Harting Down wildlife walk

Walking trail

One of the largest areas of ancient chalk downland in our care, Harting Down in West Sussex is a renowned nature reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Downland views and wildlife discovery

Sheep grazing helps conserve this grassland environment where rare wildlife thrives. This walk offers panoramic views over the Weald to the North Downs, before descending into secluded valleys of natural and historic interest.


Map route for Harting Down wildlife walk


Harting Down car park, grid ref: 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 following the South Downs Way.


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.

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Follow the right-hand track up Round Down hill, keeping a hedge on your left. You'll see a huge variety of plants here all year round. Just over the top of the hill, turn left and go through a gate, before walking down into the next valley. After another gate at the bottom, walk across to the base of Beacon Hill.

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Here is the ridge of an Iron Age Hill Fort, probably created as an animal enclosure and symbol of status, rather than a defensive stronghold. Either climb up to the summit of Beacon Hill or turn right and skirt across its lower slopes.

Looking east over the gently rolling chalk downland  towards Beacon Hill and the Weald from Harting Down


If you do walk over the top, turn right at a cross-roads of paths on the other side and skirt back round the lower slopes of Beacon Hill until you meet the short cut route again.


At a signpost turn away from Beacon Hill on a path down to a dew pond and a little hill, 'Granny's Bottom', on your right.

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Pass the pond and cross into a yew wood, known as the darkest place on the downs. Its cold in here, even on a hot day! Yew trees are home to birds like wren, thrush and finch.

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Climb up through the shade back onto Harting Hill. Follow the path until you emerge through an opening (not gate) on the right. Stay on a grassy path back to the car park.


Harting Down car park, grid ref: SU791180

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Harting Down wildlife walk


On grassy paths with several hills and rather steep ascents and descents. It can be muddy in places after wet weather and in winter. Shorter walks are listed in a walks pack.

Harting Down wildlife walk

Contact us

Harting Down wildlife walk

How to get here

Harting Down, near South Harting, South Downs, West Sussex
By train

Petersfield station is 5 miles (8km) away.

By road

5.5 miles (8.9km) miles south east of Petersfield and 1 mile (1.6km) south of South Harting, off the B2141.

By foot

South Harting is on the South Downs Way long distance trail.

By bus

Bus stop in South Harting 1 mile (1.6km) away. Number 54 (Petersfield-Chichester), number 91 Petersfield-Midhurst) and the X72 (Alton-Midhurst).

By bicycle

There is a traffic free route under a mile (1.6km) away, visit Sustrans

Harting Down wildlife walk

Facilities and access

  • Local shop and two pubs in South Harting
  • Nearest public toilet at South Harting village or Uppark House and Garden