Walk 10 - Two Cricket Grounds & a Pub Lunch
Length: 6-7 miles
The Bat & Ball pub is about halfway on this route; ideal for a lunch break or drink. This walk starts out along East Street and goes easterly in the Clanfield direction, so if you are coming from outside the village, it will be easier to park on the roadside just beyond the first set of traffic-calming bollards.
Go along East Street from The People's Market, past George House, and in a few hundred metres there is a paddock on the right. Take the next road on the right, then immediately fork left by 'Rosecroft'. Go up the hill, and at the top take the stony path ahead, then over the stile on your left. The path lies across some fields, at first following the line of the electricity poles, then heading towards a farm building in a hollow. After that, you reach a farm track where you turn right. At the next junction, turn left and bear left again by a muck heap, till you reach a narrow road by a barn. Turn right here, passing Scotland Cottage, where the road becomes a track, going uphill then down. After the pine wood, far reaching views open up. The mewing cry of buzzards is often heard here, and skylarks may be singing overhead. Cross a stile on your left into a field and make for a stile on the other side of the field. This leads to a road. Turn right, and beware of the traffic as you walk the short distance to the Bat & Ball pub - your halfway point, ideal to stop for lunch or a drink. The pub and cricket ground opposite is a mecca for cricket fans, the pub displaying memorabilia about the early days of cricket.
After the pub, take the road past the car park. See the memorial stone on your left by the cricket ground known as Broadhalfpenny Down, where the first Hambledon cricket club played in the 18th century. In a short while go over a stile on your left into a field. Continue through several fields keeping the fence on your left. Go over a stile on your left before the copse, and head towards a gate, which you have to climb over. Cross the road and follow the path ahead. After a while the path enters a wood (yellow arrow on a post) and winds about, emerging into a field where it goes right. At the signpost turn left, and head for a yellow marker at the edge of the wood. If it is early spring, snowdrops may be seen on your right as you enter the wood. There are also foxgloves here in May or June.
Follow the path through Park Wood, then continue on the track to a road by Park House. Turn right here then right again at the crossroads. On reaching the cricket ground (Ridge Meadow, where Hambledon currently play), take the footpath on the left. Cross the field towards the far right corner. The wood on your right was planted in the 1990s with a wide variety of native trees, which are colourful in spring, summer and autumn with blossom, fruits and many-coloured leaves. After the plantation the path leads to a stile into a small copse on the hillside. Cross the paddock, over the stile and turn left downhill. At the post with waymark arrows, turn right onto a footpath through the vineyard. At the next roadway turn left and go downhill back to East Street where you started. For the village centre turn right.