Tree felling and a new access path at Hindhead Commons and the Devil's Punch Bowl

A man looks over the route of the old A3 road at Hindhead Commons and the Devil's Punch Bowl

As part of a European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) grant and a donation from the Black Down and Hindhead Supporters Group, we're making significant changes to Hindhead Commons and the Devil's Punch Bowl, allowing better access for all.

What's happening at Hindhead Commons and the Devil's Punch Bowl?
We're extending and re-landscaping the current car park as there is a need for additional car park spaces, especially at weekends and Bank Holidays. We are also creating an accessible path along the route of the old A3.

Why are you cutting down trees?
We've tried to keep the re-landscaped car park on as much of the existing footprint as possible, however, in order to get the number of spaces required, we need to remove some large trees. Some of the larger trees such as the red oaks, coast redwood and sycamore, are ‘alien’ to the heathland habitat and we want a car park that reflects the heathland site that it serves. As part of the wider project we will be replanting native species on site.

What's happening to the overflow car park?
Most of this will be removed and the surface put back to grass. This will allow space for people to picnic, kick a football etc. Removal of the overflow car park will mean that cars are not parked close the viewpoint.

Who's paying for all this?
In 2019 we were fortunate enough to secure funding from the EAFRD and this was match-funded by a £10,000 donation given to us by the Black Down and Hindhead Supporters Group.The grant has allowed us to construct the 'Changing Places' toilet in the cafe, to make changes to the car park and to construct an accessible path along the route of the old A3, so that all visitors can enjoy the glorious views and heathland habitat.

A new all-weather and accessible path
Many people now use the route around the old A3 and this gets very muddy in the winter months. The new path will offer an all-season, circular trail on a relatively flat surface. It will be signposted up the byway and back along the old A3 platform and will probably be an extension to the Sailors Stroll walking trail. UPDATE: the path is now half completed, but prolonged wet weather means we're unable to finish laying the stone and rolling the surface until we have a dry spell. We hope the path will be open by May.

Local ‘Fittleworth’ sandstone has been used as it has the right ph balance for use on the fragile heathland habitat. It's approved by Natural England to be used on Special Protection Area sites such as the DPB.