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Flying kestrel in the sky
Kestrel in flight | © National Trust Images / Nick Upton

Shottermill to Marley Common and Cognor Wood walk

On this circular walk from the ancient millponds of Shottermill you'll head onto Marley Common, where impressive beech trees line a boundary bank. Vibrant heath follows deciduous woodland, grazed by belted Galloway cattle and a haven for heathland birds and insects. You'll then descend into a working sweet chestnut coppice, before heading up to a meadow, rich with butterflies in summer.

Total steps: 11

Total steps: 11

Start point

Outside Mill Tavern, Shottermill, GU27 3QE

Step 1

From the pub, cross the road and set off uphill towards the roundabout and the Shottermill Ponds.

Step 2

Take the tarmac path to Camelsdale. Pass a recreation ground on the left before arriving at the Camelsdale Tea-room. Once across the road, follow the pavement until you pass the Unique Gifts and Crafts shop. Take the first signpost on the right directly after the shop. From the finger post (yellow arrows denote public footpaths) follow the sunken ride.

Step 3

Walk uphill along a narrow sunken ride with the towering avenue of beech trees on the left. Continue uphill past another footpath arrow and a property on the right. Ignoring both right forks, continue to a gate with the number 4 painted on it. Enter the grazed area and please keep dogs under close control. This woodland edge has plenty of standing dead wood and you can often hear the drumming of woodpeckers here. From the gate continue straight on until you merge with a larger path from the left.

Step 4

Continue along the main path heading to the open heath. This area is a heathland habitat populated in the summer by woodlarks, warblers, reptiles, and many specialised insects. Gorse is in flower every month of the year – try rubbing some of the flowers between your fingers, many people detect the scent of coconut. Keep going along the path until you arrive at a meeting of several paths with a newly planted tree to the left and the car park visible on the right.

Step 5

Continue straight ahead, taking the path that bears slightly to the right ahead. The path is joined from the right by another, bear left. After about 75yd (70m) go right at a small crossroads, heading out of the grazed area through a gate. There is a house on the left, cross its small tarmac lane. After about 60yd (55m) bear right towards the main road, to the right you'll see a small car park and a National Trust omega sign. Turn left for 22yd (20m), then take the footpath to the right.

Step 6

This path drops downhill for quite some distance through a narrow gully – take care as it may be unstable underfoot and slippery. Follow the first footpath sign to the right and continue west, downhill and over a fallen tree. Carry on until the next finger post, follow the fork right down to the millpond. Drop down to your left and look for sticklebacks in the tantalising depths before crossing over a small wooden footbridge.

Step 7

Enter a new phase of woodland. Gone is the cool shade of the holly and mixed woodland, as the coppiced vigour of the sweet chestnut takes over.

Step 8

Ignoring the path which crosses from left to right, continue straight on.

Step 9

Look out for a house and garden to your left and an electricity pole. Turn right uphill and follow the footpath at this junction, heading north-east following a line of beech. Continue straight on up to the ridge, ignoring a crossing track. You'll pass a large yew and may catch a glimpse of the distinctive white, heart-shaped scut of a fleeing roe deer. Go through the new metal kissing-gate, head diagonally across the meadow towards a gap (may be replaced by a new gate) in the hedgeline next to a large oak. Keep your dog under close control here, as livestock are kept around this area.

Step 10

Turn right from here to join the public bridleway, marked with a blue arrow. Continue straight ahead, ignoring two tracks to the left, then join a tarmac lane, going past another bridleway sign. Continue along the tarmac lane round the corner, keeping the laurel hedge to the left. It's downhill all the way now. Go left at a footpath finger post (yellow arrow), ignoring the lane sweeping to the right.

Step 11

Chestnut trees dominate the sandy slope on the left, and guide you along. This path takes you past a house and onto an unmade track, past several horse paddocks. Keep to the track, passing a pair of cottages on your left, until you finally arrive at a footpath sign and a tarmac road. Turn left here and you should be able to see the pub sign in the distance through a gap in the trees.

End point

Outside Mill Tavern, Shottermill, GU27 3QE

Trail map

Map of walking trail from Shottermill to Marley Common and Cognor Woods
Map of walking trail from Shottermill to Marley Common and Cognor Woods | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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