walk#9 – south downs views

Walk#9 - Magdalen Hill and Cheesefoot Head


We leave the city to the East, climb up St Giles Hill to take in some South Downs views. Winchester is at the western end of the South Downs National Park and the starting or end point of the South Downs Way. Walking along the top ridge of Magdalen Hill Down, a butterfly conservatory, down and through the village of Chilcomb, we ascend to Cheesefoot Head, a site of three natural amphitheaters. This walk is more challenging with multiple hills and a final ascent to Morestead Road before crossing the M3 again at Twyford Down and returning to the city centre.

More information on start and end point
Length: 14.8 km / 9.2 miles
Time: 3 hours 30 minutes at a swift pace + breaks
Difficulty: Moderate – 317 m total ascent

Click to view in OS Maps

Follow Will Walker on his walk from King Alfred, across St Giles Hill to Magdalen Down and up to Cheesefoot Head before returning back to Winchester city centre.

Experience an interactive 3D fly-through of this walk.

3D fly-through

This walk is almost as hilly as walk#12.

Highlights of walk#9

Green fields - Telegraph Hill Towards Farley Down
Telegraph Hill towards Farley Down
Moss on trees - Enchanting ancient woodland at Morestead Down
Enchanting ancient woodland at Morestead Down

This is a hilly walk will multiple ascents, but you will be rewarded with sweeping south downs views–here’s the height profile:

Walk 9 height profile

The most challenging part is to climb up to Cheesefoot Head toward the middle of the walk. It’s worth crossing the A272 to have a quick look at the site that has seen many music festivals. In the aerial photography view in OS Maps *, you can easily spot the remnants of a festival:

Screengrab from OS Maps showing small part of Cheesefoot Head festival site*

Sweeping South Downs views

View from Magdalen Hill
Magdalen Hill, view towards St Catherine’s Hill
south downs view across muddy field with tyre tracks
View from Cheesefoot Head to the South West

Around Chilcomb

trees in front of the hilly meadows
near Hillacre, just past Chilcomb village, going up towards Deacon Hill and the footpath crossing the firing range (below)
The route follows Morestead Road for a few hundred meters, be careful with cars as they

Cheesefoot Head

field, blue sky with clouds
Telegraph hill on left towards Cheesefoot Head
view from Cheesefoot Head over Matterly Bowl
Matterly Bowl, a natural amphitheatre
Cheesefoot Head Information Board
Cheesefoot Head Information Board, note that the Eisenhower picture before D-day was actually taken somewhere else
footpath in autumn with trees
Woodland at Cheesefoot Head

This walk is part of the 12 walks challenge. Photos were taken in April-December 2020.

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