Or "The Grand Old Duke of York"
I know, the Duke of Wellington wasn't the Grand Old Duke, but like him, this walk goes uphill and down again, and up again, and down again!
From: A circular walk from the Car Park at the Garrison Church (Wellington Monument), Aldershot. Grid reference SU 853511, Postcode GU11 1QA.
Length: 10 miles.
Average Walk Time: Around 5 hours.
Terrain: Quite hilly. The paths are generally very good and the area is sandy, so there are few problems with mud. One stile.
Suitable for dogs: Yes, but there is the possibility of gunfire if bangs make them nervous.
Look out for: Squaddies! The area is extensively used for army training. If you get the timing wrong (or right depending how you look at it) you may well bump into soldiers, waiting for you to puff up a hill before they run up it.
A word of advice. The paths on the top of Caesar's Camp can get very confusing. I cannot suggest you follow this route solely from the directions below. It would be better if you took a map (or a telephone with a mapping app) and used that to confirm your position and the complicated twists and turns. On the map, the pink trace is the route out and the orange trace is the route back. Shared paths are dashed.
Start from the Car Park at the foot of the Wellington Monument. Don't worry about it at the start, you can walk around it on the way back. Head out the car park to the left of the statue and you will soon reach a small road. Cross over and then check the large open grassed area ahead of you. Cross this diagonally to the right and look for a gate out the field. This take you to the Bourley Road, where you turn left. At the junction of Wellesley Road, turn right and almost immediately left up a good track. CAUTION, the road is busy and cars speed along it. The corner where you cross is blind, and extreme care is needed.
Assuming you got across safely, continue up the hill along the track for about 300m, where a good track turns off left. Follow this past the shoulder of Sunny Hill and an open piece of sandy plain appears on your right. Cross this directly and exit the plain into the woodland. (Ⓐ on the pictures). After 50m, the path reaches a T-junction where you turn right. (Ⓑ on the pictures).
Five hundred metres more and you reach hungry hill. Here you turn second-left at an extremely complicated junction. (Picture Ⓒ shows this). 600m more and you reach a summit at Sandy Hill. There is a wonderful view over to Caesar's Camp, which is worth taking a look at. Continue a little more until you reach the weird ruined concrete building, where you turn right (Ⓓ). The start of this path is quite steep and in rainy weather can become afflicted with loose gravel. Once again, please take care.
At the bottom of this steep slope, you reach a cross track (Long Bottom) where you turn right, effectively going back on yourself. There are ways of cutting this loop, but you miss the glorious view of the camp and the weird concrete building! 300m more and there is a good path to the left, which you take (Ⓔ). Pass the small lake, where apparently the army used to train horses to swim (at least that's the rumour) and work your way along the tracks to the summit of Caesar's Camp. You can stop for coffee here and admire the view. There are great views into Farnborough Airport, and you can see Aldershot to the right. In the distance, if the day is especially clear, you can see the Wembley Arch and the towers of Canary Wharf on the right in the distance.
Coffee done, time to head around the Camp's rim continuing the way you were going. Follow the rim until you reach the double line of earthworks, which are not the remains of an iron-age hill fort. They are thought to be medieval. Cross the earthworks and continue straight along the path. When you reach a large cross track and another lake cross, and immediately turn left up what seems at first to be the bank on the cross trackⒻ. Keep walking through the forest until you get to the Odiham Road, the Water Tower and the petrol station. If you get to the road, you've gone a little too far. Carry on the main, wide track until you reach the stile (Ⓖ). Cross and walk up into the woods. Watch out for squaddies, this is a favourite place for them to ambush you!
Look for a covered reservoir on the right and take the second big track on the left. (Ⓗ). The track winds gently to the right before reaching a good cross track. But oh noooo! The path crosses over and goes STRAIGHT UP! This is the walk's impression of the North face of the Eiger. Deep breath and up you go. This is Beacon Hill, and the main summit of this part of the walk. Well done, you've made it!
Alas, the view is not as good as Caesar's Camp, but I never promised it would be. Cross the top of the hill and walk down, parallel to the road. Eventually you reach a cattle grid and the road itself. Cross the road and walk down the footpath into Ewshott for lunch at the Windmill. I hope you enjoyed lunch, as you now have to walk back up the track to the main road. Sorry, I should have told you, if you have a picnic, there's no need to cross the main road at the top. "Oh, the Grand Old Duke of York …"
Fed, watered and back at the top of the hill by the road, cross again and go over the cattle grid. Now look for the first path on the right, which is about 50m from the grid. When you reach the covered reservoir, turn left. Walk until you see the yellow sign on the left (Private Fishing, no dogs, no bathing, no …) turn down the side of the lake on a small track. (Ⓘ). After the first lake, wiggle across the causeway between the two lakes and continue on the other side.
One hundred metres after the end of the second lake, turn right. After another 100m, turn right again up a footpath. 500m more and there is a gate on the left (Ⓙ). Once more climb the hill and this time you reach the Caesar's Camp earthworks from the end (rather than crossing them as you did before). Walk along the first section, between the two walls, and you soon reach a cross track where you turn left. Now you're on the home straight! It's (almost) downhill from here. Pass Windy Gap (which is neither a gap, nor particularly windy) and stride down the path. Deviations excepted, you will soon reach Sunny Hill (remember from the start?) and you're within sight of the end. Double beware the crossing of the main road. This is even more blind crossing this way. Walk back to Wellington's Monument, and this time you can make a compulsory circumnavigation of it. Pub Quiz question. What was the name of Napoleon's horse? There. If you say 'Copenhagen', read the question again!
I hope you enjoy this walk. It is lovely in good weather, and not too bad underfoot when the weather isn't good.