East Meon and Butser Hill hike
This walk circles the idyllic village of East Meon, starting at the historic 13th century All Saints church. The hike ends with a steep ascent near Butser Hill, the highest point in the South Downs National Park, for some sensational views.
If driving, use postcode GU32 1PF, and park at the free village car park on Workhouse Lane. Regular trains from Southampton and London stop at nearby Winchester. From Winchester bus number 67 runs frequently between Petersfield, stopping outside All Saints Church, East Meon. The trail starts at the car park and then walks past the church bus stop shortly afterwards.
|When to do|
April to September
Yes, East Meon Village Hall
East Meon and Butser Hill
Route Description for East Meon and Butser Hill
From the East Meon car park turn right onto Workhouse Lane and walk ahead towards the village.
Come to a larger road and turn left onto the High Street, past the village store and then immediately left again on Church Street. Follow this past Ye Olde George Inn to the next T-intersection. Cross the road to the bus stop outside of All Saints Church. Nestled on a hillside, with no room to build a North Isle, the church is the oldest building in East Meon, with the spire dating back to 1150.
Enter the church yard and climb the small set of sets onto the grass on the left. Follow the trail to the back left-hand corner, where it enters a wooded area and climbs uphill.
Pass through the gate ahead of you at the top and walk along the bottom of the field. Continue through another gate and on the trail directly ahead.
The next gate leads you onto a driveway. Turn left onto the drive, then right onto the road for 20m until you see a gate on your left. Pass through the gate and follow the clear trail across the fields, in the same direction, for just over 0.8km until you reach a farm, passing through five gates along the way.
At the farm, keep in the same direction, crossing the driveway onto the narrow fenced-in trail directly ahead. When you reach the road shortly afterwards, turn left.
Follow the road past the houses until you reach Halnaker Lane. Turn right up the lane and when you reach the last house at the top take the wide track into the woods on your left.
Continue on this quiet woodland trail, which turns into the South Downs Way, for the next 2.4km, turning left at both forks and straight over at the intersecting trail, until you reach a road.
Cross the road with care and continue on the South Downs Way trail directly opposite, which climbs steeply uphill, for another 0.8km. Once the trail levels out at the top, pause to enjoy the views and then pass through the wooden gate on your left into the field, leaving the South Downs Way behind.
Walk ahead directly down the slope, then up the other side and out of the gate on the left-hand side. The views here are incredible. You can see East Meon church in the distance and the bald Butser Hill on your right, the highest point in the South Downs National Park.
Walk across the top of this field and through the gate on the other side. Now take the steep down-hill trail on your right, passing over a stile at the halfway point until you reach the very bottom of the field below. Turn left and follow the trail along the field edge, with the fence on your right.
Pass through the gate in the bottom right hand corner and follow the trail as it briefly enters the woods. Cross the stile on your left and then exit the woodland into another field. Follow the trail along the field edge, with the fence on your right and a tiny cottage ahead of you on your left.
Continue straight ahead through the two fields, in the same direction, with the fence line now on your left.
Pass through the metal gate in the left-hand corner and take the trail directly across a grassy field and out the gate on the other side, into a small private car park.
Exit the car park and cross the Coombe Road, then turn right to follow the footpath back into the village. When you reach the village store, turn left on Workhouse Lane to return to the car park and Village Hall or turn right to return to the Church and the two local pubs.
The Meonside Campsite is located just outside of the village, on the banks of the river. The facilities are basic, but the site is spacious, and the friendly farmer can even provide wood for fires. Cash payment is collected nightly.
Ye Olde George Inn, near the river in East Meon, is a 15th Century coaching inn that still provides accommodation today. The friendly atmosphere, and good food, make this a great place to stop for a rest, or for the night.
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