The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Butser Hill and Black Down

Tuesday 27 January

There was a disturbance in the middle of the night in our sleepy little car park, when (according to Mick) I started screaming like I was being attacked. The first I knew about it was when Mick leapt up to defend me, only to find that I was asleep and that no-one/nothing was attacking me. I've no idea what that was about and hope it doesn't become a regular feature!

The disturbance might have warranted a lie-in this morning, except that we had a ferry to catch, and catch it we did, over to Portsmouth, which positioned us nicely for today's hills.

Butser Hill (SU716203; 270m)


Butser Hill was first and I'd opted for the car park at the nearby Country Park, immediately adjacent to the A3, for ease of vehicle access. I had anticipated that there would be a fee to park there, and so there was: a badly structured one which gave us the options of 1 hour or all day. The walk being 3 miles long, we only needed a maximum of 1.25 hours, so I didn't really want to pay for the whole day. The solution? To pay for one hour and walk very quickly.

It was a fine day to trot up the grassy slope of this little hill and it was a fine day to be on the top too. The views were extensive (even if it was yet another hill with a mast on top), and all evidence was that it was a good day for hang-gliding up there too.

By the time we reached the top it was clear that we had no time issues. It was also clear (from the display on my Garmin Gadget) that the distance wasn't as far as I had thought. Even so, we descended at a pace too, and arrived back at Colin less than 45 minutes after setting off, with 2.5 miles walked (400' of up).

Black Down (SU919296; 280m)


A bit of a drive took us to our next objective or, at least, to a place reasonably nearby, as this time I had opted to park in the car park in Fernhurst (free = no time constraints, just off the main road = no tiny lanes).

Our route to the summit gave some pleasant and interesting walking. They were also memorable miles, although not for a positive reason; the mud levels were most firmly in the category of 'ridiculous'. Thank goodness there was a handy stream near the bottom for a clean up of our boots!

Views weren't a feature of this summit, as it is heavily wooded, but not far from the top is The Temple of the Winds, which is a grand half-circle stone memorial bench and a topograph, in front of which the trees have been kept in check in order to give stunningly extensive views. We were very pleased that the morning's fine weather had persisted into the afternoon.

Back at Colin (after 4.5 miles walked with 800' of up), we didn't go on to the next hill, which logistically would have fitted in well at this point. That one has been juggled in the schedule in favour of spending more time with friends in Crawley this evening.

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  1. Here's my take on these two - I particularly liked Black Down.

    "The next hill was a total contrast from the rolling downs. Black Down (SU 919 296) involved a dramatic 4 kilometre drive down a heavily wooded, single track, badly surfaced lane. A rough clearing at the end provided a makeshift car park with a remote feeling. The map indicated the road continuing as a white road (unsurfaced)."

    "A steep but atmospheric path through a Scots pine wood interspersed with brambles and gorse eventually came out onto a plateau of thinned old pines and heathland. The trig, once again was partly hidden in the woods. Different woods, for me have different characters, and the old Scott's Pine seems friendly, warm and welcoming, especially when there are also extensive views and the sun is shining, and the sky is half bright white and blue."

    "Back at the car satnav told me to continue on the white road to my next destination, and I bravely obeyed. It turned out to be Tarmac and only half the distance to a proper road than the nerve racking single tracker I had arrived by."

    "What a contrast again for Number Three, Butser Hill (SU 717 203). Before I even arrived, having pulled onto the grass verge for an oncoming car the driver stopped alongside and gave me his partly used parking ticket. A few hundred yards further and I arrived at the car park which could have been for Disneyland. Cars, tripper visitor people, and dogs were everywhere. A hundred yards from the car park the crowds thinned as I made the half kilometre to the trig. Perhaps the rule here should be never on a Sunday (when the sun is shining)."

    How is Colin behaving?

  2. Funnily enough, as we walked through the woodland on Black Down we discussed how we liked it and how it contrasted with the far-less-pleasing woodland on Brighstone Down, but we couldn't put our finger on what made the difference.

    The 'never on a sunny Sunday' rule did strike us when we couldn't park in our preferred place for Brighstone Down (not helped by the fact that it was early afternoon). I feared that we wouldn't get parked anywhere, but the car park where we ended up seemed to have a quick turn-over of users and there were a couple of spaces free when we got there.