Accurately given the additional title ‘DUMP’ on the road sign when leaving the infinitely more pleasant Farnham, Alton is one of those Hampshire towns that has pretensions of grandeur, only allowed by the fact that to the east is Guildford, and to the west is Winchester. It is primarily populated with people who never have, and never will, leave, probably because the limited gene pool doesn’t allow it. On the other hand there are the brave, or ill informed, soles known as ‘outsiders’. People who are sick of cities and want to be “closer to the countryside”, but still less than an hour from ‘the big smoke’.
Born and bred locals are like characters from the League of Gentlemen; hideously inter-bred and festering in this backwater spitoon of modern, and not so modern civilisation. On the streets everyone is either 60+ or under 16, the latter invariably with at least one child in tow. They congregate, it would appear, in the high street, perhaps as the hideous concrete monstrosity that is the post office is near by, and provides many benefits, especially those they are not entitled too.
The idea of people being close to idyllic countryside in this car park filled toilet bowl of North Hampshire is frankly ludicrous. Leave the relative safety of your vehicle and you will then be confronted by the ‘locals’, hoards of which you must go through to get the very few decent shops – two in fact. This being part of the main route for a legion of cider swilling, gel slicked oiks, the town is permeated by the stench of piss, puke and rotting kebabs.
On the plus side (yes there is ONE) the town is well served by the A31, which provides quick exit routes to both the east and west, plus it is possible to use a number of other rat runs into the surrounding countryside, which incidentally is quite beautiful. It is here you find those who live in the villages, staying a safe enough distance from the town to only use it when the extra 5 minutes to Farnham seems too much.