The fresh green of the trees make it a perfect walk in all seasons, even when the climate is not too clement. Your dog too will enjoy it too. The walk is taken from www.fancyfreewalks.org if you wish to download the walk and a larger map.

1. From the car park, go ahead past a metal barrier and follow the wide stony path. After 200m, ignore paths left and right. (The right-hand path leads to a picnic area and a circular path. The left-hand path leads to the Alice Holt Research Centre.) After another 400m, go straight over a tarmac path. Soon the path curves left with great views to your right over Hampshire (summer foliage permitting). Just after, avoid side paths left and right and ignore a yellow arrow. The path descends between cypress trees, then ascends again and runs level amongst pines, becoming more grassy. After another level section, a total of 2 km from the car park, the pristine forest ends and your path passes a tree plantation on your left with a grassy path forking left beside it.

2. Go just 20m further along the track and, turn right at a wide junction on a much narrower grassy (and rather stony) path. (Don’t miss this turn! As a guide, this is the first clear right turn for a good 2 km.) After nearly 300m on this straight path, at a junction, just before a cleared area with new saplings, turn sharp left to arrive in about 200m at a 3-way junction. Veer right here on a path that takes you through a wooden barrier. Keep straight ahead with houses and gardens on your right and, after 130m, turn right on a quiet residential road. In about 250m, just after St Huberts (with its little turret and wind vane) turn left on a narrow footpath. This takes you past a filling station (with a small shop) to the main A325 road.

3. Cross the road carefully and turn right to reach the road junction in the village of Bucks Horn Oak. Fork left next to a new house on a side road signed to Dockenfield and Alice Holt Forest. In 100m, turn left on a byway. (In case this byway is muddy, you could go another 150m and turn left at the entrance for cars.) The path enters woods and in another 250m you reach the main driveway of the Centre, with the car park on your left. Turn right and veer left to find all the facilities: the café, toilets and cycle hire centre.

4. This section takes you in a loop round the best part of the forest, always finding dry paths. Opposite the café and cycle hire there is a square roofed shelter and picnic area with open sides. With the shelter on your left, take a path going downhill marked as the Willows Green Trail (reverse route). This nice wide path curves right and goes over a bridge with railings. At a T-junction, turn left on the Long Route, soon reaching a T-junction with a wide sandy gravel track. Turn right here. In 200m you reach a crossing path with waymarkers, plus a ‘Gruffalo’. Turn left here on a grey gravel path, passing several stick huts or ‘dens’ as your path veers right. After 200m on this path, at a T-junction, turn left on another wide path, with houses sometimes visible beyond. Keep ahead on this path for about 350m, avoiding a left fork half way along, until you reach a major T-junction, indicated by a fork in the path. Keep left here and turn left as you join another path at the T-junction, still on the red route.

5. In about 100m, avoid a left fork at a marker post, thus leaving the red route. This excellent wide path snakes its way downhill for another ½ km. In a dip, you pass regardless a junction sharp left and, 50m later, you reach a crossing path. Turn right on this crossing path (don’t miss this turn!). In 250m your path wheels left and in 150m it goes over a crossing path. The next crossing, in nearly 250m, is a byway (rather muddy in winter). In 100m your path curves right as it meets a grassy path on the left and goes over a stream. In 200m, stay on the main path as it bends sharp left and then veers right, avoiding all the lesser, muddy side paths.

6. On your left soon is George’s Lonely Oak, named after a long-serving forester. Nearly ½ km after that sharp left turn, you reach another junction. Turn left here to avoid the muddy horse path ahead and quickly right again, staying on the wide dry path, passing some cypresses, a picnic table and a large wooden ball. This takes you, in another 100m or so, to a very wide path at an oblique T-junction. Turn right on this wide path, still on the Family Cycle Trail, to reach, in 150m, a 5-way junction.

7. Now leave the main route which bends away left, by taking another wide path, almost straight ahead, through trees. In about 200m, you reach the border of the forest indicated by a wooden gate and a small car park. A small community on the Surrey border, welcome to Rowledge! St James’ church is on your left. Keep straight ahead on the lane to a junction in the village.

8. Take the first left onto School Road. You pass on your right, a bowling club, a recreation ground and a small parking area. At a T-junction, turn left on Fullers Road. Avoid a footpath immediately on the right, continue on the road for 250m and, just past Fox Hollow and immediately before some new housing, turn right on a hidden footpath. (This path is easy to miss as signpost is not visible till you turn.)

9 This path soon takes you over a bridge across a gurgling stream, through woodland and out to a junction of farm tracks. Keep straight ahead and, after passing an entrance to a farm, keep ahead on a hard-core grassy track. Finally, you come out beside a large metal gate to the main A325 road. Cross the road carefully and go through a swing gate directly opposite (you may now have to duck under the fence) into the front yard of the Ball and Wicket.

10. Pass the pub wall on your left and go through a wooden gate into a meadow by a 4-way fingerpost giving you a choice of two paths cutting across the grass. Take the left-hand fork, aiming for a metal kissing-gate (which may be hard to see at first) at the right end of a wooden boundary fence. (In winter you can also see a house there.) Go through the gate, turn right in front of the house and go past a wooden barrier back into the forest, avoiding side paths. This long straight (and fairly dry) path makes for a pleasant final saunter back to your starting point. After pines, a more open section, and more pines and birch, you go over a wide crossing path with views on the right (summer foliage permitting). Finally, after a total of just over 1 km on this path, you go through a metal barrier to a lane. Turn left on the lane and in 20m fork right, back to the car park where the walk began.

DISTANCE: 7 miles
MAP: Explorer 145 (Guildford)
START: Gravel Hill Road car park on the edge of Alice Holt Forest, www.w3w.co/downsize.fevered.tiles. The nearest postcode is GU10 4LJ but for navigation purposes, you need to set GU10 5JD for Gravel Hill Road.