On the downs after lunch

Petersfield to Cocking walk

16-Jul-16 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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Descending to Cocking

Petersfield to Cocking walk

16-Jul-16 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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old burial ground/picnic site

03-Aug-13 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

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03-Aug-13 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

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BEACON HILL, South Downs Way

Summitting Beacon Hill, it's that man again! (Our High Commander, DAC)

03-Aug-13 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

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S Downs Way near Cocking

03-Aug-13 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

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Fallen Battle of Britain flier


03-Aug-13 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

book3 swcwalks walk155

South Downs Way 3 : Petersfield to Cocking walk

Follows the South Downs Way along the crest of the South Downs with good 360 degree views throughout.


12.7 miles/20.4 km


7 out of 10 (466m of ascent)


You'll need OS Explorer Maps OL8 (was 120 - Chichester) and (for the first 2km) OL33 (was 133 - Haslemere), or a guidebook to the SDW with maps


This is a ridge walk along the South Downs Way (SDW). A good, easy to follow path, with some steep ascents in the westerly half of the walk, but only gentle ups and downs east of the Devil's Jumps, and fine 360 degree views for most of the way.

It's a different kind of South Downs Way from the more familiar sections further east. Quite wooded and with big sections on tracks and lanes. The first half would actually make a good bluebell walk and it would not be a bad autumn colour outing either. The scenery in this mid section is wonderful - classic grassy downland, with lots of ups and downs and great views. After more woodland there is a long track section through flowery meadows and a beautiful descent to Cocking, perhaps the best scenery of the walk.

It is best to bring a picnic, as the only pubs are very early, or at the bottom of the South Downs ridge which you need to re-ascend afterwards.

From Petersfield Station, the walk goes through the town square, then heads south from to Buriton (4 km) along the Hangars Way following a small stream. There is an option for very early pub lunch in Buriton

Then it's up on to the ridge for the main part of the walk (16 km) which follows the SDW along the crest of the South Downs ridge, past Tower Hill (has a folly), Beacon Hill (242 metres, ancient hill fort), Treyford Hill and Linch Ball (hill, trig point just north of the SDW path).

At Harting Down, just before Beacon Hill, you can head 1,1 km north, down off the ridge to the pub in South Harting. A little further, you can head 800 metres south to Uppark, a NT Historic Country House with a tea room (you need to pay admission to enter). These are the only refreshment possibilities on this part of the walk.

The SDW meets the A 286 road just south of Cocking which has a bus stop. Optionally, leave the SDW 1.5 km earlier on Cocking Down, and head north east along a path towards Cocking village (1 km north along the A 286 road) which has The Bluebell restaurant-pub to await your bus. There is a good bus connection south to Chichester, or north to Midhurst, where you can change for Haslemere (on the same line as Petersfield, so a much cheaper train ticket). For a group, a taxi would be comparable in prices.


  • At Beacon Hill, you can follow the official SDW route around the hill to the south, rather than over the steep summit.
  • The walk can be done in either direction.
  • (to do) Finish in Midhurst, which is 4 km (2.5 miles) north of Cocking, and has better bus connections back to the start. It has not been walk tested though. There is a disused railway line north to Midhurst from Cocking, but its not yet a right of way - its is in the planning stage though as an extension of the Centurion Way. For now, from Cocking, cross the A 286, then north-east and back north-west. You'll need an OS map. If you try this, please let us know how you get on.
  • This walk can be combined to form a 2 day walk along the SDW from Amberley to Petersfield.
  • The Five Bells High Street, Buriton GU31 5RX (01730 263584) Food served every day 12 - 2.30pm. Located 4 km from the start of the walk.
  • The White Hart, South Harting, GU31 5QB, 01730 825124, www.the-whitehart.co.uk/, 1.1 km (and 75 metres re-ascent) off the route, below the ridge. Friendly, and had a nice garden. Gastropub with two fireplaces. There is a bus back to Petersfield from just outside.
  • Uppark NT cafe - admission required - open Sun-Thur during the summer.
  • Uppark (NT) NT historic house with a pleasent aspect to the south. Has a nice story of how, one day, the Lord of the Manor sent a message to the dairy maid, proposing marriage. She said yes. The house burnt down in 1989, and strangely, was restored to its condition the day before the fire, rather than the day it was built.
  • Devil's Jumps. Not the original Devil's Jumps (near Farnham in Surrey), these are well preserved Bronze Age burial mounds.
South Downs Way

This walk is one of 9 stages of the South Downs Way - a 109 mile national long distance path - that traverses the South Downs National Park in South East England.


Bus Travel from Cocking

There is a bus stop where the SDW meets the main road, or you can walk 1km north to Cocking village where there is the Bluebell restaurant-pub to wait for the bus.

