Weekend Walk: Hidden Hindhead Walking Trail (3.1 miles)

A well sign-posted but not too demanding a walk for all the family taking in both Gibbet Hill and The Temple of the Four Winds, each with superb views – on a clear day you’ll glimpse the London skyline. Make your way to the eastern side of the Devil’s Punch Bowl and look across the valley for some of the best views in the area and admire the autumn colours over the Punch Bowl. This walk is courtesy of www.nationaltrust.org.uk.

1. From the car park proceed north towards the white trig-point – look out for the pink disc which denotes the Hidden Hindhead trail.

2. Follow the pink signs, crossing the old A3 (now grassed over), to reach a paved road where you turn left and follow this in an easterly direction.

Please note that this paved path is classified as a BOAT – a byeway open to all traffic – therefore bikes and motorised vehicles, although rare, are entitled to use this path

3. En route discover the Sailor’s Stone and admire the views north across the Punch Bowl. Continue along the paved road ignoring the gateway on your right hand side. On your left look out for the recently recovered old milestone (London 39 miles), and after 30 metres bear right up an ill-defined path that emerges onto Gibbet Hill. Take a rest here and enjoy the views.

The Sailor’s Stone
In 1786 a sailor was brutally murdered by three men whilst walking between London and Portsmouth. The stone was erected to mark the spot where this poor sailor met his death.

4. The Celtic cross at Gibbet Hill marks the spot where three rogues were hanged for the murder of a sailor on the Old Portsmouth Road. Gibbet Hill, which stands at 272m, is located above the Devil’s Punch Bowl and is the second highest point in Surrey (Leith Hill being the highest). Looking north from the trig-point, head down the ill-defined, but signed path on the right. Take care – when wet this may be muddy and slippery. At the bottom continue straight ahead on a treelined track, eventually emerging at The Temple of the Four Winds. Again take a rest and enjoy the view.

The Temple of the Four Winds
This was built around 1910 by Viscount Pirrie, a chairman of Harland and Wolff, the builders of the ill-fated Titanic. The Viscount lived at the nearby Witley Park estate, which included a deer park. Many elaborate lunches were held for his hunting friends at his hunting lodge at The Temple of the Four Winds. The Temple fell into disrepair and was demolished in 1966. From the Temple identify the signage which will lead onto a welldefined downhill track through coppiced beech woodland, eventually arriving at a T junction, with a small lake on the right.

5. Turn right following the often muddy pathway through the gateway onto some open ground. Continue uphill meeting a trail, here bear left and proceed downhill to a galvanised gateway and
onto an un-paved roadway.

6. Again following the signs proceed uphill, ignoring, at the top of the climb, the first gateway on the right, but entering Hindhead Common at the second gateway. Proceed up the rough track (the Greensand Way). Look out for grazing Exmoor ponies (please keep your dog on a lead near to them). Towards the top of the incline and to the right, there are excellent views to the east with the South Downs clearly visible, and, on a good day, Gatwick Airport can even be seen.

7. The trail is well marked, and you’ll eventually leave Hindhead Common via a galvanised gate, emerging onto the paved road (the BOAT) of your outward journey; cross this and what was the old A3, retracing your steps back to the Punch Bowl car park. The café is a great spot to relax after your walk!

DISTANCE: 3.1 miles
MAP: OS Explorer 133 Haslemere and Petersfield
START: Devil’s Punch Bowl café car park, London Road, Hindhead, Surrey, GU26 6AB. Charges apply to non-members.

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