The Temple of the Winds on Black Down & lunch in idyllic hamlet with fine pub and evocative ruins of a fortified Tudor house on Cowdray Estate against the backdrop of the South Downs
Main Walk: 14.1 miles (22.6 kilometers)
With Morning Shortcut: 13.8 miles (22.1 kilometers) – A slightly shorter route to the Temple of the Winds, with more open views from the Black Down to the west and substantial heather.
With Afternoon Shortcut: 12.3 miles (19.8 kilometers) – A more direct approach to Cowdray Estate and Midhurst, sharing similar views (but more limited in nature) and characteristics of the main walk.
With both Shortcuts: 12.0 miles (19.3 kilometers)
Time: 8-10 hours, including transportation, lunch, afternoon refreshment stop and time spent admiring views and sites.
Map: OL 33 OS Explorer
Difficulty: 8 out of 10 (or 7 out of 10 using both shortcuts).
From the medieval town well in Haslemere to the stocks and pillory in Midhurst, this walk is an epic journey partially in the footsteps of a poet. It gently climbs the highest point in Sussex (the Black Down), and then drops steeply to traverse a valley along a roller coaster of a path through some light woods before entering more thickly planted pine forests, allegedly haunted by the ghost of the last wild bear killed in England. After lunch in the idyllic hamlet of Henley at a pub boasting views back to the Temple of the Winds, the route again gently climbs a second hill offering stunning views back across your journey of the morning before a long descent into Midhurst across the Cowdray Estate with the mighty South Downs ahead, passing by the intriguing ruins of Cowdray House en route where various historic figures of note were either voluntary visitors or held captive prior to execution. The walk is probably best done during bluebell season (late April-mid-May) or in the autumn with good leaf color.
Take the train closest to 9:00 from London Waterloo to Haslemere. The return journey requires taking a number 70 bus from the Midhurst bus terminus back to Haslemere. As of May 2016, these buses were at 16:00, 17:00, 18:00 and 19:05 Monday-Saturday (no buses on Sunday). These buses generally connect well with fast trains back to Waterloo leaving about half past the relevant hour. In 2016, the bus fare is 4.95, unless traveling after 19:00, when it drops to 2.00 pounds for a "nightride" ticket. More information on Midhurst buses and some alternative routes are provided below under Midhurst.
The recommended lunch pub is the Duke of Cumberland Arms (01428 652 280, dukeofcumberland.com) located in the tiny hamlet of Henley, 8.2 miles (13.2 km) into the main walk and 8 miles (12.8 km) if using the Morning Shortcut. They serve lunch from 12:00 to 2:00 pm daily. It is recommended to book a table a few weeks in advance. Additionally, there is a large first come first served garden if the weather is nice. Large groups should call from Haslemere Station.
The Kings Arms (01428 641 165, kingsarmspub.co.uk ) located on the main road to Fernhurst 7.7 miles (12.4 km) into the main walk or 7.4 miles (11.9 km) into the walk if using the Morning Shortcut, in each case, along a 1 km diversion is an alternate lunch pub if not able to get a table at the Duke of Cumberland or worried that you will not get to it by 2:00 pm. It serves food daily from 12:00 to 2:30 (except Sunday when food is served until 3:00pm).
The recommended tea stop is the Cowdray Estate Farm Shop and Café, open 9-5 daily. Alternatively, The White Horse in Easebourne which is open all day Friday-Sunday can provide stronger afternoon refreshments on the weekends.
Midhurst also has a number of tea and post walk drink options – the most promising being: for tea – Garton’s Coffee House in the Old Town Hall located on the market square open until 5:00 pm on Saturdays and 4:30 pm each other day of the week and for something stronger or later – The Bricklayers Arms (with outdoor courtyard) or The Wheatsheaf, both located a few blocks beyond the market square, are recommended. The Swan Inn and the Spread Eagle Hotel near the market square are also good options.
Travel from Midhurst Updated Mar-17
There are 4 bus routes to choose from.
Waterloo line to Haslemere / Petersfield
Victoria line to Pulbrough / Amberley / Arundel
Both lines (a more expensive ticket to Chichester, valid for all the above stations)
BJ's Private Hire (01730 716327 or 07732 590806). Uber is about £25 for Midhurst to Haslemere.
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
Out (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk