Rowlands Castle Circular walk

A demanding walk, first through park- and woodland, then through the remote westerly valleys of the South Downs

Farm House in Rape Oilseed Field, from Locksash Lane SWC Walk Rowlands Castle Circular

Farm House in Rape Oilseed Field, from Locksash Lane

SWC Walk Rowlands Castle Circular

14-May-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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St. Peter's, East Marden SWC Walk Rowlands Castle Circular

St. Peter's, East Marden

SWC Walk Rowlands Castle Circular

14-May-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Easterly Views from Pen Hill SWC Walk Rowlands Castle Circular - Extension

Easterly Views from Pen Hill

SWC Walk Rowlands Castle Circular - Extension

14-May-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Steep Descent from Beacon Hill SWC Walk Rowlands Castle Circular - Extension

Steep Descent from Beacon Hill

SWC Walk Rowlands Castle Circular - Extension

14-May-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Bramshott Bottom SWC Walk Rowlands Castle Circular - Extension

Bramshott Bottom

SWC Walk Rowlands Castle Circular - Extension

14-May-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Horse in buttercups Rowlands Castle Circular

Horse in buttercups

Rowlands Castle Circular

07-Jun-09 • moontiger on Flickr

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view Rowlands Castle Circular

view

Rowlands Castle Circular

07-Jun-09 • moontiger on Flickr

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Length

25.5 km (15.9 miles) with 520 ascent/descent. For a shorter walk or an extension see below Walk Options.

Toughness

7 out of 10, with 6 hours walking time. For the whole outing, including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 10 ½ hours.

Walk Notes

This demanding West Sussex walk in the undulating western part of the South Downs is characterised initially by a mixture of park- and woodland, then steep lonely valleys and some far views to the main South Downs Ridge.
It starts off towards Stansted House along a 1-mile-long beech avenue – one of the best in England according to Pevsner, and then heads north along the easterly edge of Stansted Forest and across fields via the hamlets of West, Up and East Marden to a very remote pub in Hooksway, with particularly nice views on the route between the hamlets, including up to the northern escarpment of the South Downs.
From lunch you climb back out of the secluded valley on a westerly route to Compton, from where another couple of hills need to be crossed to finish along the westerly edge of Stansted Forest back into Rowlands Castle, with its teashop and a choice of pubs.
The walk (especially the extended version) features several sustained, steep climbs and descents.

Walk Options

A Shortcut around lunch cuts 9.4 km and most of the ascent/descent (rated 3/10).
An Extension after lunch adds 3.4 km and 162m ascent/descent. It follows a lonely, narrow, wood-fringed valley to the main northerly escarpment of the South Downs and then follows one of the most undulating sections of the South Downs Way with unrivalled far views from Pen Hill and Beacon Hill, making this a real challenge. The extended walk is rated 8/10.
All three routes share the start, up to West Marden, and the end, from Compton.
An Extension-within-the-Extension adds 1.0 km and 34m ascent/descent.

Bus Service 54 (Petersfield – Chichester) runs through the walk area, serving West Marden (the early lunch stop) and Compton (the late lunch/early tea stop), about every two hours, Mon-Sat, to late afternoon.

Maps

OS Explorer: OL8 (Chichester) [formerly 120]
OS Landranger: 197 (Chichester & the South Downs)

Travel

Rowlands Castle station, map reference SU 734 108, is 14 km west north west of Chichester, 14 km north east of Portsmouth, 38m above sea level and in South East Hampshire. The walk itself is in West Sussex. The station is on the Portsmouth Direct Line from London Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour with an hourly service. Journey time is between 88 and 99 minutes, but on the outbound journey you can cut 15 minutes by changing at Petersfield (Mon-Sat only).

Saturday Walkers' Club: Take the train closest to 9.00 hours for the full and the extended walk, and the train closest to 10.00 for the short walk.

Lunch

The Victoria Inn Locksash Lane, West Marden PO18 9EN (023 9263 1330). Located 6.3 km (3.9 mi) into the walk. Change of ownership and management, check before relying on this pub for lunch.
The Royal Oak Hooksway, PO18 9JZ (01243 535 257). Located 12.6 km (7.9 mi) into the full and the extended walk.
The Coach and Horses Compton, PO18 9HA (023 9263 1228). Located 8.7 km (5.4 mi) into the short walk and 7.4 km (4.6 mi) from the end of all walk options.

Tea

The Village Shop and Tea Room The Square, Compton. PO18 9HA (023 9263 1144). Located 8.7 km (5.4 mi) into the short walk and 7.4 km (4.6 mi) from the end of all walk options.
The Castle Inn 1 Finchdean Road, Rowlands Castle PO9 6DA (023 9241 2494). Located 2 minutes from the station.
The Bumblebee Café 2 The Green, Rowlands Castle, PO9 6BN (023 9241 3523). Located 2 minutes from the station.
The Robin Hood 26 The Green, Rowlands Castle, PO9 6AB (023 9241 2268). Located 3 minutes from the station.
Taste of India on the Green 34 The Green, Rowlands Castle, PO9 6AB (023 9307 2783). Located 4 minutes from the station.
The Fountain Inn 34 The Green, Rowlands Castle PO9 6AB (023 9241 3721). Located 4 minutes from the station.

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

Version

Nov-21 Thomas G

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Walk Directions  

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