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|Author: Claire, Published: 17 May 2012||Walk Rating:|
|West Sussex, South Downs|
|A 4.5 mile circular walk through the stunning landscape of Black Down, an area of heathland, copses and meadows high in the hills of West Sussex. Black Down is the highest point in West Sussex and the views are truly spectacular across the surrounding rolling landscape. In spring you’ll enjoy carpets of bluebells and come July the site is famous for its mass of purple bilberries. The site is now owned and managed by the National Trust. |
The walk follows a mixture of heathland and woodland paths some of which are quite uneven with stone and trees roots and some of the sunken woodland paths remain quite muddy through many months of the year. There are several climbs and descents some of which are fairly steep. There are no stiles and just a handful of single gates. Cows are used through some of the year to help manage the heath, so take care with dogs, but it is quite unusual to see them in the massive expanse of heath and woodland. There are no refreshment or toilet facilities on the site. Approximate time 2 hours.
The walk starts from the small ‘Lower’ Car Park on Tennyson Lane, south of Haslemere. Note there are two car parks and you need the smallest of the two which is situated right on the hairpin bend on Tennyson Lane. Approximate post code GU27 3BJ.
|Start to First View Point|
Start point: 51.0676 lat, -0.6849 long
From the car park head away from the road and up a short slope through a wooden gate. Continue ahead and after just a few paces you will come to a bench, with magnificent views ahead over the rolling hills. Turn right up the short slope onto the narrow path between the trees.
|First View Point to Wider Path|
Start point: 51.066 lat, -0.6873 long
Continue past the bench (to your right) and keep on the narrow winding path with the valley slopes immediately on your left. Keep ahead on this path winding and rising and falling, and then continue on the most obvious path ahead. This path soon becomes a little wider passing through a section of hazels. The path begins to slope downhill with large beech trees each side.
|Wider Path to Signpost|
Start point: 51.0628 lat, -0.6861 long
Follow this wider and slightly sunken path ahead. Over to the left down the valley slopes you’ll have great views of Abesters Copse, which has a carpet of bluebells in the spring.
|Signpost to Temple of the Winds|
Start point: 51.059 lat, -0.6884 long
Take the right hand fork here, ahead on the public bridleway. Continue along this wide level track. This path is part of the Serpent Trail. A little while later you’ll come to a major fork in the path. Take the left hand fork signed to Temple of the Winds.
|Temple of the Winds to Fernden Road|
Start point: 51.0551 lat, -0.6881 long
The curved stone bench here was erected in memory of Mabel Elizabth Hunter, wife of Edward W Hunter, who gave Black Down to the National Trust in 1944. A plaque set on top of the stone plinth gives a key to the views in various directions – from Haslemere on the far left round to Midhurst and Beacon Hill on the far right. On clear days you’ll be able to see as far as Lewes and the south coast.
|Fernden Road to Sheetlands|
Start point: 51.0527 lat, -0.6954 long
Turn right along Fernden Lane. The lane is reasonably quiet but there are no pavements so take care of any traffic. Follow the lane uphill and then back downhill, passing a number of horse paddocks on the banks to the right. Soon afterwards you’ll pass some stables and the entrance to Crotchet Farm on the right. Ignore this entrance, and just continue along the main lane.
|Sheetlands to Gate|
Start point: 51.0649 lat, -0.7066 long
About 30 yards after the entrance to Sheetlands, turn right onto a public bridleway, marked with a blue arrow, through a tunnel of trees. After a little distance this path comes past a lake on the right to emerge onto the drive of a private property.
|Gate to Main Junction|
Start point: 51.068 lat, -0.7014 long
Pass through the gate and then turn right onto the wide grass path climbing steadily uphill with patches of gorse each side. At the T-junction with a wider track, keep right and continue ahead to the next wooden gate.
|Main Junction to End|
Start point: 51.0637 lat, -0.6904 long
Ignore the first left turning (which goes downhill); instead take the second left which is a wider level path marked with the blue arrow. A little distance further, keep right at the fork, again following the main level track.
Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2012 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.
An absolutely amazing walk with stunning views. Excellent practice for trekking - good variety of terrains. Directions pretty easy to follow. Thanks for this
|By Considine on 10 Oct 2013|
Excellent first and last part of the walk with beautiful views. About 3/4 round there is a long section of road walking which although quiet isn't the best. Worth it for the views though.
|By Tobiasofsurr on 29 Dec 2016|
The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.
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Very enjoyable and well described route. Views over the river from the warren were stunning.
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