The magnificent Wickham Square is one of the largest in the country covering nearly two acres. On arrival, look up to take in the wonderfully erratic roofline. This gives you a glimpse of the historical context of this pretty town before you go on to take in its diverse tapestry of architecture at street level. From 15th century cottages to beautifully preserved examples of majestic Georgian houses, first time visitors always appreciate the architectural details that await them on a stroll around this handsome square. You will also find an interesting array of independent shops and eateries to suit any taste.
If you’ve an eye for a bargain, or you simply like to browse, make sure you allow an hour or two to visit Chesapeake Mill. A fitting link to Hampshire’s maritime history, this extraordinary grade II listed mill, built in 1820, incorporates timber from the US Frigate The Chesapeake captured by the British HMS Shannon in 1813. A working mill for much of its life, this grand building is now full to the brim with exclusive collections of antiques, home furnishings, art and jewellery as well as a tea room, and much more. In fact, you never know quite what you will find. For more information on opening times click here.
Wickham Water Meadows
These naturally formed water meadows, covering approximately eight acres, form a rare and tranquil oasis in the middle of a town. Owned by the Lord of the Manor until the early part of the 20th century, the water meadows were used for cattle grazing. However, thanks to the foresight and hard work of local residents and volunteers, the area has been transformed, complete with a new bridge across the River Meon, paths, benches and a picnic area. So it’s now a peaceful place to walk, picnic or simply spend sometime by the water’s edge.
St. Nicholas Church
Dating back to 1120, this delightful brick and flint church is said to stand on the site of an earlier chapel, and sits on a very large, almost circular, sacred mound. The church has been extended several times and underwent signification restoration in the late 19th century – so although the interior is largely Victorian, there is a distinctive array of bygone features. These include the Norman west door with its unusual zig zag arch, stained glass windows and the impressively detailed alabaster and marble tomb of Sir William Uvedale and his wife that dates from 1615. For more details visit: www.stnicholaswickham.org.uk
Meon Valley Trail
Wickham marks the start of the much-loved Meon Valley Trail which stretches north for nine miles along the route of the old Meon Valley Railway towards the village of West Meon. Here it connects with The South Downs Way and Wayfarers’ Walk, enabling you to create an extended circular route if required. The route is level and passes by various hamlets and country pubs so it’s a path that can be enjoyed at any pace. Park in Wickham Square or in Station Close Car Park for fast access to the trail and additional facilities.