Saturday Walkers Club

Rowlands Castle Circular Walk

A demanding walk, first through park- and woodland, then through the remote westerly valleys of the South Downs


25.5 km (15.9 miles)/677 m


9 out of 10.

OS Map

Landranger 197 (Chichester & the South Downs), Explorer OL8 (Chichester, formerly 120).


This demanding West Sussex walk in the undulating western part of the South Downs is characterised initially by a mixture of park- and woodland, then steep lonely valleys and some far views to the main South Downs Ridge.
It starts off towards Stansted House along a 1-mile-long beech avenue – one of the best in England according to Pevsner, and then heads north along the easterly edge of Stansted Forest and across fields via the hamlets of West, Up and East Marden to a very remote pub in Hooksway, with particularly nice views on the route between the hamlets, including up to the northern escarpment of the South Downs.
From lunch you climb back out of the secluded valley on a westerly route to Compton, from where another couple of hills need to be crossed to finish along the westerly edge of Stansted Forest back into Rowlands Castle, with its teashop and a choice of pubs.
The walk (especially the extended version) features several sustained, steep climbs and descents.

Walk Options

A shortcut around lunch cuts 9.4 km and 307m ascent/descent (rated 4/10).
An extension after lunch adds 3.4 km and 162m ascent/descent. It follows a lonely, narrow, wood-fringed valley to the main northerly escarpment of the South Downs and then follows one of the most undulating sections of the South Downs Way with unrivalled far views from Pen Hill and Beacon Hill, making this a real challenge. The extended walk is rated 10/10.
All three routes share the start, up to West Marden, and the end, from Compton.

Bus Service 54 (Petersfield – Chichester) runs through the walk area, serving West Marden (the early lunch stop) and Compton (the late lunch/early tea stop), about every two hours, Mon-Sat, to late afternoon.

Travel Take the train closest to 9.00 hours for the full and the extended walk, and the train closest to 10.00 for the short walk.

The Victoria Inn Locksash Lane, West Marden PO18 9EN (023 9263 1330). Open 12.00-14.30 and 18.00-22.30 Tue-Fri, 12.00-23.00 Sat and 12.00-22.00 Sun. Food served 12.00-14.00 and 18.30-20.45 Tue-Thu, 12.00-14.30 and 18.30-20.45 Fri-Sat and 12.00-16.00 Sun. Located 6.3 km (3.9 mi) into the walk
The Royal Oak Hooksway, PO18 9JZ (01243 535 257). Open 11.30-14.30 Tue-Sat and 19.00-23.00 Fri-Sat and 12.00-15.00 Sun. Food served 12.00-14.00 Tue-Sun and 19.00-21.00 Fri-Sat. Located 12.6 km (7.9 mi) into the full and the extended walk.
The Coach and Horses Compton, PO18 9HA (023 9263 1228). Open 12.00-15.00 and 18.00-23.00 Tue-Sat and 12.00-15.30 and 19.00-22.30 Sun. Food served 12.00-14.00 Tue-Sun and 18.30-20.45, and 12.00-14.00 and 19.00-21.00 Sun. Located 8.7 km (5.4 mi) into the short walk and 7.4 km (4.6 mi) from the end of all walk options.


The Village Shop and Tea Room The Square, Compton. PO18 9HA (023 9263 1144). Shop opening times are 08.00-17.30 Mon-Sat and 08.00-16.30 Sun. Tea Room opening times are 08.00-16.30 Mon-Sat and 08.00-15.30 Sun. Located 8.7 km (5.4 mi) into the short walk and 7.4 km (4.6 mi) from the end of all walk options.
The Castle Inn 1 Finchdean Road, Rowlands Castle PO9 6DA (023 9241 2494). Open 11.00-17.30 Mon-Sat and 12.00-24.00 Sun. Food Service from 12.00-15.00 Tue-Sun and 18.00-21.00 Tus-Sat. A Fuller’s Pub with a very comfy interior and a separate restaurant area, located 2 minutes from the station.
The Tea on the Green 2 The Green, Rowlands Castle, PO9 6BN (023 9241 3717). Open 09.30-16.00 (16.30 Sat-Sun). Located 2 minutes from the station.
The Robin Hood 26 The Green, Rowlands Castle, PO9 6AB (023 9241 2268). Open 10.00-23.00 daily. Food served 12.00-14.30 and 18.00-21.00 Mon-Fri, all day Sat-Sun. Located 3 minutes from the station and part of the Hall and Woodhouse Brewery Group.
Taste of India on the Green 34 The Green, Rowlands Castle, PO9 6AB (023 9307 2783). Located 4 minutes from the station.
The Fountain Inn 34 The Green, Rowlands Castle PO9 6AB (023 9241 2291). Open Tue-Thu 11.00-23.00, Fri-Sat 11.00-24.00 and Sun12.00-22.30. Located 4 minutes from the station.


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Out: (not a train station)

Back: (not a train station)

By Car

Start: PO9 6BP | Directions


Start walking Large print Using GPS data

National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234



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Walk Directions  

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