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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Saturday Third Walk [Revised Walk] - A demanding trek through remote valleys in the South Downs

I am posting this in Sean's slot, swapped against mine on 21 May

SWC Walk 68 (Fully Revised) – Rowlands Castle Circular (the old route is now the short walk)

Length: 25.5 km (15.9 mi), Ascent/Descent:  678 m
Net Walking Time: ca. 6 ¼ hours, Toughness: 9 out of 10 
Length: 16.2 km (10.0 mi), Ascent/Descent:  371 m
Net Walking Time: ca. 4 hours, Toughness: 4 out of 10 
Length: 29.0 km (18.0 mi), Ascent/Descent:  840 m
Net Walking Time: ca. 7 ¼ hours, Toughness: 10 out of 10 

Take the 09.00 Portsmouth Harbour train from Waterloo, arriving Rowlands Castle at 10.21, change onto the 08.45 stopping service (08.52 Clapham Junction): either at Haslemere (different platform) or Petersfield (same platform)
Return trains: xx.46 (87 mins) plus 17.32 (79 mins, not stopping CJ)

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.
A shorter route around lunch cuts out more than half the effort.
An extension after lunch 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.
All three routes share the start, up to West Marden, and the end, from Compton.
Full walk and extended walk (especially) feature several sustained, steep climbs and descents. Walking poles may not be a bad idea.

For the walk directions click here. For map, height profile and gpx/kml files click here.
The scheduled lunch stop on the full and the extended walk is The Royal Oak in Hooksway (12.6 km/7.9 mi, a table has been booked), on the short walk it’s either The Victoria Inn in West Marden (6.3 km/3.9 mi, take the train an hour later), or The Coach and Horses in Compton, or The Village Shop and Tea Room opposite (8.7 km/5.4 mi).
For details of the tea room and the  three pubs in Rowlands Castle check page 2 of the walk directions pdf. 


JohnL said...

If anyone would like to brush up on their map reading, compass and grid reference skills for Scotland you may wish to join me on the short version of the Rowlands Castle walk on Saturday. We will do a bit of map and compass work at the start of the walk on the open ground before Stanstead House. If you have the OS map and a compass bring them or print of the OS map in colour from the screen on the web site. If you have GPS or suitable phone download the GPX or KML as well.

Anonymous said...

Thomas, help please! Where do I download directions - I'm not a switched on IT person. Thank you. Barbara

Thomas G said...

Hi Barbara, in above posting, click on 'here' in the sentence 'For walk directions click here.' and Bob's your uncle...

Sandy said...

Hi Thomas.
I'm planning to join you tomorrow - it looks like my best option is to join the train at Woking. Look out for me!

Thomas G said...

13 degrees it said it would be, and it might have been, somewhere in some dark corner of some deep valley. It felt like much more everywhere else all day, with a mitigating light breeze on the tops, but certainly felt very warm in the valleys, as the weather was w=sunny all day. Partly owing to the offer of a free map-and-compass refresher course by John L., we had n=29 walkers, of which 20 walked the 29 km, 10/10 extended version of the walk (plenty of those probably hadn't originally planned to do that, but got sucked in by weather, scenery and company), and only 2 (as far as could be ascertained) walked the 16 km, 4/10 'short' version.
Lucnh for the main walk and extended walk walkers was at The Royal Oak in Hooksway, all of us sitting in the garden, soaking in the sun.
From there onwards up onto and along the South Downs ridge, interrupted by a suntanning break on top of Beacon Hill. Far, far views from there.
Another - chocolate and ice cream - break in Compton at the Village Shop. Drinks at the Castle Inn in Rowlands Castle. Dinner there for 10 of us, 20.46 train for those.
2 walkers had made good use of the long pre-notice period of this walk, by booking themselves into The Robin Hood Inn for the night, so they can go for another walk and sightsee in the area tomorrow (to Uppark House).

sylvia said...

This walk was full of beautful secluded valleys, and early on in the walk arund Dolly's Hanger and Grevitts Copse we were treated to the call of the cuckoo, a most welcome and not often heard sound nowadays.