The sun was shining this morning so Hooves and I escaped for a stretch before the weather changed. We headed out for a dog walk around Hawley Lake, near Farnborough and to investigate Hawley Common. Hawley Common is part of the Minley MOD Training Area. There are public rights of way zig-zagging across the land, which are always open to the public. Safety notices should be heeded: don’t allow children or dogs to stray too far and be prepared for sudden noises! (Rather disappointingly we heard none today!) The best place to park is on the hard standing outside the entrance to Hawley Lake Sail Training Centre. This is up a tarmac road off of Minley Road, which is just a few minutes of of the M3. (map) (streetview) There is no charge for parking here.
Once parked, you can head off into the woods through the open barrier, which is to the left of the entrance to the sailing club. You’ll find a network of primary paths, many of which are tarmac, however there are many more ‘off piste’ tracks and paths that you can follow through the trees to make your walk more interesting. You’ll find that these are more popular with dog walkers, as the tarmac paths are used by runners and cyclists, who prefer the firmer surface.
By following the smaller trails you can hug the lake, and there are several beaches where your pooch can have a dip. The route around the lake is mostly on flat, sandy ground with boggy areas here and there. It passes through some pretty woodland and takes roughly 45 minutes to walk the perimeter at a reasonable pace. Needless to say we took longer as we met some lovely doggy people with their hounds, here and there, whom were all to happy to stop for a natter in the sunshine. One section of the route follows the tarmac access lane for The Hawley Lake Sail Training Centre that you will have driven up to reach the parking area, so take care of any traffic for this stretch. We saw one vehicle so it’s not exactly busy!
You can extend your walk into Hawley Common, which takes in a few gentle slopes and you can quite easily lose two to three hours wandering through the countryside. You may well see some cattle grazing here and there, and there are some wildfowl down by the lake. All-in-all this is a lovely place to take your four-legged chum for a really good romp. Hooves loved it.
As an alternative you could start and finish your walk at a cracking pub called the Crown and Cushion in Minley (just up the road) but sadly they don’t permit dogs indoors…gutted!