1. Follow the track up from the car park on Tennyson’s Lane and make your way through a gate onto Black Down. Following the track up, you will pass the National Trust (NT) donation box and notice board. In autumn, the steep banks on either side of the track are strewn with bilberries and blackberries.
2. At the fork bear right and after approximately 50m look on your right for views of open heathland to the south. Soon after, bear right once again. On your right you will see one of our many bog ponds.
3. Continuing along the track, you will once again be surrounded by Scots pine and rowan (mountain ash), which are staples of heathland fauna. Bear left at the next junction up a slight incline. The track then gently meanders left then right, where you will pass a bench and a mark stone remembering Tom Clark. It’s a great spot to stop and admire the view, surrounded by the heather.
4. Follow the track along and past another bench on your left beneath a wonderfully mature Scots pine. The path winds this way and that, and as it opens up to the right (south) you will see another bench, an excellent spot from which to gaze across Cotchett Valley.
5. Continue along the main track and up a slight incline and to the left, heading north, towards the most impressive viewpoint on Black Down: the wonderfully named Temple of the Winds. You will reach a three-pointed junction before long. Go due north for the temple and make your way between two straight and true Scot’s pines, following the track as it bears right. It’s a short walk further to reach the Temple of the Winds.
6. Having enjoyed the view, retrace your steps and bear right on the track just before you reach the straight and true Scot’s pines and follow it down onto the woodland track towards the beech hanger woodland. Depending on the time of year, as you approach the hanger, you will pass on your right one of the ponds, which comes and goes as it pleases.
7. You will know you are in the beech hanger, not just by the beech trees with their marvellously winding roots that sit on the earth like writhing dragons’ tails, but by the dramatic slope as it falls away to your right. Avoid the temptation to bear left up a slight incline and continue along the main track. Once out of the hanger, the track makes its way slightly to the left and you will soon find yourself once more looking upon open heathland.
8. Pass another pond on your left as the canopy opens up. Follow the track along and bear right, down the smaller of the two tracks, as you head for home. Journey down past the bilberries and blackberries once more and a short walk further you will spy the NT notice board, back at the start.
DISTANCE: 2 miles
OS MAP: Explorer 133
GRID REF: SU9179231186
TERRAIN: Can be muddy underfoot in winter. Sandy heathland paths, some small ascents and descents Well-behaved dogs on leads welcome, livestock grazing throughout the year. No dog bins, so please take away all waste.
GETTING THERE: Haslemere can be accessed via A286 and A287. Head out of Haslemere on B2131, turn right up Haste Hill, follow onto Tennyson’s Lane and head south-west until you come to the main free NT car park (GU27 3AF). Parking: Two free car parks on Tennyson’s Lane: Main car park (SU921309) 30 spaces; lower car park (SU923306) 10 spaces. Not suitable for coaches. Other free car parks in the area.
©Crown copyright 2018 Ordnance Survey. Media 017/18
This walk is taken from Pocket Pub Walks Surrey, published by Countryside Books. Visit countrysidebooks.co.uk for more information. It was first published in VantagePoint in February 2014.