Walk 12 - Green Lanes, Tracks & Ancient Highways
Length: 10 miles
The network of green lanes, tracks and ancient highways to the east of Hambledon are great for riding as well as walking (though can be muddy in wet weather).
These directions start from the People's Market, from where you go up Speltham Hill. Alternatively the Bat & Ball pub could be your start point. At the top of the hill after the road levels out, turn left at a junction signposted 'Pithill'. Follow the tarmac lane for about a mile downhill, up a hill, then down another hill with overhanging trees. At the bottom you reach a small crossroads by some houses. Turn sharp left, keeping the thatched cottage on your right. This is the start of an ancient highway called Harrowgate Lane. Continue along the valley bottom for about a mile, ignoring tracks branching off, until you reach a road. Bear left here, and at the next bend in the road take the bridleway across the field which follows the same direction you have been going. The path goes under trees then reaches a tarmac road. Cross over to a wide grassy track. After a right-hand bend, the path continues uphill for nearly a mile. At the road turn left, and at the next road go left again. The route then follows this road for a mile, but there is a very wide grass verge on the right used by horse-riders and walkers. As your climb the hill, the wide verge changes to the left-hand side, so cross carefully.
On reaching The Bat & Ball pub at the top of the hill, you need to turn right so look carefully for traffic in all directions before turning. About half a mile along the road, turn left into a lane. After the farm, the road bends right, but you soon turn left onto a track. In a few hundred metres, turn left under the trees. At the next road (Chidden Lane), turn right and go up the hill. At the top turn left into a driveway, the entrance to The Hermitage. After the house the way becomes a green lane, bending round to the right by the signpost. When this bridlepath reaches a road, turn left. At the next T-junction, the way lies straight ahead through a small gate, where a bridleway crosses the field diagonally. On the far side of the field you will reach the road by a wall. Turn right to return to your start point in the village centre.