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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, 25 May 2019

Saturday walk - Petersfield to Rowlands Castle - Varied scenery in the western South Downs

Length: 16km (9.9 miles) T=3.18
Toughness: 3 out of 10

10.00 train from Waterloo to Petersfield, arriving 11.02

From Clapham Junction get the 9.57 Exeter train to Woking, arriving 10.15, to connect to the above train at 10.25

Buy a day return to Rowlands Castle

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here. For a map of the route click here.

Beloved of the midweek walkers, it is nevertheless an astonishing seven years since this walk had a Saturday outing and five years since it was aired on a Sunday. And with all the gung-ho, dash-ahead SWC walkers away on their Scotland trip, we can enjoy this pleasant outing at a moderate pace, stopping now and again to enjoy the most flowery phase of spring.

Particularly recommended in this regard is the very nice Five Bells pub in Buriton. It is only 2.5 miles into the walk (a relatively flat section over meadowy fields) and so perhaps a bit early to stop at. But it is a pretty village and if you eat here you are refuelled for the climb up onto the South Downs escarpment, which is one of the main tests of your leg muscles today.

Otherwise it is a further 3.4 miles to the Red Lion at Chalton (which is thus 5.9 miles into the walk), also a very pleasant pub with a nice garden. It serves food all afternoon, so getting there a bit later might be an advantage. If you have lunched in Buriton it makes a nice mid-afternoon tea stop.

On this last two thirds of the walk you are on the South Downs, but it is not quite the South Downs one is familiar with further west - more like a Wealden mix of hills and woods and open fields with views of the valley. At the end, Rowlands Castle is a cute village with several pubs, which is worth a wander round.

Trains back from Rowlands Castle are at 46 past the hour until 22.46.

1 comment:

Walker said...

N=17 on this walk on a day that was basically w=sunny, give or take a bit of cloud. Worse weather has been walked in at worse times of year.

An early excitement (for me at least) was seeing a flock of swifts screaming over Petersfield. Further excitement came after passing though a new housing estate on the edge of the town when we found a gate the path passed through locked shut with a sturdy cable. A nearby workman opined that the path “should have been re-opened by now” and lent us a Stanley knife with which to cut the cable. We decided instead to pioneer a route through the shrubbery which circumvented the gate.

After a walk through flowery meadows we came to pretty Buriton, where there was some debate about whether to lunch there or push on to Chalton. About half opted for Buriton, where the Five Bells has a very pretty garden, where we sat in the sun or not according to taste. The food was hearty rather than particularly inspired, but certainly filled a hole. We were almost the only diners.

After lunch all was very dreamy and nice, and after crossing the railway line some of us sat on the downs and watched the occasional common blue and small heath butterfly flitting about. We then joined the Chalton lunchers for tea in the terraced garden of the Red Lion.

On through waving fields of barley and along fine open ridges, and past a surprising field of (surely planted?) tansy-leaved phacelia (a striking purple flower), which was swarming with bees.

Bringing up the rear yours truly then got to Rowlands Castle, anticipating a convivial drink at the Castle Inn, only to find the rest of the party gathering themselves to get the 5.46 train. So I sit here alone, dear reader, with my half of cider, and pen these lines.