Farnham Circuit via Caesar and Wellington (9.8 miles)


DETAILS:

From: A circular walk from the Upper Hart Car Park in Farnham, up and over Caesar's Camp to the Wellington Monument and back.

Length: 9.8 miles.

Average Walk Time: Around 5-6 hours.

Terrain: Hilly. Generally speaking it's a steady up hill all the way to the top of Caesar's Camp, then downhill to the monument. The return is another up and down. The good news is you go down the very steep escarpment off the top of the bluff rather than up it. Say 'Thank you Guy'.

Suitable for dogs: Yes.

Look out for: Some fantastic views over the area on the way up and from the top of Caesar's Camp.

I need to preface this walk, as I do many, with a warning that the top of Caesar's camp is confusing and has many, similar paths. I cannot recommend following this walk using just my directions. I've tried to be as explicit and full as I can, but a map and compass (and the ability to use them) or the route on a mobile device are strongly recommended before you set out. Right, having issued the advice, let's get on with it.


Leave the Upper Hart Car Park by the footpath through the Sculpture Park and the Student Village at the U.C.A. This is the one to the left of the Church in the Upper Hart Car Park. Follow the path all the way through the campus and out onto the small fields beyond. After the second field, the path kinks slightly right and passes between a hedge and a fence, before disgorging you on Old Park Lane. Pass the lovely cottages on the right, and almost immediately turn left down another footpath exactly opposite Grange Cottage (right). Follow this into the open fields, as it snakes down the hill. When it makes a definite turn left, don't. Instead take a partly hidden but marked footpath on the right, winding back uphill again.

Go through a kissing gate at the top of this path, with a left after it. Diagonally over a tiny field and another kissing gate and not the trail descends into Claypit Wood. After a stream, the path turns left and climbs through the woods to another kissing gate at the top. Here the way again turns very slightly left out of the woods and now follows a field boundary. At the crest of the hill, an open gate (I've never seen it closed) on the right invites you to turn right. Do. 150m more and you get to a small road by Middle Old Park Farm. Cognoscenti of the St Swithun's Way will recognise the next few metres. You turn right here as if going backwards, towards Farnham, rather than left to Winchester. That can follow next walk.


After the down and up, you come to Middle Old Park Road (where the footpath finishes and at Woodside Cottages), and you turn left, up the hill, instead of going straight on. 300m up the hill and the road you are on turns right. Follow around the corner for about 20m, and turn left again into Heathyfields Road. A narrowing at the end brings you out into the next part, and look for a fork taking you left after another 20m. Heathyfields Road continues straight, but you take Old Park Lane, which is slightly left. Note this point – you will come here again on the way back!


Follow Old Park Lane to the A287 (the main Fleet road) which you cross, carefully, when you reach it. Opposite is a reservoir. Now turn right and follow the reservoir to the end, where a good path leads you left into the army heathlands. There ought to be a warning posted at this point. The next 250m is impossible to describe. Basically, set your back to the road and walk due North. It's not that hard as there are good paths, dozens of them. As long as you keep in a straight line, you'll make the right track and after 250m of walking due North come to a good East/West track. It's not as hard as it sounds, and don't be put off. When you get to the cross path, it will be on a T-junction. Turn left here.


Follow the beautiful track for 150m to an excellent path on the right and turn right (gate and cattle grid). Follow this past a covered reservoir (you might not recognise it as such) for about a kilometre, until you get to the very start of the fishing lakes. Right on the first corner, turn right up the hill again on a new track. After 500m, another path λs into you from the left, and you cross this by going through a kissing gate up the side of Caesar's Camp. 'Aha', I hear you say. 'You sneaked this one up on me'. Yes, I did. This route has one stiff climb, and it's now through the kissing gate. For all your huffing and puffing, it's only 15m climb in 100m of length, so it's nothing really!


At the top, turn left and enjoy the view from the top of the Caesar's Camp escarpment. The sight of Farnborough airport and Aldershot is quite beautiful. Walk to the iconic trees on the end and have a puff while admiring the view. On a clear day, you can see London. For those who don't know, Caesar's Camp has nothing to do with Caesar or Romans but is a late Bronze age/Iron age multivallate fort (good old Wikipedia!)


Puffed enough? From the trees you now have to retrace your steps by about 20m and fall off the edge of the mountain, turning right, down a very well-worn footpath. This is steep. Your knees may hate it, but your lungs thank me I didn't bring you up this way. After 100m back on level ground, the path splits. One road turns right, one turns left, but you take the middle one heading straight on ish – diagonally right.


After 800m, this reaches Bourley Road, where you turn right. This is quite a fast road, and alas we have to follow it for 400m. Take the first left, (also Bourley Road – Wellesley Road continues straight on). After 100m, turn right on Claycart Road and Wellington will loom above you! If you go around the front, there is a picnic table for lunch. Relax, enjoy, you've reached over halfway and the turning around point.


Suitably rested, retrace your steps as far as the Bourley Road. This time turn left after only 50m up Sunny Hill Road. After 400m, a large open space opens up on your left. Cross straight over this and halfway through, look for a path on the right back into the trees again; turn here. Now follow the track to the bluff, but at the very last when the trail veers slightly right and climbs the edge of the cliff, stay left and skirt around it. You will pass through the double wall of the camp, walk about 200m, and pass through the double wall a second time. 20m after this second passing (leaving the camp) turn left down a good track. Almost immediately, this T-junctions, and you turn right. Keep going straight now, and you will hear the traffic on the A287 ahead of you. Look for a kissing gate into a small tended area with notice boards, and this leads you out onto Sandy Hill Road. Civilisation returns!


Turn right on Sandy Hill Road and follow it to the junction with the Upper Hale Road. A right and a quick left (50m) takes you down the Lawday Link. Cross straight over Folly Hill at the end, and you are in Heathyfields Road. Remember this? I said you'd make a figure of 8. After 250m, Old Park Lane λs in from the right, and immediately you fork left (leaving the linked part of the walk). This is quite a small footpath, but it's worth taking for variety. 150m more and you reach Upper Old Park Lane where you turn left. Back to Folly Hill, which you cross and go into Drovers' Way. An almost immediate right into Hampton Road, and then you pass Blenheim Crescent on the right. 10m after this road is a fenced footpath taking you onto the upper section of Farnham Park. Follow the paths down the park, initially making for the electricity pylon (which you pass slightly to the left). Down into the dip, up the other side and keep going. At a road, you can enter the Golf Course, and follow the well-marked footpath (orange markers on wooden posts) through the greens. Finally, at the bottom, you cross a small stream (on a footbridge) and end up at the Park Café. Theoretically, our walk ends here, with tea and sticky buns at the café. But if you don't know Farnham and want to find your car, when you leave the café, turn right and walk down Castle Hill. A small (signed) cut through takes you back to Lion and Lamb Yard, Waitrose and the Upper Hart Car Park.


Thanks to Janet, who walked this route with me, giving up her own opportunity to have a beautiful Rambler's walk. I was ill on the day, and Janet kindly offered to 'babysit' me. I make no comments about the Adventure playground at the end – that was Janet's condition for taking me around!




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