Devil's Punch Bowl Walk
This circular walk in the Surrey Hills AONB takes you through Hindhead Common, up Gibbet Hill and to the Devil's Punch Bowl - a large natural amphitheatre and beauty spot. The area is National Trust owned so there is a car park, cafe, information boards and a series of well marked footpaths.
You start at the car park and head through the Devil's Punch Bowl which has become a natural nature reserve, filled with heathland, streams and woodland. You then climb Gibbet Hill, the second highest hill in Surrey at 272 metres (892 ft). From here there are magnificent views over the punchbowl, Thursley, Hankley Common, Crooksbury Hill, the South Downs, Godalming and Guildford. The hills of Haslemere and Blackdown can also be seen, while on a clear day the iconic buildings of London are also visible.
After taking in the views you then follow more pleasant woodland tracks across the common before returning to the start point.
The area is good for walkers but also popular with mountain bikers as there are many wide downhill tracks to enjoy.
If you would like to continue your walking in the area you could head to Leith Hill-the highest point in the South East with fabulous views over London and the English Channel. The Greensand Way also runs through the area so you could pick this up to continue your walk.
PostcodeGU26 6AG - Please note: Postcode may be approximate for some rural locations
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Devil's Punch Bowl Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Devil's Punch Bowl Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Devil's Punch Bowl OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Devil's Punch Bowl Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
The National Trust's on site cafe does a good range of snacks and meals and has a nice outdoor seating area for warmer days.
The Devil's Punchbowl Hotel is another aptly named and conveniently located option for some post walk refreshments. The noteworthy hotel has an interesting history having been a country residence for the Hon. Rollo Russell, whose father- Lord John Russell was England’s first Liberal Prime Minister. Sometime during the early 1900’s, the house (known then as Thorshill) was leased to a part time minister of the local congregational church, he and his wife ran Thorshill as a private guesthouse up until 1949. Now the hotel has a nice bar area with a decent lunch menu to peruse. You can find it at 52 London Road with a postcode of GU26 6AG for your sat navs.
The area is a great for dog walking with lots of wide woodland paths and countryside to explore. The outdoor section at the National Trust's cafe is also dog friendly with drinking bowls and doggy biscuits available from the visitor den.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
To the east of Gibbet Hill you will find the historical landmark known as the Temple of the Four Winds. The structure was built around 1910 by Viscount Pirrie, a leading Irish shipbuilder and businessman. Today there is sadly not much left of the temple, with just a stone floor marking where it stood. However, it is still a magnificent view point and well worth the climb.
About 2 miles south east of the car park you could pay a visit to Waggoners Wells. This is another worthy National Trust site which includes three ponds surrounded by peaceful woodland. It's a nice easy place to extend your outing if you have time.
Pictured above are Waggoners Wells. This tranquil beauty spot near the punch bowl makes a nice addition to your outing.
The delightful Frensham Ponds is a similar place and is also just a few miles away.
Thursley National Nature Reserve is located a couple of miles to the north and has miles of footpaths through heathland and woodland with a huge variety of wildlife.
For a shorter route across the common see the circular Hindhead Walk which starts from the same car park. It also features an interesting video with more information about the Sailor's Stone you will pass on your outing.
For more walking ideas in the area see the Surrey Walks page.