Length: 22.6km (14.1 miles), but reducible with shortcuts to 19.3km (12 miles) or even less: see **
Toughness: 8 out of 10 9.30
train from Waterloo
to Haslemere, arriving 10.25 From Clapham Junction, get your old friend the 9.29 (Exeter-bound) train to Woking, changing there (arrive 9.47, depart 10.02) for the above train.
Buy a day return to Haslemere
For walk directions
. For GPX
. For the walk home page
There are three different versions of this walk, but this one is generally considered to be the best. It has become a firm favourite of the midweek walkers but has not had a Saturday outing since 2016. **
Don't be too put off by the advertised length: perfectly good short options are available to reduce the walk to 12 miles, and in fact it can be shorter than that because a direct path from the ruins of Cowdray House to the bus stop (see paragraph 62) shaves off a loop of the walk into the town of Midhurst (charming though this is if you have the time/energy/daylight). Lastly but not leastly, everything after the Cowdray Estate Farm Shop Cafe is on easy tracks and can be done with no trouble in the dark or (if the skies are clear) near full moonlight.
The morning short cut
, albeit that it is only slightly shorter, comes with my recommendation as it has magnificent views from the top of Black Down. It and the main route come together at the Temple of the Winds, with its awesome southern panoramas - like being in a spaceship.
the desirable choice is the Duke of Cumberland
pub in Henley (not the River Thames Henley, by the way: another one)
but it tends to be booked up. You are advised not to rely on lunch here unless you have phoned to secure a table, or unless it is a nice enough day to sit outside, when it has a capacious unbooked garden (though even then check to be sure they will be serving food outside).
Otherwise a 1km diversion brings you to the Kings Arms
, a perfectly adequate pub, 7.7 miles into the walk, or 7.4 miles via the morning short cut.
In the afternoon
you cross a smallish ridge, with more nice views and then there is a choice of a direct descent into Midhurst, saving 1.8 miles, or a longer route, apparently more scenic (I have always opted for the short cut!).
A factor in deciding which afternoon route to take is that you want if possible to get to the gorgeous Cowdray Estate Farm Shop Cafe
, a bit before the end of the walk for a truly scrumptious tea. It closes at 5pm.
At the end
of the walk you have to get a number 70 bus
(ultimate destination Guildford) back to Haslemere: these go at 16.05
Trains back from Haslemere
are at 02
past ONLY today (slightly reduced service). The bus gets to Haslemere station, the stop before
the town centre, at 30 past (35 past in the case of the 19.10)
, so you will need to be very quick to make the 32 past train even if the bus is on time. But if you miss a train there is a very cosy pub opposite the station to wait for the next one.