The River Test
Houghton Lodge is idyllically set above the tranquil waters of the River Test in Hampshire with untouched views across the valley and water meadows.
This must be one of the most fabulous views in the world. Sit on the bench and quietly watch the river. Swans gently gliding by, the water vole busily going about its daily business, the trout rising for a quick gulp of a plump and delicious mayfly… On the bank there is a summer house, providing crayons and paper for children, and a shelter from a shower for all of us. The land by the edge of the river is a site of Special Scientific Interest.
The River Test was an important artery before the roads were improved, and it is said that Henry V sent all his heavy equipment down the river to Southampton, and so on to France for the campaign which ended with the victory at Agincourt in 1415. Later it became famous the world over for the quality of the trout fishing; and the oldest fishing club in the world, The Houghton Club, founded in 1822 still has its headquarters in Stockbridge nearby. In May and early June when the mayfly hatch, the river can be alive with feeding trout. From the end of the main lawn it is easy to imagine those early visitors strolling down to the river to cast a fly in the clear chalk stream, and seeing the same varieties of birds and animals living along the river as there are today, two hundred years later.