The Hampshire Hangers

Edward Thomas and family lived in Steep – in the heart of the Hampshire Hangers –  from 1906 until 1916.

The Hampshire Hangers are remnants of ancient woodland that cling to the steep slopes of the Chalk and Upper Greensand scarps between Langrish and Binsted. The term ‘hanger’ is derived from the old English word ‘hangra’, meaning a wooded slope. These hangers have survived because the land has always been too steep to cultivate, and not easily accessible to livestock.

Between Langrish and Steep, the Chalk and Upper Greensand scarps effectively merge, with the Greensand creating the lower and gentler part of the slope. But further north, as the two escarpments diverge, a ‘plateau’ or ‘terrace’ of Upper Greensand is formed, which outcrops at the foot of the steep chalk scarp. The ‘Chalk Hangers’ are steep, wooded slopes, more clearly defined to the south of Selborne, and form the dramatic western edge of the Upper Greensand terrace. The scarp twists and writhes around Steep, where the hanging woods plunge into a deep mysterious combe.

The Hampshire Hangers landscape has inspired many writers and artists. Selborne is associated with the 18th century curate, Gilbert White, author of the ‘Natural History of Selborne’, and the founding father of natural history recording. Steep was where Edward Thomas found the inspiration and material for the majority of his poetry. Jane Austen spent the last eight years of her life at Chawton, writing and revising her great romantic comedies.

Further details of the area are described in a pocket-sized, hard back walking guide by Mike Cope (available from Amazon for £4.99):

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A marketing flyer for the book can be downloaded here: HampshireHangers710

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