Skip to content
Duke of Burgundy butterfly
Duke of Burgundy butterfly | © National Trust Images/Matthew Oates

Harting Down wildlife walk

This moderate walking trail takes you around Harting Down, one of the largest areas of ancient chalk downland in our care and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. You'll enjoy panoramic views over the Weald to the North Downs, before descending into secluded valleys of natural and historic interest. Look out for rare wildlife and grazing sheep.

Total steps: 8

Total steps: 8

Start point

Harting Down car park, grid ref: SU791180

Step 1

Start in Harting Down National Trust car park. Walk through a gate and cross Harting Hill following the South Downs Way.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

Follow the right-hand track up Round Down hill, keeping a hedge on your left. 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.

Step 4

Here is the ridge of an Iron Age hillfort, 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.

Step 5

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.

Step 6

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.

Step 7

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.

Step 8

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.

End point

Harting Down car park, grid ref: SU791180

Trail map

Map showing route and steps of Harting Down wildlife walk
Harting Down wildlife walk | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

You made it

Share your experience

Get in touch

Harting Down (off B2141), South Harting, Petersfield, GU31 5PW

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.

Visit website 

You might also be interested in

A group of hikers exploring a hilly landscape on a sunny winters day.


Explore some of the finest landscapes in our care on coastal paths, accessible trails, woodland walks and everything in between. Find the best places to walk near you.

An aerial view of an adult and baby walking a dog along a path at Baggy Point, Devon

Staying safe at National Trust places 

The special places in National Trust care sometimes come with a few risks for visitors, be it coastline or countryside. Find out how to keep safe throughout your visits.

A group of people in a hiking group are being guided on a hike by rangers at Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire

Cotswold Outdoor: our exclusive walking partner 

Find out more about the National Trust’s ongoing partnership with Cotswold Outdoor as our exclusive walking partner.

Winter sun in the woods at Petworth House and Park, West Sussex

Walking in Sussex 

Explore coastal paths, open parkland and countryside teeming with wildlife on these top walks in Sussex.