FLEET author Bob Rose has been busy signing copies of the latest in his Family Walks series.

The new book features 12 circular walks around Odiham, Greywell, Upton Grey and Long Sutton.

It is an enlarged and revised version of a book that is no longer available.

The walk descriptions with maps on facing pages, make the book easy to use — especially as it is pocket-sized.

The centre pages show starting points for the walks where parking is available.

As the walks are circular, they can be started from any point on the route. Most pass a pub, which is a bonus for thirsty walkers.

The walks are from three to five miles in length and may be strolled round in a couple of hours, allowing plenty of time to visit the many points of interest en route.

These are described in a separate section at the end of the book and provide a useful source of information for those interested in local history.

They include several historic churches, water mills, Dogmersfield Park, Greywell Tunnel, the Basingstoke Canal and Five Lanes End, a particularly evocative spot on the prehistoric Harrow Way.

One of the walks also passes Frenchman's Oak, a very old oak tree about a mile from Odiham on the road to Winchfield.

During the Napoleonic Wars, French prisoners were kept in Odiham.

Officers were given limited freedom if they gave their promise not to attempt escape.

They were allowed to go one mile from the village — hence the name of Frenchman's Oak.

A replacement oak, grown from an acorn of the Frenchman's Oak, was planted in 1991 across the nearby London Road.

Another point of interest is King John's Castle, which was built between 1207 and 1212 and used by the sovereign as a hunting lodge.

It is reputed that King John set out from the castle in 1215 to sign the Magna Carta.

The Dauphin of France laid siege to the castle in 1216 and its small garrison held out for 13 days without losing a man.

David Bruce, King of Scotland, was held prisoner in the castle for 11 years from 1346.

Now, only the keep of the castle remains and it can be seen from the Basingstoke Canal.

The 32-page book costs £2.40 and can be bought from bookshops and tourist information centres in local towns.

It can also be bought by post from the following address: Footmark Publications, 12 The Bourne, Fleet GU52 6TL. It costs £2.80 including post and packing.

As a special offer, all five copies of the Family Walks series, signed by the author, are available for £10, including post and packing, from Footmark Publications.

They cover Odiham, Fleet, Crookham, Crondall, Farnham, the Blackwater Valley, Hook, Hartley Wintney and Rotherwick.