The featured walk takes place in the villages of Whitehill and Liphook, situated in the north-east of the county.
The area around Whitehill has a rich and diverse history. Hunter/gatherers from the Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age) period have left behind flint tools. Bronze Age people have dotted the area with 42 tumuli (mounds of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves - also known as barrows or burial mounds), and the Romans have left the remains of a road from Chichester to Silchester.
In the 13th century the Royal Woolmer Forest was hunted by Edward I and in 1863 much on the land was purchased by the Ministry of Defence for the creation of two military camps at Longmoor and Bordon.In 1929 the civil parish of Whitehill was formed to unite the two military camps and take in the village of Whitehill and the hamlets of Hollywater, Deadwater and Broxhead.More than 60% of the land has international conservation status. This is mostly due to restricted public access to live firing ranges, and the Army has a strong presence in the parish.
Download the route map 224kb pdf
Length: 4 miles (6.5km) or 2 hours for shorter route. OS Explorer Map 133
Public transport: the nearest train stations are Petersfield, Liss and Liphook
Terrain: Initially up a steep incline with spectacular views at the top. No stiles, but the path can be muddy in places.
Start point: The Deer’s Hut Public House, Liphook
From the Deer’s Hut Public House in Liphook follow the tarmac road towards the golf course. After passing the two parking areas on the left take the earth track on the left and continue up the hill. The route takes you through the copse passing several properties on your right and on past the golf course. You will find many squirrels scurrying up the trees as you walk through the copse with a background sound of birds from buzzards, robins, blue tits, thrush, green woodpeckers and jays to name a few. As you reach the top of the hill the path opens up to an area where the view to the left is spectacular, looking towards Folly Pond and beyond into Sussex. Certainly take time out here to enjoy the view – in August and September the heather forms a purple carpet.
The route continues on through the bridlegate and follows the edge of Weavers Down for approx 2.29km. Here you can take the shorter route to the left through the kissing gate – this follows an enclosed route across the heath. The route continues on down and near a sunken bend in the path. The Roman road from Chichester to Silchester crosses and continues north towards Longmoor Camp.As you near Langley you may hear the trains going through. At the bottom turn left passing in front of two properties and up the path keeping the fence to your left all the way passing areas of rhododendrons. As you approach Hilly Fields Copse, as indicated on the map, you will reach a three-way finger post and this is where the shorter route comes out. Take the route in front signposted bridleway with a blue arrow and follow this route until you reach the next finger post. At this finger post take the middle route where you will pass several properties on your right. At the metal gate on your right continue along the middle path passing a very old oak tree. Carry on until you reach the dirt track that you first started on and turn left back towards the start.
This was a very pleasant and manageable walk taking about two hours as advised and the views were well worth the visit.
The incline at the start was slight and the views from the top to the south east were magnificent. If you keep the fence of the Open Access Land to your left and follow this towards Forest Mere you will have no trouble following the route.
The directions can lead you down the track to Crouch Cottages and along the path by the rhododendrons, which were in flower. This leads you east away from the route but to a lovely view over Folly Pond.
Returning to the route by back-tracking was easy and the walk up to the start was also easy going but not so well worn. We would recommend this walk for all.
Reviewed by Nigel Wright, from Chineham
Whitehill is the only parish in the UK to claim home to all 12 native amphibians and reptiles.