Bentley and Well Circular

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Let the train take the strain – leave the car at home! Like Walk 4707 from Bentley, this is a walk where we have specifically catered both for walkers who arrive by car and those who are happy to catch the train where possible.

Bentley is in Hampshire, but is not far from Farnham, in Surrey. It lies beside the north branch of the Wey, a river that is also more associated with Surrey. You will see a mixture of the old and new in this attractive and popular village.

It was Arthur Young, an early 19th Century travel writer, who called the vale between Farnham and Alton the finest ten miles in England. More recently it was written that 'with its rolling downs and grassy uplands, its fields of hay and corn, its orchards and hop-gardens, its winding lanes with flower-strewn banks and ancient thatched barns and houses, Bentley is still a place of beauty and peace'.

Bentley is still remembered for being the location of a Radio 4 documentary series in the 1990s called The Village, following local residents about their daily lives. As you leave Bentley on this walk you pass the back of Pax Hill, which was the family home of Robert Baden-Powell. After he died in 1941 it was occupied by Canadian troops and by way of recompense, his widow Olave Baden-Powell was awarded a 'grace and favour' apartment in Hampton Court Palace. After World War II, the house became a Domestic Science Training School run on Guiding principles. It has been a nursing home since 1988.

Walking through Lower Froyle, you won't be surprised to read that, like so many other villages, since 1980 it has lost its vicarage, village school, both shops, post office, Methodist Church and pub.

About two hours into the walk, you reach the hamlet of Well and the Chequers pub, which with a canopy of vines and flowering plants disguising the entrance looks more French than rural Hampshire; certainly worth a visit, now or later.

The middle parts of the walk, along quiet ancient tracks with rarely another walker in sight, are excellent for wildlife. We saw hares, fallow deer, buzzards and skylarks.

As you return through Bentley, you pass St Mary's Church. Here there is an avenue of ten yews, reputed to be 500-600 years old. The branches of two of the trees have a spread of over sixty feet and are supported by oak beams.

England - South England - Hampshire - North Downs


Birds, Church, Flowers, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Pub, Public Transport, River, Wildlife, Woodland
8/24/2020 - Iestyn Roberts

The last third is on roads and that really took the shine off what had been an enjoyable walk up to that point. Has there been any progress with getting a permissive right of way at 27?

9/11/2017 - John Branscombe

Did this walk on the 10th September 2017 - very enjoyable a couple of points :- The path at wm 1 is at the back to the right. We went left at first. No big problem. WM 8 - I think the two stiles have gone but again no problem, keep walking and turn left onto lane which is Husseys Lane, but no road name sign. Lunch at outside of the Chequers was very good. Altogether a very enjoyable walk with excellent directions Thank You

5/23/2017 - Neil Packham

The footpath from Eggars Field at WM1 is now cleared and easily accessible again. The broken stile at WM20 has disappeared but the gap and fingerpost make the route fairly obvious. Generally a very pleasant and peaceful walk, probably closer to 8 miles than 9. The only negative is an extended period of road walking between WM24-29, albeit they're mostly quiet lanes.

11/2/2015 - Tim Begley

The footpath at waymark 1, off Eggars Field is no longer passable.Easily by-passed by walking up School Lane, left onto Hole Lane and pick up waymark 3 at the end of this lane.

5/4/2014 - Alison Ripley Cubitt

We walked too far into the housing estate at the start of the walk at Waymark 1 and took a dead end path, realised our mistake and then retraced our footsteps and found the layby and the footpath behind it. There is no fingerpost so you have to look out for it. Once we got going it was a lovely walk. There are some beautiful houses and gardens that you pass on this walk. Of note are the two magnificent oast houses. The Chequers is, as another reviewer has commented is a gastropub with smart decor, but entirely in keeping with the area. It has two outdoor spaces - one covered at the front and another at the back. My boots were muddy so I took them off when I went indoors. All in all a very enjoyable day. Thank you!

4/19/2014 - Ellen Pirie

We did this walk yesterday and really enjoyed it. Thank you Richard. It was a lovely day and the walk had great views and was very quiet and peaceful. Hardly any mud. The footbridge at waypoint 8 is not in use any more but you can easily get through the trees at this point as there is a big gap now. Also we couldn't see the 1st fingerpost mentioned in waypoint 15 but found the 2nd one. The Chequers at Well is really more a restaurant than a pub but did do very nice sandwiches and a bowl of skinny chips.

10/21/2012 - Patricia Daw

21st October 2012 Just completed this walk. Well directed and indeed it was about two hours to reach The Chequers Pub which is OK but no more than that. We were asked to take our muddy boots off - new owners I think and its had a recent refit. That wasn't a problem as we were VERY muddy - some of the paths were so wet. After leaving the pub we didn't follow the walk but stayed parallel to the bridleway on the road - much less muddy! Tricia Daw

6/14/2012 - Pete Steele

A beautiful walk in the countryside. The dogs loved it. Well worth a visit. An alternative at point 33 would be to continue straight on rather than turn right past the school. As you continue on for approximately 30 yards, you will find a finger-post on your right hand side which takes you across a field and behind the school bringing you back to the sports pavilion. You can see the track on a 1-50K map. A nice little field finish just to top it off. Loved it.

1/27/2010 - Maurice Pagella

Pleasant winter walk though in places the track can be heavily rutted and waterlogged. The Chequers Pub in Well was very welcoming with a good log fire.

9/29/2008 - Wendy Hoskin

This is a wonderful walk, so many thanks to Richard for devising it. We did it a couple of weeks ago on a lovely sunny, autumn day and were delighted by the variety and the views. Bliss!

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