Let's dive into shrouded in legend and mystery part of Surrey.
This hike will take us through areas of outstanding beauty. We will pass devil's punch bowl, sailor's stone, Celtic Cross, Temple of Four Winds and an original milestone from the turnpike road.
Ascent: 356 metres
Descent: 328 metres
Difficulty: moderate. Walk includes some steeping gradients and uneven surfaces. Make sure you have appropriate clothing and footwear as it can be very muddy at places.
Lunch: We will stop for lunch at Devil's Punch Bowl. There is a restaurant there with the same name, if you would like to check their menu, please follow this link: http://www.devilspunchbowlhotel.co.uk/files/File/Menu%2029.09.12(1).pdf. You can either bring your own food or have a meal at one of the local restaurants.
Fee: £19.40 includes train tickets, hike and pay pal fees.
Time: It will be a leisurely walk and should take between 3-4 hours. We will also stop for one hour for lunch. However, it is impossible to predict the exact timings as it depends on the walking speed of the particular group we have on the day.
Transport: We will be taking a train from Clapham Junction to Haslemere. The train leaves at 9:52 and arrives at 10:45.
Meeting point: We will meet at Clapham Junction Station at the main entrance, next to the ticket offices and Costa Coffee. When you arrive at the station, please ask a staff member for the main entrance (St John's Hill) as there are a couple of entrances available. It is the one with Sainsbury's and Costa. If you don't know the station, please give yourself enough time to find the right spot.
I will be wearing a T-shirt with a logo at the back and will be at the meeting point since 9:30am. We will make our way to the platform at 9:40am. If you are late I'm afraid we will not be able to wait but you will be welcome to catch up with us at the platform or at Haslemere. You will have to find another way of getting in though as I will have your train ticket.
If you have any problems please give me a call on[masked] . If you are trying to call and not getting through, this may be because 15 other people are also calling me to ask for the way, so please send me a text. As it gets quite hectic when everyone starts arriving and looking for the meeting point, please don't email me or leave a voice mail as I will not have time to check it until after the hike. If you realise last minute that you can not make it - please change your RSVP and text me.
Weather: Please make sure that you are dressed appropriately to the weather. We will not cancel the trip unless the conditions make it dangerous for us to make the walk. If the trip was cancelled you would of course be refunded.
IMPORTANT: By taking part in this meet-up you agree to the following disclaimer: I acknowledge that hiking and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. My decision to voluntarily participate in these activities is an informed decision and I am aware of and shall accept such risks. I agree to be responsible for my own actions and involvement in these activities. The organiser does not take any responsibility for my safety.
Devil's Punch Bowl:
The soil in this part of Surrey has two layers — an upper
layer of sandstone, with clay beneath. This deep depression is believed to be the result of erosion caused by spring water beneath the sandstone, causing the upper level to collapse. With its steep sides, the Devil's Punch Bowl has become a natural nature reserve, filled with heathland, streams and woodland.
Local legend has a much more colourful theory as to its
creation. According to one story, during the Middle Ages the Devil became so irritated by all the churches being built in Sussex that he decided to dig a channel from the English Channel, through the South Downs, and flood the area. As he began digging, he threw up huge lumps of earth, each of which became a local landmark — such as Chanctonbury Ring, Cissbury Ring, Mount Caburn and Rackham Hill. He got as far as the village of Poynings (an area known as the Devil's Dyke) when he was disturbed by a cock crowing (one version of the story claims that it was the prayers of St Dunstan that made all the local cocks crow earlier than usual). Assuming that dawn was about to break, he leapt into Surrey, creating the Devil's Punch Bowl where he landed.
Another story goes that, in his spare time, he hurled lumps of earth at the god Thor to annoy him. The hollow he scooped the earth out of became the Punch Bowl. The local village of Thursley means Thor's place. An alternative version of this story says that Thor threw the earth at the Devil, who was annoying Thor by jumping across the Devil's Jumps.
A still older story claims that two giants clashed in the area, and one, scooping up earth to throw at the other, created the landmark before missing the throw and creating the Isle of Wight.
An original milestone from the turnpike road:
We will trade on the original route of the old London to Portsmouth road. From 1748 - 1873 the road was owned by the Kingston - upon- Thames to Sheet Bridge Turnpike Company which maintained the road and collected toll from travellers, but offered no protection fron highwaymen.
This old milestone was recently discovered lying down the
bank of the old A3. Balfour Beatty used their lifting machinery to recover it and the National Trust has re-instated it in almost exactly its original position. It is only a short way along the old turnpike route, (byway 500, going east from the main car park) and still clearly bears the carved inscriptions of the distances to London, Portsmouth, Godalming and Liphook.
Milestones were a common feature of turnpike roads, placed at mile intervals to guide travellers. From 1767, they were compulsory on turnpike roads to help coaches keep to schedule.
The Unknown Sailor was an anonymous seafarer murdered in
September 1786 at Hindhead in Surrey, England. His murderers were hanged in chains on Gibbet Hill, Hindhead the following year.
The Sailor's Stone was erected by James Stillwell of nearby
Cosford Mill soon after the murder. It was sited on the Old Coaching Road from London to Portsmouth close to the site of the murder. The inscription on the front of the stone reads:
Erected in detestation of a barbarous
murder Committed here on an unknown Sailor On Sep, 24th 1786 By Edwd. Lonegon, Mich. Casey & Jas. Marshall Who were all taken the same day And hung in Chains near this place Whoso sheddeth Man's Blood by Man shall his Blood be shed. Gen Chap 9 Ver 6
The Celtic cross:
The Celtic cross on Gibbet Hill marks the spot where three rogues were hung for the murder of a sailor on the old Portsmouth Road. The Hill lies above the Devil's Punch Bowl and is the second highest point in Surrey.
The Temple of the Four Winds:
The Temple of the Four Winds was built around 1910 by Viscount Pirrie, a leading Irish shipbuilder and businessman.
The Viscount’s Witley Park estate included a deer park over this area and many elaborate picnic lunches were held at the lodge for his hunting friends. Vicount Pirrie used to enjoy looking out over his estate from here and admiring the extensive views.
Sadly the lodge gradually fell into disrepair and was vandalised in 1959. By 1966 it had become a hazard and had to be dismantled.
Now only the stone base remains, and over the years scrub undergrowth has begun too obscure some of the magnificent views.
With help from the Black Down & Hindhead Supporters the scrub and undergrowth around the lodge remains has been removed opening up wonderful views and work will be undertaken to restore the stone plinth.