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Weekend walk – Holmbury and Pitch Hills

Two hills for the price of one! This walk shows off some of the best views in Surrey from two of its best hilltops overlooking the Weald of Sussex. It seems longer than it really is because of the enjoyable ups and downs. It is a fine walk, well worth the trip! SR

1.From the Peaslake car park, go out to the road, Walking Bottom, and turn right. Immediately take a footpath right running parallel to the road and then rising. At the top you have a good view over the whole village of Peaslake. Turn left onto a metalled track that goes past the church on your left, leading down to the road in the centre of the village.
2. At the road, turn right and cross the village centre to the shop. Turn right facing the shop and fork left on Radnor Road. In a few metres, after a driveway, take a marked footpath left steeply up a grassy bank, through a wooden barrier. At the top, by a bench, go through posts and straight over a lane to a lane facing you. You pass some fine properties and, where the roadway turns right into the last house, continue along a narrow enclosed path, through a barrier.
3. The following notes will take you more or less straight on for over 2 km to the Holmbury YH car park. Where the path emerges through a wooden barrier into fine open woodland, continue straight on. It immediately crosses a path, descends and crosses three more paths in the valley (two narrow, one wide). At a post indicating Shere Parish Millennium Trail (SPMT), take a narrow rising path straight ahead. After 100m, this path gets quite stony, narrow and sunken. You can instead take a parallel path through pleasant woodland by going right up a bank; the path re-joins the main path after 120m. As you emerge into the open forest, you pass a post with a yellow arrow and a SPMT disk. In another 60m, you reach a T-junction at another post with blue and yellow arrows.
4. Turn left and immediately fork right in the direction of the yellow arrow. In 50m, at another post, go straight over a crossing path. The path descends, is joined by other paths, runs between banks for a while and widens to a very broad sandy track. Ignore a blue arrow and a bridleway on your left and keep straight ahead, following the yellow arrow. The path soon runs between two ponds and winds upwards left and right. 100m from the ponds, at a junction of wide paths, continue straight on, a fraction left. Soon you reach the Holmbury car park. Continue straight on, with the car park on your left, to the far corner.
5. Leading away from the back of the car park, take a narrow path in the direction of a blue arrow and an electricity pole. Continue on this sunken sandy path parallel to a line of electricity poles. The following notes take you for nearly 2km straight to Holmbury Hill. The path passes through some fine pinewoods and in 500m crosses a path diagonally. In 250m, it crosses a wide sandy track and runs for 500m through deciduous woodland, now partially felled leaving a delicious veldt of young birch and heather, after which you pass a junction of of several minor paths.
6. In 150m, your path veers right before a large conifer and in 30m meets a crossing track. Turn left here on a wide grassy path, soon regaining your original southerly direction. In 150m, the path crosses another major path diagonally. In 100m, at a fork, choose the left-hand, more sandy, path. This path curves left and right and rises to the top of Holmbury Hill with its circular seat and, down to the right, a triangulation point. The view from here over the Weald is magnificent.
7. After admiring the view, walk back from the main stone seat/compass point overlooking the Weald and approach the smaller concrete pillar (a donation box) set back from the edge of the hill. Take the sunken sandy path immediately to the left of the pillar. Keep to the wide path with the edge of the hill on your left, avoiding paths that fork off to the right. You pass a seat and at junctions, always keep to the left path, staying on the edge of the hill. All this time, you are following the Greensand Way, as indicated by an occasional GW sign. Stay on the main sandy path until at a left fork you pass through a barrier marked “Footpath Only”. You are now on a beautiful path along the edge of the hillside, with fine views left across the Weald. Your path goes through a wooden barrier, across a wheelchair circular route with a circle of benches and down two steps to a stony sunken path. Turn left on this sunken path.
8. Follow this wide stony sandy path down to a lane and turn right. In 30m, just past a house, turn left on a signed footpath. Shortly you reach a bench on the left with a captivating view of the pine-topped hillock, the Weald and the South Downs. Continue to a T-junction with a path at a bend and go left through posts, back on the GW. Fork left before a farm gate onto a narrow path running between fields across a lovely valley, passing through the wooden “McKinney Gate”. To the right is Coverwood, a farm-hamlet and riding centre with famous gardens and lakes. Cross a second valley, then an enclosed footpath and a stile and reach a road.
9. Cross the road and continue on the driveway of the Duke of Kent School. As the driveway curves left, take a tarmac parallel path on the right leading gradually upwards on steps, through a wooden barrier and into woodland. Go straight on up through rhododendrons and turn left beside railings up to a wooden swing gate in a fence. Continue ahead up steps in the same direction, cross a level path and continue up more steps the other side, still on the GW. At the top, turn left on a very broad path. Immediately after a house on the right and some tarmac, turn right at a post on a path which goes uphill and along a ridge. At a T-junction at the top turn left on a wide path with a seat and fine views to your left. At a fork, keep left by a footpath only sign through a barrier on a narrow path, keeping to the side of the hill. Shortly you go past a similar sign to the open area of Pitch Hill. Turn left to reach the seat, information board and viewpoint.
10. Return from the viewpoint to the open area and keep left up to the trig point where there are two concrete pillars. Turn right opposite the pillars into the woods on a bridleway marked with a blue arrow. In 40 metres, fork left on a clear path. In 180m, turn right on a wide crossing path. In 100m you come to another wide crossing path.

Decision Point. Here you have a choice of routes back to Peaslake. The Low Road is through deciduous woods but may be a little more muddy in some seasons. The High Road is on wide forestry tracks and has a short cut in case you began the walk at the Holmbury YH Car Park.
The Low Road – Turn left on the wide crossing path. Follow this valley path for 400m until you are joined by an even wider forestry track at a hairpin. Keep left downhill on this track. Follow this track, avoiding all side paths, left and right, until the track ends at a T-junction at the bottom in the woodland. Turn right here. This path takes you, after a long woodland walk of nearly 1½ km, to the Peaslake car park where the walk began.
The High Road – Continue straight over the wide crossing path on a rising path. In 200m or so turn left on a wide diagonal crossing path. In 280m, at a junction of forestry tracks, keep straight on on a very wide sandy track. After nearly 1 km and some more crossing paths, a very wide track joins from the right. After another 100m there is a fork in the track. Otherwise, fork left downhill and, at the bottom, turn right to reach the Peaslake car park where the walk began.

Walk courtesy of www.fancyfreewalks.org

DISTANCE: 6½ miles
OS MAPS: Explorer 145 (Guildford) and 146 (Dorking)
STARTING POINT: Peaslake Walking Bottom Car Park GU5 9RR, grid ref TQ 083 446.

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