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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.

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Saturday, 7 October 2017

Saturday Walk - South Downs Way Section II: West Meon to Petersfield [First Posting]

Length:  27.1 km (16.8 mi) [shorter walk possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent:  472/455m
Net Walking Time:  6 ½ hours
Toughness:  8 out of 10 
Take the 09.00 Portsmouth Harbour train from Waterloo (Woking 09.25), arrives Petersfield 10.00. [Missed the train? The 09.30 train, if on time, gives you one minute to reach the bus in P'field.]
From Battersea Central (a.k.a. Clapham Junction) take the 8.52 Portsmouth & Southsea service, arrives 10.11.
In Petersfield take the 10.32 bus line 67 outside the station, direction Winchester, arrives West Meon 10.53.
Return trains: xx.18, xx.48, xx.57. Buy a Petersfield return.

First posting of this South Downs challenge  (map-led).
From West Meon take the Meon Valley Trail (a disused railway) to link to the SDW and turn left to Old Winchester Hill, then over Salt Hill, Hyden Hill and Tegdown Hill. Continue over Butser Hill, the highest point in the South Downs National Park, and enter Queen Elizabeth Country Park. Leave the SDW to head north along the Hangers Way through the park and through Buriton village to Petersfield.
Check out the route map here.

Shorter Walk: take a bus back to Petersfield, either the 69 from East Meon Church (12.58 or 15.58 are the relevant departures), or the 37 from QE Country Park (on the A3, hourly on the hour to 18.00).

Lunch: Picnic lunch or Ye Olde George Inn or The Izaak Walton, both in East Meon (11.6 km/7.2 mi, off route: adds about 3 km to the walk). 
Tea: The Sustainability Centre’s Beech Café in Leydene Park (13.3 km/8.3 mi, open to 15.30); the café at the QE Country Park Visitor Centre (19.2 km/11.9 mi, open to 17.30); The Five Bells or The Village Inn, both in Buriton. Plenty options in Petersfield.

For summary, map, height profile and gpx/kml files  click here.t=swc.183


Walker said...

Just out of interest, I calculate that from the start to Queen Elizabeth Country Park (where there is a cafe open till 5.30pm) is 12.1 miles. Descending to lunch in East Meon and then back up again via Small Down (ie cutting off a small corner and thus eliminating one small section of the SDW) would add 1.8 miles to this: so total walk 13.9 miles, and then the 37 bus to Petersfield

Andrew said...

There is (was) a bus stop on the A3 to Petersfield.
It also looks possible to leave the SDW on Butser Hill (i.e. before the A3), and head SE directly to Petersfield. You wouldn't know if it worked till you tried it... (its unclear what's open/public land and what isn't on the OS map)

Thomas G said...

- there is a bus stop on the A3, as the walk post says (the post also mentions the time of departure)...;
- 18.8 km to the bus stop w/o diverting for lunch (based on our gpx, which is a bit rough, so in reality it's probably longer);
- northerly exits from the OA land at Butser Hill are at Rakefield Hanger and Pillow Mound, acc. to the South Downs Society website, in a northerly direction to the road, with no footpath anywhere near for a good route into P'field, unfortunately.

Thomas G said...

n=11 in w=overcast-but-dry weather (but some rain while we were at the lunch pub).
Most walkers had taken the fast train so had a half hour wait in Petersfield for the bus to West Meon. Some went to a nearby Cocktail Bar for a coffee, others explored the cenre of town. The £2.60 bus fare seemed a bargain for about 20 minutes of narrow country lanes.
As for the walk: some very pretty coombes and valleys were seen off the ridge, almost reminiscent of proper West Country scenery. Old Winchester Hill with its ditch and bank and assorted barrows was a very delightful place with splendid views (Isle of Wight etc.). All (incl. the sandwichers) then diverted to East Meon for lunch/tea at Ye Olde George, which was a very splendid pub with very tasty fare in a resplendent village (and a stream runs through it). Up a steep incline back onto the SDW and the next - rather indifferent - part of the route: long straight tracks, sometimes on tarmac, up to Butser Hill (car park, facilites, loads of people). Then a prolonged exposure to the sight and sound of the A3 on the descent to an underpass to cross it. 1 walker took the 17.00 bus from here, another 1 the one an hour later after a visit to the visitor centre cafe.
The 2 fast walkers were later reported to have been spotted at the visitor centre cafe, but we're not sure what happened to them after that.
The rest proceeded in 2 groups up through the forest away from the A3 (lovely stretch) to finally leave the SDW and pick up The Hangers Way. Buriton Chalk Pits LNR was a pleasant surprise, then the rest of the route from lovely Buriton to P'field is SWC Petersfield - Rowlands Castle in reverse, incl. the dreary suburban housing development, that does not seem to get off the ground really.
After 30 km of a walk, we met up with the late bus taker at The George pub, and after some indecisiveness, chose The Lemontree for dinner (7 of us). 21.18 train.
Looking forward to repeating it on a sunny day.