  • For people on the Petersfield-Cocking walk on Mon-Sat only : take the #60 north to Midhurst (half-hourly), then change to the #70 to Haslemere (hourly). This costs £4.90 ("transfer ticket") [Dec-17] and works quite well: Cocking: xx:40 until 18.40 to Midhurst, 10 min connection to #70 (at xx:00 to 19.05) to Haslemere. You'll save the price on the cheaper Petersfield train ticket. Check connection times online beforehand.
  • On Sunday, or on the Amberley walk, take Stagecoach bus # 60 south to Chichester (about £4, takes 25 mins, Mon-Sat: every 30 mins till late, Sun: hourly till 6:45pm). Buy a return to Chichester, make sure it is valid by either route. The entrance to the Chichester bus station is opposite and to the left of Chichester train station. Buses leave from behind it.

The 'change buses in Midhurst' trick does not work on the Amberley-Cocking walk. On Mon-Sat only, you could take the #60 north to Midhurst, then change to the #1 to Pulborough (see below). However, it costs an exorbitant £8 ("Dayrider Gold")

Theses bus details were correct in Dec-17, but are very likely to change - check before you travel using:

Taxi: "Paddy Cars. £20 to Haslemere for up to 7 people. t: 01730 263263 | 01730 262279. Folks can relax in the Bluebell Inn while waiting - journey time about 25 mins". You need to book in advance on sunny summer weekends.

Places to Stay

2-Day Walk : Petersfield to Cocking to Amberley via the SDW

This makes a great 2 day walk. Buy a period return to Chichester (where the 2 rail routes converge, or 2 singles). Cocking is a hamlet with a pub-restaurant. Midhurst, to the north is a small town.


Travel from Midhurst Updated Mar-17

There are 4 bus routes to choose from.

  • Catch a bus to/from a station, peferably on the same rail line you arrived from. If not possible, buy a more expensive ticket to Chichester, which is valid on both rail lines.
  • Bus times change frequently. Check before you travel. Especially the time of the last bus!
    • Traveline Southeast - online timetable
    • Stagecoach South - NB: Stagecoach buses have family tickets, but no group tickets. A day ticket is £8.20/£8.50. This might make sense if you are travelling from (say) Brighton.
  • Stagecoach have a £2.50 Evening fare after 7pm

Waterloo line to Haslemere / Petersfield

  • North to Haslemere (Mon-Sat, not Sun)
    • Take Stagecoach bus #70 north to Haslemere.
    • Mon-Sat: hourly at xx:58 until 7.03pm. £5.20 (04/18). Takes 20 mins.
  • West to Petersfield (Mon-Sat, not Sun, early last bus)
    • Take Emsworth bus #91 / #92 west to Petersfield.
    • Mon-Sat: every 60 mins at xx:58 to 3:58, then 5:30pm. Takes 30 - 45 mins.

Victoria line to Pulbrough / Amberley / Arundel

  • East to Pulborough (daily)
    • Take Stagecoach bus #1 east to Pulborough.
    • Mon-Sat: approx hourly till 6.43pm. Sun: 2 hourly till 6.28pm. Takes 30 mins.

Both lines (a more expensive ticket to Chichester, valid for all the above stations)

  • South to Chichester (daily, till late Mon-Sat)
    • Take Stagecoach #60 south to Chichester.
    • Mon-Sat: every 30 mins till late, Sun: hourly till 6:30pm. Takes 25 mins,
    • About £4. You will need a train ticket to Chichester.
    • Chichester's trains aren't evenly spaced, if you miss one you may have a long wait.
    • The bus station is opposite the train station. Buses leave from behind it.

Midhurst Taxi

BJ's Private Hire (01730 716327 or 07732 590806). Uber is about £25 for Midhurst to Haslemere.

Help Us!

After the walk, we would love to get your feedback

You can upload photos to the SWC Group on Flickr (upload your photos) and videos to Youtube. This walk's tags are:

By Train

Out (not a train station)

By Car

Start GU32 3EE Map Directions

Finish Hillbarn Lane, Cocking, West Sussex Map Directions

Map Walk This walk requires an OS map and a compass or GPS for navigation. You can print out OS maps using the link above.

National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234


Dec-17 Andrew

Copyright © Saturday Walkers Club. All Rights Reserved. No commercial use. No copying. No derivatives. Free with attribution for one time non-commercial use only. www.walkingclub.org.uk/site/license.shtml

Walk Directions  

The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone. OpenStreetMap (not OS) mapping is used in the PDF for licence reasons.

Map 1
Map 2
Map 3
Map 4
Map 5
© Saturday Walkers Club. All Rights Reserved. No commercial use. No copying. No derivatives. Free with attribution for one time non-commercial use only. www.walkingclub.org.uk/site/license.shtml