Downland and wildlife walk on Harting Down

Walking trail

A classic downland walk, offering panoramic views over the Weald to the North Downs, before descending into secluded valleys of natural and historic interest.



Harting Down wildlife walking trail map


Harting Down car park SU791180


Start in Harting Down National Trust car park with a fantastic view across the flat plain of the Weald towards the Hog’s Back ridge and North Downs. Walk through a gate and cross Harting Hill.

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A rare Duke of Burgundy butterfly at Harting Down


Go over the undulating Cross Ridge Dykes. These parallel mounds date back to the Iron Age, and may have been boundary markers or a ‘checkpoint’ across the Ridgeway, a route for drovers, travellers, and traders.


Follow the right hand track up Round Down hill, keeping the thorn scrub on your left. Continue until you see a path on the left. go left and though a gate, which leads you down into the next valley. Stop a moment and smell the berries that grow on the female juniper bush and in springtime enjoy a buttery yellow carpet of cowslips, often used to make a potent local wine. After another gate at the bottom walk across to the base of Beacon Hill to the Downsman post.

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A close up view of juniper berries, a rare and declining downland scrub species found in abundance here at Newtimber Hill


From here, if you look to the summit of Beacon Hill you can see the old rampart of the Iron Age hill fort. This was probably created as an animal enclosure and a symbol of status rather than a defensive stronghold. Either take the rather strenuous climb up to the summit of Beacon Hill or turn right and skirt across its lower slopes to point 6 on the map.


Enjoy the views from the top and then head down the other side of the hill. At he bottom turn right along the track and follow this around the lower slopes of Beacon Hill. Turn right at the junction and continue along the track, through another gate and continue until you see another path to the left.


Turn left and follow the path down Little Round Down hill which leads to a dew pond and a little hill called 'Granny's Bottom; on your right.

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A close up of an adder coiled up on the grass


To the left of the dewpond follow the small path which leads from behind the pond straight up into the yew woods known as 'the darkest place on the downs'.

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A male Broad-bodied Chaser dragonfly at Attingham Park


Climb up through the shady woods until you reach a cleared area on your right. Take the right hand path and follow it to the woodland edge at the southern corner of Harting Hill. Continune along the grassy path between the woodland on your left and the meadow to your right. Keep going until you reach the end of the woods at the top of Harting Hill. From there head down and to your left across the meadow which leads back to the car park. Look up and enjoy the long vista and the Vandalian tower.

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Harting Down car park SU791180

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Downland and wildlife walk on Harting Down


Several hills and rather steep ascents and descents. It can be muddy in places after wet weather and in Winter. Well-behaved dogs on leads are welcome - there is often stock in the fields.
Downland and wildlife walk on Harting Down

Contact us

Downland and wildlife walk on Harting Down

How to get here

Harting Down car park South Harting West Sussex GU31 5PN
By train

Petersfield is 5 miles away

By road

5½ miles south east of Petersfield and 1 mile south of South Harting, off the B2141

By foot

South Harting is on the South Downs Way path

By bus

5½ miles south east of Petersfield and 1 mile south of South Harting, off the B2141

By bicycle

There is a traffic-free route under a mile away. See Sustrans for more information

Downland and wildlife walk on Harting Down

Facilities and access

  • Car park (free to NT members, £2 to non-members - RingGo through mobile phone)
  • Picnic area, refreshments and toilet at nearby Uppark or South Harting village
  • A similar trail is included in the self-guided walks guide ‘Stroll the South Downs’. If you would like to purchase a copy of this guide please call the Estate Office 01243 814554 and they will be able to help you or arrange for a copy to be purchased by post (£3.99 excluding p&p)