Walk 11 - Teglease Down and The Ridgeway
Length: 10 miles
The views from the Ridgeway are far-reaching and are well worth the walk.
From the People's Market, walk up the High Street, and follow the road round some bends till you reach the school. Turn right in front of the school, then turn left onto the footpath leading diagonally uphill to the top of Windmill Down. Head towards a group of trees on the skyline. At the top the path follows the hedge, and descends to Brook Lane. Partridges may be seen in the fields here, and occasionally Lapwings in winter. Cross the road into the lane leading to Beckless Cottages. In a short distance take the field path diagonally right, to the corner of the copse. Follow the edge of the copse then go over a stile into a lane under overhanging trees. At the road, turn left, then take the footpath on your right by the farm. Go up the hill and turn right at the top, by Teglease Farm.
Turn left at the tarmac road. Continue to the crossroads just over the crest of Teglease Down. Turn right along the wide but little-used road, which follows a prehistoric Ridgeway. After ¼ of a mile, where a lane joins from the left, take the grassy track going off diagonally to the right (not the one at right angles). There are superb views to the south here, and you should be able to see the Isle of Wight if it is clear.This is another good place to see buzzards, or even a Red Kite, identified by its forked tail, if you are very lucky.
By a dilapidated barn, the track joins a lane which heads downhill beside Coombe Wood. In about a mile, just before the road bears left, turn right onto a track and soon turn left under the trees. This leads down to Chidden Lane, where you turn right and up the hill, turning into a driveway on your left, which is the entrance to The Hermitage.
This area is one of the few in Hampshire where you may see the rare Corn Bunting - a brown speckled bird with a rattling song delivered from a fence or wire. After the house the way becomes a green lane. Go over the stile by the gate into an arable field, where the signpost indicates two footpaths - take the right hand one. At the end of the field go through the gap ahead and follow the path round the left edge of the next field. This leads to the present-day Hambledon Cricket Ground at Ridge Meadow. Cross the road and follow the path across the field to the far right corner. Climb the stile into a small copse, then into a field above Whitedale House. Cross the field and the stile on the other side. Turn left and go downhill. Look for a post on your right with waymark arrows, and turn right here onto a path through the vineyard. After reaching the school, turn left back to the start.