Dramatic scenery and spectacular views are your reward on this superb walk in Hampshire's famous 'hanger' countryside. Hawkley lies in a quiet valley in the shade of one of the most beautiful of these steep, densely-wooded escarpments. It is a small, very attractive village, with houses neatly set around a green and an appealing Victorian church.
Our walk leads through the woods along the foot of the hanger, then climbs gently to the top, a fine viewpoint. We descend the down into another valley beside a manor then take more woodland paths round the hanger to return to the village.
1. With your back to the pub entrance turn right down the lane into the village. Leave the green on your right and bear left at the junction, following the sign for Oakshott, Prior's Dean and Wheatham.
2. After about 50 yards turn right, along a concrete track, following the bridleway sign. This passes garages and becomes a narrow path with a field on the left and a hedge on the right. The path climbs gently up the field towards the wooded hanger and runs through a tunnel-like entrance into the trees to a signpost.
3. Turn right and follow the woodland path along the foot of the hanger. Tangled woods of beech and yew wreathed in wild clematis clothe the steep slope on your left. Follow the path, keep mainly to the edge of the wood, for about 0.75 mile until just after a right-hand bend the path divides.
4. Keep straight ahead (left-hand path) to climb the side of the hanger. This wild country is popular with badgers as they can tunnel under the soft earth around the yew tree roots. At the top, the path curves left to emerge from the trees into an open field.
5. Follow the side of the field with woods, then a hedge, on your right. At the end of the field keep straight on down a narrow path (possibly a little overgrown) between hedges for just a few yards, then follow the side of a field, hedge on the right, down a wide grassy path into the valley. A church and manor house are on your right.
6. When you come to the lane turn left for about 1/4 mile past a telephone exchange to a bridleway sign on the left just before the lane drops downhill.
7. Take this path to walk through the trees along the top of the hanger. The path curves right then left a little uphill to leave the trees. Continue across a small field to walk downhill through woods once more. On your right the trees part to give wonderful valley views. Pass a path on the right to meet our earlier path at the entrance to the woods.
8. Retrace your steps beside the field with the hedge on your left, turning left along the lane into the village and right to return to the pub and your car.
The trail starts at the Hawkley Inn. Hawkley is 5 miles north of Petersfield. The best approach is via the A3, take the turning for Liss and in west Liss head west for Hawkley for about 3 miles. The Hawkley Inn is on your right. Park in the lane near the pub.