Friday, 17 April 2015

Black Down to Marley Common (Serpent Trail 2)

Black Down

We started the Serpent Trail with Viv and Giles last December, but it has taken a while to return to it. We resumed at the car park near Balck Down and walked through woodland to emerge onto open heathland.

To the right there were nice views to the east.'

We last walked in this area in July 2014, starting out from Fernhurst. On that occasion we failed to locate the evocative-sounding Temple of the Winds. We were hampered by our belief that it was something resembling a temple, we had the idea that there was maybe a circle of stones or something similar.

As we were heading along the path we met another group of walkers who enquired if we knew where the Temple of teh Winds was - they had seen signposts, but couldn't find it. We made sympathetic noises. This time we did locate the Temple, not without some difficulty - even when close up it was somehow hidden. It turns out to be a belvedere just below the edge of the hillside with a wonderful view to the south.

This is at the southernmost point of Black Down and we headed away to the north to soon overtake the other walkers who had stopped for a break. They were very gracious when they received the news that we had located the elusive Temple.

Further on we started to see the distinctive cattle, Belted Galloways, that the National Trust uses to graze the heathland. They are certainly well-named.

We continued along a broad path across the heath and then headed along the base of a grassy hillside, with a ridge ahead of us revealing scattered substantial houses.

Somewhere around here we missed our way and found ourselves walking along a lane with confusing signs to Valewood Farm House and Valewood House. We couldn't quite work out where we had gone wrong - or indeed where we were. After some trial and error behaviour we eventually worked out that we had been going in the right direction but were on the wrong side of a small stream.

Somewhat chastened,  made our way to the A286, Bell Road, and crossed it to walk through the woods of Marley Common to reach where we had parked.

Conditions: bright and mild.

Distance: 4.8 miles. Distance now covered 7.3 miles. We hope to increase our pace next time.

Map: Explorer 133 (Haslemere and Petersfield).

Rating: four stars.

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