START POINT - MIDHURST OR COWDRAY FARM SHOP
North Street Car Park or Cowdray Car Park .
Walk across the Causeway to Cowdray Castle and turn left onto the tamac road, then shortly after - about 200 yards - onto the unsurfaced estate road, and proceed to Easebourne with the polo fields to the right. You pass the Cowdray Farm Shop & Café on the left just before hitting the main Midhurst-Petworth Road. This is an ideal pit-stop or lunch place if you decide to do the route in reverse. There is also a free car park and you can start the walk here instead of from Mkdhurst North St Car Park.
Cross the Midhurst-Petworth Road and go up The Race – a permissive path – and after half a mile turn right onto the right of way – a footpath – across the Cowdray Golf Course. When you get to the highest point there appears to be no sign – its difficult to spot.
The path goes straight ahead through the long, buff-coloured grass to a point where it dives down between trees. You have crossed the golf course fairway.
After half a mile you reach a style on the left. Here you get the view of the Queen Elizabeth Oak in the picture. This tree is over 1000 years old - it still has a crown full of leaves - and accommodates fourteen people within its empty trunk. An amazing tree. Queen Elizabeth reputedly stood beneath its branches when she visited Cowdray Castle in 1591.
This secret valley in Cowdray Park gets visited by few people inspite of its proximity to the popular Benbow Pond only a half a mile away. Tree-lovers should note this valley has many old specimens worth serious study. Ask Cowdray’s permission if you want to go round this part of the estate. The estate office is in Easebourne.
The walk takes you within 200 yards of the oak and strikes uphill - Cowdray have recently planted a new avenue through which the Midhurst Way path goes - to trees where you follow the path round the field to where it intersects another public path going south towards Gosdensheath and the Midhurst-Petworth Road . Walk down this path to the intersction with the road to Lodsworth, follow the road for a few hundred yards, and then continue down a restricted byway where sign posted until you hit the main road. Cross over and continue down the lane past Moorland Barns to South Ambersham Bridge .
Turn right and follow the River Rother for a half a mile, then turn south across fields to join the lane - the view in the picture is from the other direction looking north towards the River Rother near South Ambersham Bridge: the path follows the tree line from the right - to Little Todham, Great Todham and, finally, Kennels Dairy Farm
The path then follows the line of the river to Wharf Cottage. Follow the path along the river to Cowdray Castle and then back across the Castle Causeway to Midhurst North Street Free Car Park.
An alternative to parking in North St is to go to the free Cowdray Car Park in Easebourne opposite the Priory - see picture - adjoning the Cowdray Farm Shop & Café aka Food Emporium. There are about 100 places. and the café is a good pit stop, especially if you're walking late and need refreshment (Open; Mon-Sat 9.0am - 6.0pm, Sunday 10am - 4.0pm. Xmas Period: special hours. Please enquire on 01730 815152)
Suggestion: arm yourself with Explorer Map 133 available from the Tourist Office or Nobbs the stationers in Haslemere. Don’t hurry this walk – it is special. You’ll need to allow 3-4 hours.
BENBOW POND WALK .
For those who just want to see the oak, enjoy the secret valley and Benbow Pond. Or alternatively walk to Lodsworth from Benbow to vist the Lodsworth Larder and the Hollist Arms we suggest you park your car at Benbow Pond. Circa 35 mins to reach Lodsworth. 10 minutes to reach the oak.
Alternative 1. Walk up the track towards the hill . There is a permissive path up hill to the tree line where you join the Midhurst Way to Lodsworth (part of the Queen Elizabeth Walk route), Keep walking east down the Lodsworth lane. You return the same way. It's about half a mile from where the path and lane intersect to Lodsworth. The Lodsworth Larder and Hollist are at the junction of this lane and the north-south road to Lickfold.
Alternative 2. From Benbow just follow the wide grassy track towards the hill, passing the five bar gate, continuing round to the left for 200 yards to the style on the right hand side. You are now on the Queen Elizabeth Oak Walk route. The path goes to the right of the shallow tree-lined pond. You can stop here, admire the oak, or continue on up the hill in an easterly direction. The views from the top looking towards the South Downs are incredible. You can then come down via the permissive path which passes close to Cowdray New Barn cottages to Benbow Pond.
Alternative 3. From the FREE car park at Cowdray in Easebourne - adjacent to the new Cowdray Farm Shop & Café aka Food Emporium - walk to Benbow Pond and back via The Race, Cowdray Golf Course and The Queen Elizabet Oak. Or, continue to Lodsworth and return the same way. Click for Ordinance Survey Map showing route to Lodsworth, part of The Midhurst Way Long Distance Path
THE ARBORETUM NOW OPEN
"The John Cowdray arboretum covers 16 acres at Benbow Pond, a popular stopping place for people travelling along the A272 and for families who enjoy feeding the pond's ducks, swans and other birdlife"
This is an ideal place for a picnic. There is a table and rustic seats at the centre of the arboretum with views down mown rides in five directions. It's reasonably quiet but the sound of traffic on the main road does intrude. To get total peace and quietness continue up the main ride away from Benbow Pond, over the brow of the hill and down the otherside. Both the hill and trees mask traffic sounds and you get wonderful views of Cowdray Park. We've listed 5 other excellent local picnic spots here - see links below.
[Midhurst Pages] [Index] [South Pond History] [South Pond Spring Clean 1] [South Pond Spring Clean 2] [South Downs National Park] [Cowdray Castle] [Doggy Day Out] [Dog Walks] [Queen Elizabeth Oak Walk] [H.G.Wells Walk] [Midhurst Way] [Midhurst Way Directions]
[Midhurst Way Maps] [Friends of Midhurst Network] [Buggy Pushchair Walks] [Haslemere-Midhurst Walk] [St Ann's Hill Picnic Spot] [South Pond Picnic Spot] [Woolbeding Picnic Spot] Cowdray Castle Picnic Spot] [Cowdray Park Picnic Spot] [Midhurst Empty Shops] [Midhurst River Walks & Woolbeding Parkland]