Approximate distance: 30 miles
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Just to the north of Petersfield is some very picturesque countryside, known as the Hangers, the name 'hanger' comes from the Old English 'hangra' meaning a wooded slope. As implied, it’s quite hilly with plenty of woods, hidden valleys and very quiet lanes, it’s my favourite area to cycle in. I’ve ridden around these lanes for many years and even now find myself having to consult a map from time to time to remind myself where a particular lane leads.
I’ve put this route together to enable an exploration of the Hangers by bike, probably including some lanes we don’t often cycle along on club rides. The route is just about 30 miles long and – here’s the important part – it involves a lot of climbing. There are no particularly long hills, but there are many of them and some of them are quite steep. My GPS tracker has recorded the ride at just over 3,000ft of climbing, which by my reckoning is a very hilly ride.
Starting in Petersfield Market Square the ride heads out of town via Tilmore Road then leading to a cycleable bridal path over the A3 towards the Harrow pub, the path is part of Sustrans route 22 (look out for the John Wyndham memorial on the right, just before the junction at the pub). Then the route is up to Steep, Ashford Chace, down then up towards Hawkley, Empshott and over Goleigh Hill to Priors Dean. From Priors Dean the route is up past Priors Dean church to a right turn, down into a valley then up then down into another valley before a left turn, where the route meanders westwards then back east towards Froxfield, eventually crossing the A272 before arriving at East Meon. From East Meon the route back is via Bordean and Froxfield and the beautiful descent of Stoner hill to arrive back in Petersfield.
Refreshment stops along the route are a bit limited, but there’s the Pub With No Name (aka the White Horse) – slight detour off the route required, and pubs and a shop in East Meon. Alternatively, and in my opinion the best option is to take a picnic and stop somewhere along the way, I like to stop at the top of Goleigh hill and enjoy the view (9.4 miles from the start).
Also worth a minor detour, especially on a clear day, just at the top of Stoner Hill before starting the descent into Petersfield take the left turn along Cockshott Lane, which becomes Old Litten Lane, after a few hundred yards of roughstuff there is a splendid view across Petersfield towards the South Downs. Just down the slope is a memorial stone for the poet, Edward Thomas.
Some minor hazards to look out for are i) road surfaces are poorly maintained with potholes and very muddy in wet weather and ii) there is a ford at Empshott Green (7.9 miles from the start).