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South Downs walk from East Meon, taking in Salt Hill with some great views along the way.

10:42 13 September 2011

Steve Davison leads the way on this 5½ mile walk in the South Downs National Park starting from East Meon and taking in Salt Hill with some great views along the way.

Picture perfect

Steve Davison leads the way on this 5 mile walk in the South Downs National Park starting from East Meon and taking in Salt Hill with some great views along the way.

Walk summary

  • Start/finish: Car park in East Meon; grid ref SU677221, about 4 miles west from A3 at Petersfield

  • Map: OS Explorer 119 or 132

  • Distance: 5 miles (8.8km)

  • Terrain: A few climbs, tracks and paths which can be muddy, stiles and gates, and sections of country road

  • Time: 2 to 3 hours without stops

  • Refreshments: East Meon Ye Olde George Inn (01730 823481); Izaak Walton (01730 823252);

Picturesque East Meon has a lovely setting, nestled between the rolling chalk downs, with pretty cottages lining the River Meon which flows alongside the High Street. Izaak Walton, the 17th-century author of The Compleat Angler, stayed here to fish the river, and one of the village pubs is named after him. The flint-walled All Saints Church with its grey broach spire, visible from many parts of the walk, dates back to Norman times and is well worth a visit. Inside there is a colourful Millennium tapestry and a rare 12th century font made by the sculptors of Tournai in Flanders. To complete the rural picture, close to the church is the 15th century Court House. >>


(SU677221) Turn right out of the car park and keep ahead to pass the village shop, turn left at the next junction crossing the River Meon and passing Ye Olde George Inn; the Izaak Walton is straight on alongside the river. At the T-junction, with All Saints Church ahead, go straight over and through the lych gate to follow a path diagonally left up through the churchyard. Bear left up along the path beside the fence, cross a stile and continue alongside the left-hand field boundary. Cross a stile and keep ahead through the middle of next field to a stile beside a gate at Chalk Dell Cottages. Bear left along the driveway, with a house to the right, to join a road.


(SU677225) Turn right for a few metres, then left through a kissing gate beside two large gates and follow the right-hand hedge to another kissing gate. Go through the next field, following the right-hand field boundary to a third kissing gate, here the official right of way goes left to follow the edge of the field clockwise to a kissing gate that is directly opposite. Go through the gate and continue towards Drayton, now following the hedge on the left to reach a large gate at Drayton Farm. Cross the track, go through the kissing gate and along the enclosed path to join a road.


(SU669234) Turn left, crossing the River Meon and passing a house, and at the left bend fork right up Halnaker Lane. As this bends right, continue straight on along the track, keeping left at two splits to follow the left edge of Hen Wood and reach a cross junction. If time is short, or you dont fancy climbing up Salt Hill, you can opt for a shortcut by turning left along a path signposted for East Meon, pass just right of some old barns and continue down the track before turning left along the road to the village. To continue with the main walk keep ahead, now following the South Downs Way signposted to Buster Hill 4 miles. Cross the road at Coombe Cross and continue straight on along the South Downs Way for slightly under mile, later climbing quite steeply up Salt Hill. Soon a large mast comes into view; however, we dont go as far as that, but turn left over a stile. Head east across the field skirting round the edge of the trees and go left through the gate. From here there are some great views, including eastwards to Butser Hill, the highest point of the South Downs at 270m (886ft).


(SU675202) Continue northwards through two fields separated by a large gate, go through another gate and descend to the corner. Stay in the field and turn right alongside the lower field edge, with trees to the left, and shortly turn left through a gate. Follow the path down through the trees, cross a stile and continue along the right-hand edge of the field.

Go through a gap in the hedge at the lower right corner and follow a path up across the middle of a field. Turn left at the far side following the hedge, go through a kissing gate and continue across the field to another kissing gate in the trees opposite. Keep ahead and turn right along the road (the shortcut comes in from the left), following it as it bends left down past the school, at the junction turn left for the car park or right for a pub visit.

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