For those of you who don't know, hangers in this sense are paths that contour along the sides of the steep hills of this part of Hampshire. There is a "Hanger's Way" which runs 21 miles from Alton to the Queen Elizabeth's Country Park, Petersfield. We're going to use the route for a little and then work our way back through the glorious Hampshire countryside.
From: A circular walk from the National Trust Car Park at Selborne. Grid reference SU 742335, Postcode GU34 3JR.
Length: 10 miles.
Average Walk Time: Around 5 hours.
Terrain: Quite hilly. Just over 420m of ascent. The paths are generally very good and the area drains well. A few stiles.
Suitable for dogs: Yes.
Look out for: Some great views over the countryside. Some tiny tributaries of the River Rother. Ridiculously pretty buildings in Selborne and Hawkley.
Start from the car park by the side of the Selborne Arms. For those of you who have heard of Gilbert White, a naturalist from the 18th century (not a naturist), this is heaven for you. There is plenty of time after the walk to check out his gardens and collection. Plus, Selborne is a really pretty village, well worth walking around. Having said all that, you're boots are laced up now, so let's go! Leave the car park and turn right down the main road. Follow this for 500m, crossing the road when the pavement peters out, and look for a strange water feature on the left-hand wall. Water pours out from a lion's mouth, and this is our signal to turn off the road, right, up the hill. The footpath is 5m past the fountain.
After 300m, the path turns left, but it's obvious. There's nowhere else to go. Keep on over some gorgeous wild flower meadows. When you reach the woods, turn left on the first of the hangers – High Wood Hanger. This curls around the hill in true hanger style, until you reach a small clearing. Although it is well signed, you have been following the hanger for so long, it's easy to miss. To aid you, I've included 2 pictures of this same junction - Ⓐ & Ⓑ. You turn left here, taking the path that cuts well back on yourself. This small path heads steeply downhill towards the road.
At the road, turn right and you can cross the small stream on the small wooden footbridge, then head along the footpath which is to the left of the road itself. (Ⓒ on the picture). Shortly you arrive at another loop of road, and this time you turn left and walk for 100m along it, past Vann Farm with its attractive pond. After the pond, cut right across a field. Reaching the woodline, you turn left and follow Hawkley Hanger.
Follow this path for about 1.5km. The Hanger's Way turns left here, away from the hillside. It's well signed, and hard to miss. Cross a small field and enter Hawkley village. The area around the church is good for lunch, or for those so inclined, there's a pub. After lunch, leave the village with the church on your right and head out of town, North East. 250m from the church, cross the crossroads, and then look for a good path left on a right-hand bend in the road. Turn left here. Ⓓ.
Two hundred metres more and you rejoin the country roads. Just 100m farther and a complicated junction appears, where you take the middle road, with the no entry sign to motorised vehicles between 1 Nov and 30 April Ⓔ. Hopefully, you're walking this route in the Summer months, so there should be little problem for you with your electric-powered roller skates! 600m more and the path kinks left as the route crosses the infant River Rother. It's not exactly impressive, but at least it's better than the source of the River Wey in a previous article! Soon, you reach a main road, and please take care when you cross. The path leaves exactly opposite where you arrived. 250m more and you rejoin a minor road. Look out for Le Court and spend a moment resting in the Leonard Cheshire Disability Gardens. You can read about his work and rest looking at the flowers.
Finished resting? Well, time to move on again. Back to the small road and continue. Immediately after Le Court, fork left and look for a well-signposted footpath on the left. We missed it and had to retrace our steps, which is why the walkers are coming the wrong way up the road in the photo Ⓕ, rather than approaching from my viewpoint. Having skirted Le Court Hanger on this path, you move to Squiresfield Hanger, where you join a minor road for 150m. As the road bends left, you take a path on the right, which shortly gets sandwiched between a couple of fences. The path takes a dramatic U-turn to the right and heads down the hill to a footbridge. It now climbs gently up a glacial U-shaped valley, until it reaches the head, where a short, sharp path brings you up to the farm on the top. Turn right, and don't agonise about the choice of road or footpath here, as both lead to the same place after 100m.
Turn left parallel to the farm road, and look for a small gate taking you through onto the road itself. The second right track takes you across two stiles and between a pair of fences. Five hundred metres more and the path opens up into an area with playing fields and tennis courts. All of a sudden, it appears to dead end. As you're metres from the end, I could be mean and dump you here, but I'm nice! Look for a small footbridge on the right Ⓖ, and cross this. Now the back roads take you easily back into Selborne, and back to the car park. Thanks to Alan and Rosie of the Farnham Ramblers for leading this walk.
Well, you've made it! Time for a drink in the pub, tea in the tea room and the amazing White collections. Plan to spend a little time here after you finish!