Explore hidden tracks and the highest point in the South Downs
<10 miles. 8-9 miles
Location: West Sussex
Duration: 4-5 hours
Wooded paths with a mix of gates and stiles. A couple of steady climbs.
By bus: There are regular services to Liphook and Haslemere, visit traveline.info/se
By rail: The nearest railway stations are Liphook and Haslemere. Visit nationalrail.co.uk
Points of Interest
The remains of Fernhurst Furnace, also known as North Park Furnace, are some of the best preserved in the Sussex Weald. It is believed the site was in use between 1614 until 1777 when the iron industry flourished here in the 17th and 18th centuries using local ore, charcoal and water power.
The untouched nature of the site and the rural surrounding make it hard to imagine the production of cast iron, tools and cannon once happened here. It was effectively the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and even though there are many ‘hammer/furnace’ ponds throughout East and West Sussex, many people know little about the great historical and social importance of this bygone industry.
This is the highest hill in Sussex standing at 280 metres (918 feet) and is second only to Leith Hill (295 metres, 968 feet) in the south-east of England.
It is also the highest point in the South Downs National Park and its pine and heather covered slopes are grazed by a herd of friendly belted-Galloway cattle.
Looming over much of the Low Weald of West Sussex and south-west Surrey, Black Down is geologically part of the greensand ridge and is situated about 1.2 miles (1.9 km) south of Haslemere. Flint artefacts show there has been settlement on Black Down since the mesolithic period, around 6000BC.
Aside from its height and its wild beauty, Black Down is best known as the site of Tennyson’s house, Aldworth. Tennyson purchased Black Down and built Aldworth in 1869. With magnificent views over the Weald, the French-style Gothic house was designed by Sir James Knowles and built using local sandstone. Lord Tennyson used Aldworth as his summer residence and died in the house on 6 October 1892. Black Down was then passed between various
landowners until W.E. Hunter donated it to the National Trust in the 1940s as a memorial to his wife.
The National Trust still own the site and the Hunter family are remembered by an inscribed stone seat at the Temple of the Winds viewpoint.
- Turn left out of the station and follow the road into Haslemere. Turn left onto the high street. At the pedestrian crossing look for the Serpent Trail marker on the traffic lights. Cross over, turn left and follow the marker right
onto Well Lane.
- Follow the path into Swan Barn Farm, through two gates and left on the track. Follow the Serpent Trail markers along the track, across fields and over a bridge.
- Turn right and follow the path to the road. Cross over and follow the Trail marker along Pine Springs Valley. Bear left where the road forks.
- Continue into the wood, pass through a gate and continue on the Serpent
Trail passing High Barn Farm. Pass through a gate and turn left on the track.
- Continue to follow the Serpent Trail turning right onto the road.
- Just before Black Down car park turn left and follow the Trail markers to the Temple of the Winds. Bear left and follow the path to the viewpoint.
- Continue through the woods, turn left at the T-junction and pass through the gate.
- At the road turn right then immediately left onto a bridleway. Bear left at the end of the tarmac into woodland. Turn left at the fork, then at the crossroads follow the way marker straight ahead.
- Bear left where the path joins a track. At the road turn right along the footpath and follow way markers until you emerge beside the Red Lion pub in Fernhurst.
- Cross the road and turn right uphill. At the left hand bend cross the road and take the signposted footpath. Continue onto a path and over a stile.
- Continue over two stiles crossing a small lane into a field to another stile. Continue straight ahead on the footpath.
- Turn right at the road, passing houses on your left, and join the restricted byway. At the fork bear right downhill and follow the track as it becomes a footpath.
- At the T-junction continue on the restricted byway, then turn left at the road. At the T-junction turn left then just past Wadesmarch Farmhouse turn right on the bridleway and enter Valewood Park.
- Continue along the bridleway to the road. Turn left and at the mini roundabout turn right passing Stedland Farm, then bear left uphill on the byway.
- At the road turn left and then right onto the signposted footpath. Continue to the main road, turn left and follow the road back to the railway station.