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The history of Black Down

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

Flints, ancient tracks across the land and so much more is evidence of Black Down’s past. Find out about the treasures uncovered in this fantastic landscape.

Uncovering Black Down's history

We've been working in collaboration with the Black Down and Hindhead Supporters and University College London, to uncover this hidden past through traditional archaeological field survey, documentary research and the use of specialist LiDAR data (Light Detection and Ranging). National Trust archaeologist Tom Dommett produced the video below exploring the history of Black Down.

Watch the video: The archaeology of Black Down

Flint finds

There's no naturally occurring flint on Black Down, but it has long been known as a source of prehistoric flint artefacts. Collected over the last 100 years, through chance finds and antiquarian excavation, the Haslemere Educational Museum now has a collection of over 2,000 flint tools, ranging from axes and mace heads to arrowheads for hunting, blades for butchery, and scrapers for preparing animal hides.

Black Down was clearly being used by hunter-gatherer communities over a long period, perhaps because it offered a good vantage point to observe game and intercept them as herd animals moved up the watercourses in the nearby valleys.

Criss-crossing tracks

The historic trackways which criss-cross Black Down bear testament to the fact that this was a busy landscape. Over 40 historic routes have been identified, many from the medieval period.

These range from droveways for moving stock, to woodsmen’s tracks and paths for turf cutters or transporting stone.

Tracks lead up to the common from all of the surrounding areas. Some of the tracks provide evidence for the numerous small farmsteads surrounding the common, many of which now remain only as low stone footings and platforms.

A purple haze covers the sunny hillside at Black Down, West Sussex

Discover more at Black Down

Find out how to get to Black Down, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

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People walking in woodland at Black Down, West Sussex

Things to see and do at Black Down 

With plenty to see and do on a visit, Black Down, the highest point in the South Downs National Park, is a great place to walk, run, cycle and celebrate the great outdoors.


Beaver reintroduction in the South Downs 

We've released a pair of beavers into a sheltered valley in the South Downs as part of our efforts to restore nature by creating a wildlife-rich wetland landscape.

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Learn about people from the past, discover remarkable works of art and brush up on your knowledge of architecture and gardens.