Houghton is a small village in Hampshire, situated alongside the River Test, the 'Queen of Chalk Streams', south of Stockbridge, in western Hampshire, roughly half way between Winchester and Salisbury. It's a charming place, deep in the country, well-preserved without being manicured, pretty but unpretentious. The architecture is mainly Hampshire rural vernacular, with some timber-frame and thatch, as well as much brick and slate. There are nearly 50 listed buildings in the village , the stars of which include (as well as many smaller houses):All Saints Church; the Manor House; the Old Rectory; Bossington Mill; and Houghton Lodge(for the complete list of listed buildings see ). The parish council and wider community are sensitive and energetic defenders of this heritage. The village is mostly strung out along the single road through the village, which broadly follows the course of the River Test north-south. Houghton is dominated by large agricultural estates at each end, the Houghton Lodge estate to the north and the Bossington estate to the south. Each owns a number of properties in the village, a factor which has undoubtedly contributed to the preservation of the traditional, rural character of the village.
Houghton Lodge  itself is an architectural treat - an example of the rare 'Cottage Ornee' style, of the Regency period. It also boasts a 'hydroponicum'  - where you can see plants grown in water (alone), and for a modest charge the owners allow public access (otherwise rare) to the banks of the beautiful River Test. The village also has a fine old church, All Saints, where services run on a weekly basis (with more at the tiny St James's church Bossington, set in open fields just to the south of the village). There is also an excellent riverside pub in the heart of the village, 'The Boot' (whose garden takes in a stretch of river bank), and another charming little pub just across the valley at the hamlet of Horsebridge (which also features old Horsebridge Station ), the John O'Gaunt. John O'Gaunt, a martial son of Edward III from whom the Plantagenet House of Lancaster was to spring (see ), had an enormous deer park in the valley here in the fourteenth century, and some of the remains of its boundary embankments (or pale) can still be seen as you cross the valley on foot. A number of public footpaths intersect in Houghton (see for example ), including one leading over the River Test at the lovely spreading footbridge known locally as 'Sheep Bridge', a beautiful spot much frequented by swans. The river teems with trout, and the(private)fishing in this part of the Test valley is prized as some of the loveliest in the country. Indeed, Houghton can claim to be the home of dry fly fishing as now practised, which was largely invented locally in the nineteenth century by Frederic M.Halford, author of the ground-breaking treatis Floating Flies and How to Dress Them. Some of his descendants still live here.
The village also has a delightful, down to earth Village Hall, used for functions such as the annual village Harvest Supper, and available for hire for £20 per night. There is a small recreation ground next to the hall, and talk of creating rather more. The community is a small one, and is constantly raising funds to meet the ongoing costs of the church and village hall, which become ever harder to meet. Luckily, there is an active community in Houghton, and a number of villagers were born and bred either in the village or locally.
The village is however, not set in aspic and, strikingly, has declared its interest (drawing on local expertise) in developing its own community response to the challenges of global warming and sustainable living, as witnessed by its ground-breaking Parish Plan and membership of the Test Valley Energy Initiative.
The village website can be found at . A variety of other images can be seen at  and at . There is interesting material from the 1891 census here:  Bossington Farm publishes details of today's weather on its site, here: