Surrey’s best walks: A woodland walk to the summit of Holmbury Hill
PUBLISHED: 17:39 03 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:59 03 January 2020
Enjoy this two-hour hill walk discovering the magical woods and views in the Hurtwood | Words and pictures: Chris Howard
1) From the car park, take the path between the gate and the information board. Keep on this sandy path until you come to a five-way junction.
2) Keep straight ahead and then go right on the next fork signed with a yellow waymark. Go through the barrier and into woodland. The path leads left and then downwards to a junction near a Holmbury Hill fort sign. Keep ahead and follow the undulating path in a clockwise direction until you come out at the summit of Holmbury Hill.
3) At the summit look for the Greensand Way (GW) waymarker arrow, near a trig point and follow this path. At the next fork, go right, where the path joins a wider track. Follow this track down the hill until you reach a junction by a small pond. Go left through a car park and continue on until you reach a road.
4) Cross this road baring left and go left at the junction and then right at the (GW) sign. Follow this enclosed path across the open field and keep going until you reach another road.
5) Go through the grounds of the Duke of Kent School, keeping to the right of the access road and keep following the (GW) signs up steps into woodland. Continue up the steep ascent and through a kissing gate. Turn right along a wide bridleway downhill. A track merges from the left near a clearing.
6) Keep on the main path, ignoring all paths until you get to the Peaslake Cemetery. Go through barrier and bare left to join a metalled path that leads to Peaslake village.
7) At the road turn right past Hurtwood Inn and right at the village stores. Go left at Radnor Lane and then left up a steep bank. Keep straight on the metalled path.
8) Cross a junction and keep going until you reach a junction of paths in a hollow. Take the path up the hill keeping the field to your left.
9) At the next meeting of paths, bare left. Cross the next junction and follow the path until you come to two ponds. Take the path between the ponds. Take the next fork to the left, past Holmbury St Mary Youth Hostel.
10) Follow the path until it meets a sandy bridleway. Turn left and follow this path back to the car park.
Start: Hurtwood Control car Park No 9. Free to park but donations encouraged
Public transport: Arriva Bus 25. It stops in Peaslake and walk from there to car park 9.
Post code for SAT NAV: nearest RH5 6NL
Grid ref: TQ108 451
Length of walk: 5.5 miles (8.9 kms) Allow 2 hours
Food and drink: The Hurtwood Inn, Peaslake, or for snacks, the Peaslake Village store. The Royal Oak, Holmbury St Mary. .
While you are there: Enjoy the visit to St Mary the Virgin church in Holmbury St Mary. Designed in 1879 by George Edmund Street RA in the Gothic Revival style
- From Holmbury Hill, on a clear day you can see across the South Downs to Shoreham Gap on the coast. To the west are views over to the Devil's Punchbowl at Hindhead and Black Down.
- On the summit of Holmbury Hill is the remains of an Iron Age hill fort.
- Singer songwriters and friends, Eric Clapton (Cream) and George Harrison (The Beatles), visited here one morning, inspiring George to write the song Here comes the Sun.
- The bathing scene from E.M Forester's 1908 novel A room with a View is believed to be a pond on Holmbury Hill and the village of Summer Street, Holmbury St Mary.
- The Hurtwood is an area of approx. 4,000 acres of privately-owned forest. The public was granted right of access "for air and exercise" by Section 193 of the Law of Property Act 1925.
- Hurtwood Control is a voluntary organisation and a registered charity created in 1925 to administer the public rights of way, keep the footpaths in order, clear litter and keep on the lookout for damaging fires.
- The Hurtwood is extremely popular with mountain bikers and horse riders.