Wheatham Hill and the Hangers
- Date: 16 April 2022
- Walk Leader: Lynne Burge
- Distance: 11 Miles
- Start: 10:00 am at the Outdoor Swimming Pool, Heath Road, Petersfield
The walk begins outside the outdoor swimming pool in the centre of Petersfield, a good rallying point. Take the little used path alongside the stream along Tor Way against the flow of traffic. Cross the road, follow across Merritts Meadow, a permissive path that is locked at dusk and then across the recreation ground. To the left of the path that leaves the recreation ground there used to be a small holding that had chickens, sheep and goats- a magnet for small children to watch the animals. Follow the path up over the A3 and on towards Bedales, the route gradually becoming more peaceful as the noise of the busy road is left behind. Pass Steep Church, which is well worth a visit, and follow the path as it leads off right from the small recreation ground found over the road.
This time of year, as the path descends downwards, bluebells can be seen along with wild garlic and many other wild flowers seen in Spring. Steep Farm is next as the path meanders through a delightful wooded area that crosses Ashford Stream. Take a quiet few moments to listen to the birdsong and watch the water as it flows under the bridge. Continue through the trees bending around to the left (ignore the spur off to the right) and walk under the canopy of the delightful woods. The path descends slightly to go through the grounds of The Moors, a lovely house with its own allotment and piles of wood, enough to keep a wood burner burning for years.
The path rises up to a large building, thought to be a chicken farm, and then follow along the back of it. Over the stile to the left fields open out and the path begins to go up. Now you come to the potentially muddy part. For 50 metres the going can be impassable in winter but thankfully after the dry weather we have had, it was navigable. Now the hard work starts. Crossing diagonally over the field to the kissing gate and then a hard walk up to the road.
At the junction with the road look back to admire the view, get your breath back and prepare for the climb ahead. Follow the road to the right, making sure you don’t start to descend, keep to the higher way and just at the parting of the roads a difficult stile takes you on your journey towards the Hangers.
A sharp climb up the hill leads to a stile and more uphill under cover of trees. Climb the stile at the end and head to the left. Take your time to get to the top, a few false summits can fool you into thinking you are at the top and eventually you will be.
Continue onto Cobbett’s View where benches can be found with a panorama that will take your breath away if you have any left after that long, steep climb.
Having drunk your coffee or whatever refreshments you have brought with you, the route continues along the main path and ridge. Follow Old Litten Lane which transforms into Cockshott Lane as you wend your way along it. At the junction of the two lanes it is worth diverting off to the top of Shoulder of Mutton, the view from the top is worth the extra walking.
Continue along the road, past the Edward Barnsley workshops to the top of Stoner Hill. At the junction with the road turn right, cross the road and follow the metalled road heading towards High Cross. This part is all road walking but with interesting houses to view and lots of wild flowers it is only a short time until you reach the turn off point. As soon as you come into High Cross the path leads down the back of houses and out across fields past Soal Wood and out onto the road. Climb over the stile and continue straight forward to the next junction.
At this point you can go either left or right. The original plan was to go right, but a field full of pregnant cows, and mother cows with very young offspring made it prudent to avoid them, so we took the left turn. Quickly turn right and wander down what was a metalled road but is now more mud than tarmac. Pass Wheelers Farm and turn right along Ridge Top Lane. This is a fascinating lane which once was an ancient drovers track. Eventually you will meet a road, at this point take the path off to your right down Ridge Hanger.
Beware, this is a very steep path down hill, with some very deep steps. As the gradient eases the path will take you across a glorious field to go over the road to the next path.
Keep following down towards the A3 and cross over the bridge to come into the fields behind Buckmore Farm. Once in the edge of Petersfield choose your own route back to the swimming pool or stop off in one of the many coffee stops for a well deserved beverage and piece of cake.
Author: Lynne Burge
Photos: Various Walkers