road enters the village from the south, it winds past the site of the old chapel – now demolished – to reach Barton Cottage, which is the first of the older buildings. It is eighteenth century, with later additions. It faces Wades Farm House, which is perhaps the most formal building in the area. It has a broad and elegant brick façade with a large Tuscan porch – above it, a slate roof with deep eaves. These features suggest an early nineteenth century date. The adjoining farm buildings are clearly modern but they lie on the same site as the old farmyard.
“Sealarks” on the other side of the road is a typical Hampshire cottage and is similar to many others in Barton Stacey. Dated 1813 it is characterised by a fine brick front that is laid in the usual Flemish bond pattern, with cambered arches over the openings and a roof of plain clay tiles. ‘The Forge’ is similar.
The next building is a contrast. The Old Vicarage is probably contemporary with Wades Farm House – note the similar roof with its deep eaves and sash windows – but the cement stucco gives it an altogether different character. The timber porch is probably original but it has been enclosed. It is likely that the exterior of the house conceals an older core.
Continuing northwards through the village the scale reverts to smaller dwellings, many of which are closely grouped together. The street is narrower and more intimate here – trees and grassy banks create informality. Little details are important – notice the nineteenth century bracketed door hoods over the entrances to Virginia Cottage and its neighbour, The Old Plough. New cottages are late nineteenth century – by this time the higher ceilings were resulting in loftier buildings. The Swan Inn is another old building, set back from the road. It has much in common with its neighbours – a dentilled eaves cornice, cambered arches and a plain tiled roof – but it contains a core of chalk cob. The Post Office is another old building although the shop front and windows are obvious modern alterations.
All Saints Church lies on rising ground at a staggered crossroads. The open fields opposite provide a contrast in the line of houses. As in most villages, the church is the single most important building – as a landmark, as a fine work of architecture and as a reminder of the long history of the area. The present church can be traced back to 1180 but the tower – its most prominent features – dates from 1510. The walled churchyard contains some fine table top tombs and a well placed yew.
Beyond the church is the Malt House, a handsome old building with broad sash windows and a light canopy on the façade. The northern end of the building with its gable facing the road is a later addition, the big panes of sheet glass in the sashes are a Victorian characteristic, and an interesting document in the building’s history. A tall brick wall makes a welcome contribution to this part of the street scene.
Several buildings hug the road closely and trees make another important contribution. The last group of old buildings includes the Old Malt House and a converted straddle granary. Was this thatched at one time?
Lying at some distance from the village street is Church Farm – the farmhouse is a particularly important old timber framed building with a complex history. It is one of a small number of buildings in the area that are listed for their special architectural or historic interest.
The parish of Barton Stacey extends beyond the village and small clusters of historic houses and farms are found at Bransbury and Newton Stacey.
Amenities and Services
The parish is well equipped with amenities and services for those who live and work in the area and for those who visit. In the village centre are the ingredients of a typical English village – the parish church, a general store and post office, and the village pub. There is also a village hall. The Parish Council provides the recreation ground – home to Barton Stacey Football Club – and a children’s playground.
At nearby Sutton Scotney – 3 miles away – is a large doctor’s surgery with a dispensary on site – and prescriptions from there can be collected at the village shop.
The parish has mains supplies of electricity and water, but mains gas hasn’t reached us yet – despite the gas pipeline running through the parish. The parish is served by its own sewage treatment plant. The parish is connected to two telephone exchanges centres – Winchester in the south and Andover in the north.
More details are in the services index
Activities and Businesses
The parish is home to a range of organised sport, social, cultural and community activities. From football to judo, bell ringing to whist, acting to discussion groups. There are also many footpaths and byways which provide excellent opportunities for walking and riding. More details are in the activities index.
There are an increasing number of businesses based in the parish. These range from businesses serving mainly the local community – the Village Stores and Post Office, The Swan Inn – through to national and international businesses – Peter Golding Ltd, specialist supplier to the water garden and aquatic trade, and Lionel Hitchen Essential Oils Ltd, supplier to the food and flavour industries. More details are in the businesses index
Apart from being a worthwhile place in itself, the area around Barton Stacey has many attractions:
- footpaths and byways for walking and riding
- excellent fishing in the Rivers Dever and Test
- the historic city of Winchester with its magnificent cathedral
- the town of Andover with its Iron Age Museum
- the town of Romsey with its ancient Abbey
- the city of Salisbury also with a magnificent cathedral
- Stonehenge and Avebury Neolithic monuments
- the historic town of Marlborough
A Walk along the River Dever
Length of the walk: 4.5 miles.
Main map: OS Explorer 144 Basingstoke (GR 435410)
Walk map: A map of the walk is available here
Parking: The small village car park next to the church is often full, but walkers using the Swan may leave their cars in the pub’s rear car park. Alternatively there is a free-to-use car park opposite the Recreation Ground. Limited space for roadside parking is also available.
Leaving the Swan Inn behind you on your right, follow the main village road north through Barton Stacey and then turn left immediately past the churchyard to follow a downhill track to a kissing-gate. From this a footpath leads you diagonally right across a paddock into a second kissing-gate. The path then crosses a second paddock preceding a footbridge over a stream, beyond which you emerge onto a narrow, little-used lane, which you follow right-handed.
On your right, a few yards along this lane, is an ancient chalk-rubble wall topped with traditional thatch coping, an uncommon sight these days. After a brief ascent the lane heads steadily downhill, with water in view in the Dever Valley to your right. Soon you find yourself walking parallel with the rippling river Dever, partly screened from your view at first by trees. As you head west the river draws closer, with a millrace alongside you and then the mill, now a private residence.
River and lane stay close together as far as a bridge over which the byway turns right for the hamlet of Bransbury, just ahead. Do not cross the bridge but turn left to follow a hedged track which becomes a meandering green lane, flanked by farmland on your left, and by a long stretch of scrub woodland on your right.
Where the woodland ends you emerge onto Bransbury Common, a broad and bushy riverside pasture with Harewood Forest in view beyond it. The path becomes ill-defined in places but you keep as close to the common’s leftward edge as conditions permit and will fairly soon see the river Test sweeping into view, not far from where it is joined by the river Dever. Here the fence on your left-hand side bends left and you also turn in that direction.
Pass through a gate to follow a tree-bordered track which was once a Roman road and is now a mere public path. A little way along disregard a track which turns right and keep straight on to a where the track you are following joins a metalled road. Here a footpath sign points your way diagonally left across arable farmland, cutting a corner to rejoin the Chilbolton-Barton Stacey road within a few hundred yards. Cross this road by further footpath signs to continue in line with the path just followed, climbing gently to cross a low ridge of arable chalk-land which is sometimes barred to public access when a red flag warns that Chilbolton firing range is in use – in which case stay on the road and follow it left-handed back to Barton Stacey. Otherwise, follow the footpath to where it joins a farm track flanked by a hedgerow. Walk along this track left-handed over undulating farmland to where it joins another farm track and you continue ahead along a field-edge path. After bridging a stream you follow the right-hand edge of a playing field to rejoin the main village road in Barton Stacey, which you follow left-handed back to your starting point.
Source and Credit
This walk is reproduced from the book “Waterside Walks in Hampshire” by Peter Carne, published by Countryside Books, 3 Catherine Road, Newbury, Berkshire, and is reproduced with the kind permission of the author, who retains the copyright.