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View south from the Temple of the Winds at Black Down, West Sussex
View south from the Temple of the Winds at Black Down | © National Trust Images/John Miller

Black Down Temple of the Winds trail

Alfred Lord Tennyson fell in love with the Black Down Hills and would stride out through the heather, wrapped in his cloak. Follow in his footsteps on a circular walk through Black Down's beautiful woodland and heathland. The walk goes to the Temple of the Winds, named after a Bronze Age circular bank. Here you can find one of the best views of the South Downs National Park. This little-known spot has a secret feel and a charming curved stone seat to rest on.

Total steps: 12

Total steps: 12

Start point

Tennyson's Lane main National Trust car park, grid ref: SU9179231186

Step 1

Follow the track up from the car park on Tennyson’s Lane and make your way through the gate onto Black Down. Following the well-worn track uphill and after 170m you will reach a noticeboard. In autumn, the steep banks on either side of the track are strewn with bilberries and blackberries.

Step 2

Pass the noticeboard and continue to head uphill along a sunken track. There is a viewpoint shortly after (140m) and a seat facing east on the left-hand side as you head up the track.

Step 3

Shortly after you will reach a fork in the track, take the right. Continue straight past some bog ponds on your right-hand side. The path then continues between two banks and heads into a small area of trees.

Step 4

At the next major junction called ‘five ways’, take the left-hand major track heading south and continue to follow the path out onto the heath.

Step 5

After 300m the path arrives at a fine westerly viewpoint. Continue heading south from the viewpoint following the main path.

Step 6

Do not be tempted to take the next fork to the right but continue to wind your way across the heath. After 120m there is a viewpoint under some pine trees on your right, looking south-west towards the South Downs over Cotchet valley. Continue to follow the main path heading south along the top of the slope.

Step 7

After 240m take the left-hand path at the crossroads. Head uphill past a bench on the left and continue towards the woodland ridge.

Step 8

As you enter the woods head straight on over the crossroads following the sign for the Temple of the Winds. Follow the path that opens up and heads down the slope – take care on the uneven path and tree roots – to Black Down's most loved view. Sit in contemplation in the curved stone seat while pondering Tennyson’s verse.

Step 9

After admiring the view across the west Weald, retrace your steps back up the slope and at the fork take the right-hand path heading north and into the woods.

Step 10

After 200m you will come to a junction next to a pond, but continue to follow the current path heading north. In 240m a path joins from the right, in 100m ignore all paths to the left, take the right fork and continue on the main track.

Step 11

This heads north through the beech hangar, one of Black Down's most seasonally photographed areas. Follow this path for 560m, winding your way through the woods enjoying the birdsong. After 450m pass a small pool on your left and continue to follow the path for a further 100m.

Step 12

A path joins from the left at this point but continue to follow the path heading north. At the next junction take the right-hand path at the fork and return down the sunken track back towards the car park.

End point

Tennyson's Lane main National Trust car park, OS grid ref: SU9179231186

Trail map

Ordinance survey route map for the Temple of the Winds walk at Black Downs, Surrey
Ordinance survey route map for the Temple of the Winds walk at Black Downs | © Ordnance Survey

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Get in touch

South Downs West Estate Yard, Linch Road, Woolbeding, West Sussex, GU29 0QB

Our partners

Cotswold Outdoor

We’ve partnered with Cotswold Outdoor to help everyone make the most of their time outdoors in the places we care for.

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