Walking the Dog
The Devil's Punchbowl
The Devil's Punchbowl is a large hollow of dry sandy heath to the west of Hindhead. The hollow is overlooked by the 894 feet Gibbet Hill, the second highest hill in Surrey.
TIME: 1 -2 hours
The nearest station is Haslemere 3 miles away. Take the Stagecoach bus, route 71, Haslemere to Aldershot.
There is limited wheelchair access to this site.
The pay and display car park and cafe are situated on the London Road, at Hindhead.
Take the path that veers off to the right of cafe, and head towards the first viewing point. Take the left hand route and join the bridleway, keeping the fence to your left.
Follow this path, past the second viewing point, turning right at the next junction and head towards the third viewing point at Highcombe Copse, where you will find a stone memorial.
The memorial reads: "Highcombe Copse. This land was purchased for the National Trust from funds bequeathed by WA Robertson in memory of his brothers Norman Cairns Robertson Capt. 2nd Batt. Hampshire Regt. who died 20th June 1917 at Hanover Germany and of Lawrence Grant Robertson 2nd Lieut. 2nd Batt. King's Own Scottish Borderers who was killed in action in France during the battle of the Somme in or near Delville Wood 30th July 1916."
The areas bought include four in Surrey and William specified that at each site a memorial must be erected, specified as to size and form, stating its location and details of his brothers.
The path drops downhill here and you need to follow the right hand path, when the paths cross, into the ancient sunken lane into the woods. You will pass the gorgeous Keeper’s Cottage which dates from the 1650's. Try not to let your pooch do what Alvie the BBC SCR hound did....hare round and round the cottage's garden before being caught by some very red faced owners!
Continue along the bridleway which bears left downhill, passing the cottage and down to the stream. Cross at the footbridge and climb up the sandy wooded bank on the other site, going through the gate and back onto the common to your right.
Follow the uphill path turning right at the next path junction, passing the bench, over the cattle grid and follow the path as it curves right and down into a second dell.
As you re-emerge from the dell you will see a pond and Gnome Cottage c.1730 on your left. Just before Highcombe Farm there is a turning to your right. Go through the gate towards the Youth Hostel Accomodation. At the next gates, take the right hand footpath and follow it down to the stream.
Cross the footbridge and climb up through the dell (you may need your wellies for this bit!). Go through kissing gate (feel free to smooch your fellow walker, at this point) and turn left into Sailor’s Lane, named after the unfortunate fellow mentioned below.
Trot along the bridleway and through the next set of gates (smooching optional), following the path through another wooded dell, as it curves to the left. Continue ahead and through the next gate.
This is where you will wish you did this walk in reverse.... The path starts to climb
At the top, stagger to your right, onto the main path, and make your way, gasping, through the gates, where you will find the first viewing point and a bench to collapse on, until you can feel your legs again.
Your dog, however, will almost certainly be prancing about as fresh as a daisy, and wondering why you are sitting down!
THE DEVIL'S' PUNCHBOWL HOTEL
You will never be as pleased to see a pub, as you will to see this one, after your walk!
Directly across the road from the Punchbowl pay and display car park, you can either leave your car where it is or drive across the road and use the hotel's parking, which is considerably smaller, and can be slightly tricky to manoeuvre in, when full.
WARNING: The A3 (London Road) is extremely busy and folk tend to drive very fast. Please take extra care when crossing to the hotel.
Welcomes well behaved dogs on leads.
The bar is open from 11.00 to 23.00 daily and for food from 12.00 to 21.15pm
In the 1800's, the area became popular as a health resort due to it's fresh air and open countryside. The building started life as the country residence of the Honourable Rollo Russell, meteorologist and whose father, was England’s first Liberal Prime minister, and nephew was Bertrand Russell.
PLEASE NOTE: The Devil's Punchbowl Cafe is not dog friendly but does serve hot and cold food as well as a children's menu. Toilets are to be found here too.
last updated: 27/03/2008 at 15:01
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Peter of the Web
pauline pullman ,nee lockwood