This walk starts and ends in Chawton, well worth a visit in its own right and the home of Jane Austen. Her house is opposite the village car park. The walk description is provided by Guildford Rambling Club, see guildfordramblingclub.org.uk.
1. Walk back to the A31 roundabout and cross into the road opposite. Go under a bridge (the Watercress Line) and, a little way beyond it, turn left along a lane, Chawton Park Road/National Cycle Route 23. You will now walk more or less straight ahead for almost 2 miles before you turn off. Along the way, you will initially pass a few houses and then the lane becomes a track. You pass a Chawton Farm information plaque and go through various gates and along a wide grassy avenue through Chawton Park Wood. You ignore various lefts and rights including one very wide track sweeping away left. Shortly after the latter you encounter a fork and take the right-hand branch. Soon after that you turn off, taking the second clear but unsigned path heading away to the right and up through trees.
2. At the top, you reach a fence and walk left looking for a turning off to the right (which may or may not now have a signpost). Here, take this turn right to continue forward, passing a barrier and proceeding along a path which soon merges into a wide vehicle track. Follow this for over half a mile, passing metal gates and barriers, until reaching a small house (on the left-hand side). Here, take a bridleway right and follow the track until you reach houses and a road. Turn right along the road but immediately take an unsigned path off right, over grass near a house and along a fenced corridor to reach a field. Walk along the left-hand side of this field and the right-hand side of the next to reach a tarmac drive. Go straight across and along the left-hand side of the next field. Keep going forward until reaching a hedge and dropping down through a gap in it onto a wide stony track (Turners Lane). Turn left and walk up into Bentworth, emerging on a road with the Star Inn to your right. At April 2016 the pub was ‘closed until further notice’. This may or may not be still the case when you do the walk. Fear not though. If it is closed you could use the benches opposite for your picnic. And there is another picnic option and another pub a little way further on.
3. Follow the sign to the school and church and then turn right to walk past the school and straight through the churchyard (a possible picnic spot). The path exits the back of the churchyard and continues to meet a road. Go straight across and into a side road signed to Shalden and Alton. Follow this road round to reach the other pub, the Sun. Continue down a hill. Just after some ‘No Limit’ signs and before a side road right, turn right and go through a wide gap in the hedge into a field. Walk around this clockwise, ignoring the obvious path which heads out half-right. At the far left corner of the field go through into the next field and continue along its left-hand edge to enter a third field. Here, walk straight out to the far side to reach Turners Lane again. 4. Turn left. Walk for about 1.5 miles along this wide track which undulates up and down. Reach a road. Turn left and walk along, passing a couple of houses, until you find, next to a large oak tree, a footpath sign pointing right. This path takes you out half-left across a field and through into another, very large, field. Continue forward across it to reach a gate on the other side. Emerge on a track, turn right and walk a few yards to reach the dead end of a road. Turn right and quickly left down a track to reach a busy road. Cross to a track labelled ‘Bushy Leaze Wood’. You will walk about almost three quarters of a mile through this wood. You do it by immediately, at the entry barrier, following a yellow arrow off the very wide main track and branching left, up into the trees. At another yellow arrow you are taken left. Now continue along the path following yellow arrows. Reach and cross a wide gravelled track and continue on, ignoring a quick right turn.
5. The path reaches a 5 way junction with a 2 way signpost. You continue straight ahead along a very wide grassy track. Reach a fork with two yellow arrows. Branch right. Eventually you will see, on the right-hand side, a yellow arrow on a post but, beware, it is on the back of the post! Turn right and follow the path as it swings left and along the line of a fence. Opposite the start of a track on the left, look for a yellow arrow on a gap in the fence. Follow the path through here and down a slope. This brings you to a road. Turn right and immediately swing sharp left to walk under the Watercress Line, down to the roundabout on the A31 and across into Chawton.
DISTANCE: 10 miles
OS MAPS: Explorer 133 (Haslemere and Petersfield) and uses 132 and 144
STARTING POINT: Park in Chawton village car park.
The Sun Inn, Bentworth. Tel: 01420 562338