A pleasant 4.5 mile stroll in lovely countryside.
This is a four and a half mile circular walk around the village of Fair Oak and it's lovely wooded rural surroundings.
The best place to start is from Hardings Lane (off Sandy Lane), Fair Oak, where you'll find plenty of space for considerate
parking close to Stoke Park Woods.
To the left of the woods entrance is a tarmac path leading onto a housing estate, take this path and immediately turn
right down another tarmac path which skirts the woods. Where the path forks take the left fork through a close of houses,
across the road and into another close where you need to bear right before turning left onto Olympic Way.
Walk down the hill and turn left into Marathon Place, at the bottom of the close keep left handed to pass through a car
park before ascending a steep gravel path which emerges from the trees onto New Road where you turn left. At the end of the
road turn right and immediately left into Shorts Road.after a short distance enter New Century Park walking diagonally across
it to emerge onto Campbell Way next to the Squash Club. Turn right passing the dentist clinic and you will see a row of local
shops in front of you. This is Summerlands Road and you must turn right before turning left at the end of the road to go up
to Fair Oak Suare, where you'll find the Cricketers or the George if you're feeling thirsty already.
Turn left into Winchester Road, cross the pedestrian crossing and turn right between St Thomas church and it's
churchyard continuing forward onto Mortimers Lane.
Approximately a quarter of a mile up the lane (which is a fairly busy main road) you will find Hallands Lane on your
left. The lane soon leaves the houses behind and there are good views back over towards Southampton as you climb steadily
up the hill, passing stables and Hallands House and farm. The end of the lane is marked by a farm gate which you must pass
through following the track towards a small stand of woodland.
On reaching the next farm gate, do not pass through, instead bear to the left to skirt the woodland along the edge of
the field until you come to a small wooden gate which you pass through onto a tree and hedge lined path.
This is horse country and if you're walking here during the winter or in wet weather, you'll need your boots as the horses
can mush up the narrow path a little.
Carry on along the path either side of which you'll soon come across horsey related things, stables , grazing, jumps
etc. The glasshouses of Fieldfare Plant Nursery appear on your right shortly after which you emerge once more onto Winchester
Road which you cross very carefully to take the tree lined path to the right of the Fox and Hounds. At the T junction of paths
a field lies ahead and a broad track with steep sides lies to the left. Take the broad track for a short distance before
entering Pylehill Copse through a kissing gate to your right.
Continue along the broad track through the copse keeping an eye open for deer (although I've seen more in Olympic Way
nibbling residents plants than in the woods lately !) Exit Pylehill Copse through a gate onto Hardings Lane which is now little
more than a path and turn left keeping Stoke Park Woods to your right, and passing the tall TV transmitter until you
emerge back onto Hardings Lane proper where you have left your car.