Area 28: Bourne Valley and Hurstbourne Park

Valley of the River Bourne flowing South from Ibthorpe to meet the River Test on the Southern boundary of the AONB at Hurstbourne Priors to the East of Andover

Iron Age and Roman settlement and burials are known in the Bourne Valley particularly at the southern end. Medieval archaeology includes the remains of the Medieval deer park related to Hurstbourne Park, which in turn became a designed 18th century park.

Download the full Historic Landscape Character Area Description and Significance Statement

Present Day Historic Landscape Character

The Pre 1700 enclosed meadows are still the dominant historic landscape type in the river valley where settlement infilling hasn’t occurred. The water meadows were enclosed in the 20th century but many of the channels and bedworks remain as relicts in the landscape. Hurstbourne Park remains as a dominant feature associated with an area of replanted ancient woodland.

Layers in the Landscape

This valley is a tributary of the Test. The utilisation of the valley through time reflects the nature of the exploitation of the adjacent landscapes as well as the resources of the valley. The valley floor was a focus of occupation and route ways, farming and exploiting the chalk land either side. This might be the case from the Neolithic, but certainly Bronze Age burial mounds are known and Iron Age and Roman settlement and burials are known in the Bourne valley particularly at the southern end.

Formerly the valley bottom was dominated by pre 1700 enclosed meadows along each side of the river punctuated by small nucleated settlements. The meadows are formed of sinuous fields. These were probably originally for hay cultivation but are now mainly grazing and are likely to be Medieval or early Post Medieval in origin.

The South of the area is associated with the former Medieval deer park at Hurstbourne

Between 1700 and 1900 century many of the enclosed meadows were replaced with water meadows with bedworks, channels and sluices created as part of the sheep-corn system of agriculture. These went out of use in the beginning of the 20th century.

Historic Settlement Character

The valley was historically densely settled with clusters of nucleated settlements at the top end of the valley with nucleated regular row settlements arranged along the course of the valley bottom. Buildings are largely of the local vernacular brick and tile.

Historic Farmstead Character

Isolated individual historic farmsteads are rare with most being situated on the edge of the historic settlements. Large courtyard farms, geared to large-scale arable production, are the dominant farmstead type. These include some of the earliest of this type (dating from the 18th century and earlier) in the country.