Rake to Blackdown

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Stanley Common © Andrew Smith
The Ridge © Ben Gamble
Houses on Marley Common © Shazz

A generally easy walk, mainly on clear sandy tracks, crossing the heathland of Linchmere and Marley Commons, followed by a climb to the top of Blackdown, providing a spectacular view over the Sussex Weald.

This is a trail in the Sussex Border Path collection of trails. Together they describe the full length of this long distance footpath.

Cross B2070 with care and take lane opposite (right of 'Flying Bull' P.H. car park). In 300 yards, bear right (signposted 'White Eagle Temple'). After half a mile, turn right at road junction (GR 803287), and after another half mile, turn left at next junction. Cross railway bridge and almost immediately fork right and head NNE (ignoring another right fork) to pass two cottages. In about half a mile, at meeting of four ways, take furthest right hand track (GR812297).

Bear right past two cottages and continue through heath and woodland for half a mile. Cross drive of Home Park (by brick pillars) and continue ahead on path forking right. Keep bearing right along edge of wood now heading south to pass under railway bridge. Immediately beyond bridge, take narrow path on left through gap and continue on path, bearing right between fences. On reaching wood, turn right at path T-junction on path which soon veers left, still in woodland. Keep bearing left at subsequent path junctions to reach gate to drive. Follow drive to B2070 near 'Black Fox' P.H.

Cross road with care and turn left along roadside verge. In about 80 yards, fork right on tarmac lane. In another 100 yards cross road and keep ahead on dirt track (at one time this was the Portsmouth Road). Continue ahead in the same direction, ignoring a signed bridleway to the left, for the next 1.5 miles. Ignore all other side turnings and crossing paths until you pass the entrance drive to North Lodge Farm on your right. Continue ahead until the track forks, where you take the smaller track, forking left, and follow this to a road. Cross this road into Highfield Lane opposite (GR847304). (For access to Liphook turn left along road for half a mile).

Follow Highfield Lane for just 20 yards, then turn right on clear woodland track. Continue ahead, ignoring path to right, soon with ditch and fence on your left. When fence ends, continue ahead on path through woodland, which is a little vague at times, but maintain direction for about half a mile, roughly in line with the ditch, until you meet a waymarker post (GR 853303). Here you bear left uphill with the bridleway as indicated. At top of rise join track coming in from left and go ahead (NE). At meeting of four ways go ahead through wood. At next (unsigned) junction, fork left on lesser path and descend slope. At another crossing path at foot of slope, turn left and continue ahead for half a mile, soon with field on left, until you reach a house on left. Here the path veers right on to common. At meeting of five tracks, take third exit (almost due east). As path climbs gently, soon fork right and follow Border Path/bridleway waymarks over heathland for about half a mile, ignoring side and crossing tracks. Continue alongside fence and gardens of house on right to reach road at Linchmere (GR 866314).

Turn right and in 300 yards turn left at road junction (signposted Haslemere and Camelsdale). In 30 yards fork right along gravel track by 'Old School'. Follow this rising (and often muddy) bridleway for over half a mile, ignoring side tracks, until you reach a tarmac lane. Go ahead and in 200 yards, where tarmac lane bears left, bear slightly right on rough track. Follow this past stables until you reach a road at houses. Go ahead with the road for 100 yards, but where it bends left, continue ahead on path into woodland. Follow path, crossing another private drive, to reach public road at GR 887311. Turn left for 100 yards, then turn right into car park at Marley Common.

Walk through car park and ahead on footpath across common. At meeting of five ways continue ahead (NE) across National Trust land ignoring side tracks and descending gradually. Just before path drops more steeply, fork right, and shortly, at next junction, drop down steeply left in hollow way. Soon bear left down steps and through twitten to road. Turn left and descend to cross A286 road (GR 895315) to Fernden Lane. (Access point for Camelsdale and Haslemere).

Follow Fernden Lane round sharp bend and in 50 yards turn left along track which in 300 yards joins tarmac drive. Continue east along drive to reach road. Turn right and follow road/drive round left bend. Pass through brick gateway and pass house on left, then at end of fence on left, turn left on path running down to a boardwalk over a damp area. Turn left again at corner and follow narrow enclosed path out over plank bridge on to drive to 'Valewood House'. Turn right along it and soon pass the delightful 'Valewood Farm House' on your left. In another 200 yards turn sharply left uphill on clear track to gate. Pass through the gate and immediately turn right to follow the trodden path steeply up the grass field to a field gate at the top. Pass through gate and continue on trodden path across centre of field, with excellent views to SW, to gate into woodland. At end, bear left through field gate and ascend track through narrow eroded section on to Blackdown. Keep ahead on main track for a good half mile to reach gate and crossing track. Continue ahead and keep to main track for another half mile as path opens out into wide space. Where five ways meet take '2nd exit' - half left and level.

Follow this track heading generally NE, passing a small pond on the left and ignoring side tracks. Watch out for seat a few yards to the right of the path - take a rest and enjoy the delightful view from Blackdown over the Sussex Weald. Shortly, when you can see a National Trust notice board and collecting box ahead, fork right downhill in sunken way to join road on hairpin bend. The car park is just to the right at GR 923307.

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