A Framble around Froyle (11 miles)
From: A circular walk from the Hen and Chicken on the A31 at Froyle. Postcode GU34 4JG. There's a slip road parallel to the pub, which you can park on.
Length: 11 miles.
Average Walk Time: 5-6 hours.
Terrain: Even in the wet, it's surprisingly well-drained and un-puddly. There's a fair bit of ascent (1,000 feet over the whole route), but nothing felt too hilly or too hard.
Suitable for dogs: Yes.
Look out for: Some lovely views of the Hampshire countryside, and some interesting thatched roof ornaments in Lower Froyle.
This is a lovely walk from the Hen and Chicken pub with the advantage that the route finding is pretty easy. Don't sweat this one! It's a little hilly – perhaps hillier than you might expect, but nothing that requires more than a little puff and pant. And there are plenty of places to sit and admire the view. We walked this on March 1, 2020, after the wettest February on record, yet the Hampshire thick, cloying clay was not to be seen, and I ended the walk with clean boots. (OK, I did spend 2 minutes washing them off by hand in a puddle near the end, but they weren't bad).
If you're parked in the slip road, walk past the pub towards Farnham and immediately turn left up the hill towards Froyle. After 300m, you arrive in Upper Froyle village which you might recognise if you're a regular walker on the St Swithun's Way. At the village, the road curls round right. Follow this past the grand wedding venue of Froyle Park and the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Keep going another 100m, past 'The Old School' (on the left) and 'School House', then immediately take a footpath on the right, which takes you across a stile and diagonally across a field. After the field, enter a lane coming from Froyle Hall and turn left.
The lane joins Gid Lane at a λ-junction, then turn left after 100m through a kissing gate. Follow the side of the field for 350m until you reach another kissing gate, which you go through. Now the footpath officially turns right and then immediately left again, to continue on the right side of the hedge. HOWEVER, a far easier path continues straight on the left side of the hedge. I suggest you take this. At the end of this field, turn left, ignoring the plank bridge on the right which would take you to the Anchor Inn. Bye-bye St Swithun.
Cross two fields – about 250m – and then turn right at an obvious path crossroads. There are alpacas in the field ahead to make sure you go the correct way. Halfway along the footpath, it kinks right and immediately left to avoid going into a house's private drive. Keep going. Soon you get to a minor road, where you turn right and then left after a mere 50m. Pass Hussey's Farm and stay on Hussey's Lane (a track) for about 2km. The track is quite undulating, and the pull-ups are steeper than one might expect in rural Hampshire. Halfway along (about 1 km), you reach a summit, where you can pause for breath at a summit, admire the views and there is even a seat to rest your weary legs. Enjoy your morning coffee and press on. Towards the end of the track, it turns back into a minor road. Keep going. Eventually, you come to a T-junction where you turn left.
After another kilometre, you reach a strange structure in the middle of the road. Is this Well's well with a pyramidical roof and a cross on the top? Read the plaque on it to find out. Continue down the right side of this monument and take a minor road on the left after 50m. Follow this new road for a mere 20m, and there's a footpath over a stile on the right. The path is obvious, and you follow it for a kilometre until you get to Stapely Farm. Here you turn left on a small road for 250m. You reach a crossing road (T-junction), but you go straight over onto a new footpath. Strike out straight ahead along an indistinct footpath. This passes through the far hedge line after 200m. It's not that hard to find.
Keep going for another kilometre, and you get to the village of Long Sutton. When you reach the village, you will eventually need to turn left, but if you turn right, you come quickly to a church with benches and a small duck pond (also benched). You might want to have lunch here and return to the T-junction when you've supped. After feeding, return to the T and this time continue straight on. Note the curious house on the right which looks as though the far end is falling down!
Almost immediately after the 'falling down house', turn right following signs to 'Lord Wandsworth's School'. After 200m, a footpath pulls off left through a pair of anti-cycling barriers, but it merely follows the road. Up to you! Don't panic if you miss it. Carry on to a crossroads with a strange small snakey sculpture on the left. Turn left here. 75m more and turn right on another track. At the next T-junction, again go straight over on a good footpath towards a copse of trees. When you reach the copse, follow the path into the copse where it immediately turns right following the field edge just inside the copse. Climb the hill – your last climb of any consequence. At the top of the hill, the path turns left and immediately right, where it starts to go downhill again, quite steeply.
At the minor road, turn left. Follow for about a kilometre, past Long Burlands with its thatched roof ornaments. Will the fox catch the hare? Now look for a well-hidden footpath on the right. It's not easy to see, but it is signed. Look out for a large, newish, windowless, timbered barn on your right, and turn right just before it. There's a 'MOꞀS' sign painted in the road (upside down as it's for traffic coming towards you) right by it. If you get to Well Lane on the left, you've gone 50m too far. Having taken the path, follow this for a kilometre to Upper Froyle. When you reach the minor road turn right and almost immediately left down a good track. This curls round left and left again until you get back to the green at Upper Froyle where we started. Now retrace your steps back downhill to the Hen and Chicken and reward yourself with a congratulatory pint in the pub.
Many thanks to Sue of the Farnham Ramblers who devised this route and took 15 of us around this most excellent and well-thought-out 'Framble'.