A Flitter around Fleet (11 miles)


DETAILS:

From: A circular walk from Fleet. We started at the car park (free on Sundays) at Flagship House, Fleet. The postcode to help you find it is GU51 4WP.

Length: 11 miles.

Average Walk Time: Around 5-6 hours.

Terrain: Fairly level – there is one climb up to Caesar's Camp, but that apart it's undulating.

Suitable for dogs: Yes.

Look out for: A grand view from the lookout on Caesar's Camp and some lovely sights along the Basingstoke Canal.


Leave the car park and walk down towards the main road (the Reading Road). Opposite are a set of pedestrian railings, cross the Reading Road to the left of these and take a footpath immediately ahead of you. This descends a small bank and emerges on some playing fields. Cross the pitch to the tree-line beyond, go through the trees and turn left. Follow the field as it curves round to the left and eventually you will reach a minor road (the Crookham Road). Cross this and immediately ahead of you is the Basingstoke Canal. Turn left here along the towpath.


The Basingstoke Canal was built in the early 1790s and was designed to connect Basingstoke to the River Wey. It mainly carried timber but was extremely useful in ferrying materials for the railways in the 1830s, an irony that lead to its own disuse. The last commercial traffic was in 1910, and after that it slowly fell into decay. By the 1950s much of it was unnavigable, and after a major breach in 1968, its fate looked bleak. However, from the late 1970s the Basingstoke Canal Society set up a volunteer scheme to restore the waterway, and in 1991 32 miles of the canal were re-opened. Since then, it has become a glorious ribbon of nature through the towns and countryside from West Byfleet to the Greywell Tunnel.


Enjoy this sojourn along the towpath for almost 2km. The A323 (Norris Hill Road) turns a sharp right and crosses the canal. If you get to this road bridge, you've gone a few yards too far. Just before the main road, a small footbridge leads you across to the other side. On its railings is a plaque to the steam dredger, Perseverance, built in 1934, and the volunteers who restored the canal. Cross the bridge and take the footpath which strikes out straight ahead. Stick to this footpath heading straight through the Forest of Eversley, in a straight line for around 800m. At the end of the path, there's a right and a curve round to the left to a small car park. Cross the Aldershot Road, and a path enters the Tweseldown Racecourse.

Cross Brock's Hill and you are soon in the show jumping/cross country area. Diagonally to the right, you will see the main racecourse. Head towards the nearest end of that and walk around the end. Instead of following the straight section of the course, branch diagonally right to the Bourley Road. A gate allows you to cross the road, where a footpath heads off along the treeline. After 50m, jig right and then left to follow a track under power lines, rather than the racecourse edge.


Upon reaching a paved track (700m after crossing the Bourley Road), turn left. Follow the paved track for 500m, until a well-paved track turns off right along a break in the trees. Shortly this reaches the Bourley Lakes, and you walk to the left of the main lake following its shore. As you start to climb away from the lake, look for a kissing gate on the left. You take this path and have the only steep climb on the route up to Caesar's Camp. On cresting the hill, turn left along the Camp's ridge. Walk to the viewpoint over Farnborough and Aldershot, and take a puff and a water break.


OK, enough! Time to press on and it's not quite lunch yet. There are three ways off the top of Caesar's Camp heading South and West (in other words not falling off the bluff in front of you). There's the way you came, the path around the other edge of the bluff, carrying on, and a third path right across the top, heading South West. That's the one you want. Don't head downhill, instead aim South West and you soon go past Bricksbury Pond. After 1 1/2 kilometres, the path curls right (North Westwards) and passes the radio mast. Finally, you reach Beacon Hill Road at a small gated area. Cross straight over and head down the hill to Ewshott. This is lunch! You can either enjoy it at the Windmill, or at the village hall at the end of the road.


You're now on the afternoon, home stretch. So if you're at the pub, continue down the hill and turn left at the village hall at the end of the road. Stay on the small roads, and take the second small road on the right, 500m after the village hall. Follow this for 250m and there is a small footpath on the left, in the crook of a bend in the road. It does have a footpath sign. After 250m, the path enters an industrial estate, which you walk through. At the main road, turn right and almost immediately left again. This is Water Lane, and you walk along it for 250m until the path turns right, crosses a small bridge and then bears very slightly right. Now follow the path until it crosses a swing bridge.


150 metres more and the path turns right. 600m and the path now meets the road in Crookham Village. Turn left and look for a signed car park on the right signed to the W.I. Hall. Leave on the footpath at the back of the car park and head on. Now, the path from here skirts a massive housing site. If you're walking this late 2019, then this route works. However, if you are looking at this later, there might be houses across the path. You might have to wiggle your way through. However you go, you will soon get round the site and find yourself walking past houses. 100m past a children's playground, take an alley to the right. At the end of the alley, wiggle right, left, right and left (in quick order) and follow the path through the woods at the edge of Calthorpe Park. If you get the wiggles wrong, you will still reach the Park. Now head back to the tree line where you first started, and pass back thought the gap in the trees. Cross the playing field, up the embankment and return to the car.


Congratulations, you've made it!


I hope you enjoyed this walk, I certainly did. Big thanks to Paul B. from the Farnham Ramblers for putting on this lovely walk for us.



Farnham Walker 

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