fbpx Skip to main content

National Walking Month: Best walks with a cake stop

National Walking Month: Best walks with a cake stop

May 4, 2023

Helena Jones at the new grab and go food kiosk at Seven Sisters Country Park

A country walk is never quite complete without a spot of well-earned cake.

All that physical exertion is best rewarded with a sumptuous slice of Victoria sponge, lemon drizzle or coffee and walnut, or why not really treat yourself to an decadent afternoon tea with lashings of fresh clotted cream?

The National Park is blessed with some wonderful walks – and far from being a wilderness, it’s a cake-lovers’ paradise with an assortment of bakeries, tea rooms and coffee shops.

So, to mark National Walking Month, we give you six fabulous walks with a cake stop. Happy walking and eating! 😊

St Catherine’s Hill, Winchester

A dramatic 220ft climb reveals showstopping views of Winchester city and its famous catherdral, as well as the Itchen Valley floodplains and the downland it nestles in. At the summit are the earthworks of an Iron Age fort, buried ruins of the Norman chapel that gives the site its name, and a beautiful copse of beech trees. In the summer you’ll be able to hear the cackle of a woodpecker, spy buzzards and kestrels hunting in the valley below.

The Handlebar café is a fantastic spot for a bite to eat, serving up a variety of cakes, teacakes, locally sourced sausage rolls, pies and pastries.

If travelling by car, Garnier Road is currently closed, but Winchester’s Park and Ride car park is just a short walk away.

Stansted Park, near Rowlands Castle

If you’re looking for a magical English woodland, full of nooks and crannies and unexpected openings revealing awesome views of coast and country, this forest is a must-visit.

Stansted covers 1,800 of ancient forest and at its heart is the majestic Stansted House, now run by  an independent charitable trust set up by the 10th Earl of Bessborough.

Close to the stately home is an enchanting walled garden where you will find a beautifully restored Victorian glass house, which now houses The Pavilion Tearoom. Carrot cake, lemon and ginger crunch and freshly-baked scones are among its specialities!

Download the Stansted walk leaflet


The magnificent Cowdray ruins dominate the water meadows in the thriving market town of Midhurst and were visited by Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Their existence today, thanks to restoration following a devastating fire in 1793, give many clues to life in Tudor times.

Situated at the heart of the National Park, tea rooms and bakeries are aplenty in this charming town, with everything from French-inspired pastries and Croque Monsieurs, to cakes made with produce sourced from South Downs farms.

Don’t forget to check out the stocks and pillary in the old market square – a lovely spot to sit and enjoy the sunshine on a warm summer’s day while you tuck into a cake. The tranquil South Pond, often visited by herons, and Midhurst Common are other hidden gems.

For a full list of eateries check out https://visitmidhurst.com/eat-drink/

Download the Midhurst walk leaflet.

The new grab and go food outlet at Seven Sisters Country Park

Seven Sisters Country Park

No matter how many times you visit this stretch of coastline, it always feels like there’s something new to see. If you’ve never been, you must! It’s one of the few undeveloped stretches of the south coast and boasts breathtaking chalk cliffs, a meandering river valley and chalk grasslands laced with cultural heritage, such as the “lost village” of Exceat.

The National Park Authority has invested almost £2m renovating the visitor facilities, so a stop at the fascinating visitor centre and handy grab-and-go will set you up perfectly for a brisk walk along this stunning coast.

A lazy lunch at the Saltmarsh Café is another option for cake indulgence.

Download Seven Sisters walks

South Downs Way, Saddlescombe Farm, near Brighton

Acquired by the National Trust in 1995, Saddlescombe Farm is a hidden gem on the South Downs Way. Documented in the Domesday Book, this unique example of a Downland farm recounts what life was really like over the past 1,000 years. One of Saddlescombe’s most famous buildings is open all year and houses the donkey wheel. This huge wooden wheel, powered by a donkey or small horse, drew water from the 50-metre deep well and was the only reliable source of water for residents for centuries.

While visiting Saddlescombe Farm lookout for buzzards and red kites overhead and a variety of fungi near your feet.

The Wildflour Café serves up cakes and smiles in abundance and is a great stop to wet your whistle.

Plan your trip on the South Downs Way by visiting the National Trail website.

The tranquil River Meon

Meon Valley Trail, Hampshire

Once a railway line running from Fareham to Alton transporting local livestock and agricultural produce, the trail spans 11 miles through picturesque countryside, from West Meon in the north to Wickham in the south. Whether on foot or by bike, the Meon Valley Trail is perfect for all fitness levels and ideal if you have a children’s buggy or are travelling by mobility scooter.

Wickham is oozing with historic charm and has some of the finest tearooms you’ll find probably anywhere in England! A cream tea is a must if you visit its splendid Georgian square.

Download the Meon Valley Trail walk

For more walking ideas visit www.southdowns.gov.uk/get-active/on-foot/