It’s May and we all know what that means – not one but two bank holiday Mondays!

As we are lucky enough to live in a beautiful part of the world, why not use the extra day off work to explore some of the lovely countryside in north-east Hampshire?

And if you really want to see the area in its full glory, you need to park up the car and head out on foot. Go on, it's good for you.

Some of the best strolls in the county are featured in a new AA walking guide – 50 Walks in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Stately homes to visit in Surrey and north-east Hampshire
70 things to do and see in Surrey and north-east Hampshire  

Each features walks of between two and 10 miles in length, along with a potted history of the area, directions, other things to do locally and where to eat, level of difficulty graded from one to three and even whether or not man's best friend is welcome and when pets need to be kept on leads.

Featured in the books are many walks right on our doorstep including Odiham and Alice Holt, Mytchett, Frensham and Farnham just across the county border in Surrey.


But I thought I'd take a stroll around Elvetham and Hartley Wintney.

It's a walk of four miles, graded as level two across fields, along minor roads and woodland tracks that should take a minimum of and hour and three quarters, the guide told me.

So, parking in the public car park behind the A30 in Hartley Wintney, off I set.

I have to say, the first little loop in what I considered to be the wrong direction through the residential area behind the village seemed slightly unnecessary but then I crossed the A30 and headed towards the parish church. I stopped briefly to look at the village war memorial and then crossed the A323 towards the Cricketers pub and the village green.

I stopped again to take some photographs of the village pond and then followed a footpath over a stile to the Elvetham Estate around the edge of Hartley Wintney Golf Course - dogs need to be kept on a lead for the first part of this walk.

The route takes you around the edge of the golf course, across a field and along Elvetham Lane where you have to cross the A30. It's a busy dual carriageway so care needs to be taken, but the guide even tells you that.

A couple of paddocks, a few bridges and a number of kissing gates and you reach the edge of Hazeley Heath where the dogs can be let off the lead.

There's a short steep climb that, along with the odd muddy footpath and stile is probably the reason for the grade two difficulty listing, before the path heads back down towards the village.

You reappear in Hartley Wintney at Hunts Common alongside the prettily painted cottages and the Millennium Orchard that has been planted there. And, even if you stop incessantly to take photos, the estimated time is pretty accurate.

Just one word of caution though - the car park at Hartley Wintney is a pay-and-display and allows for up to two hours of parking Monday to Saturday.

If you're going to dawdle, or fancy stopping for a coffee once you've finished the walk, go on a Sunday or Bank Holiday Monday when there are no parking restrictions and it's free

If you're looking for something to do this weekend then check out our What's On listings.

50 Walks in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight is published by the AA and priced at £11.99. It is available from The AA's online shop.