A to Z search:

Serpent Trail

Serpent Trail

The name of the trail reflects the serpentine shape of the route which snakes for 64 miles (108 km) through the beautiful heathland landscapes of West Sussex. Waymarked by Serpent Trail discs, the route showcases the work of the Sussex Wealden Greensand Heaths Project and highlights the outstanding landscape of the greensand hills.


Starting with the serpent's 'tongue' in Haslemere High Street, the route leads to the 'head' at Black Down, West Sussex. From there the 'body' turns west and east again along the greensand ridges. The trail 'snakes' by Liphook, Milland, Fernhurst, Petworth, Fittleworth, Duncton, Heyshott, Midhurst, Stedham and Nyewood to finally reach the serpent's 'tail' at Petersfield.

For use by

Access to the trail is granted to walkers. The trail uses public rights of way, private permissive routes and a few quiet roads which link much of the access land in this area.

Nearest towns

In West Sussex the trail 'snakes' by Petworth and Midhurst.


The Serpent Trail has been set up by the Sussex Greensand Heaths Project. This project is working to restore and recreate rare heathland across the Greensand area. The Serpent Trail was specifically designed to enable people to link together all these rare heathland areas on a long distance route. As well as reflecting the serpentine shape of the route, the name recognises that heaths are the major habitat for Britain's native rare reptiles.

Average time to complete

People who are reasonably fit can do 12-15 miles (20 km) per day. At this rate, it takes about 4 days to walk the whole route. The official guide has been divided into 16 short easy to follow stages complete with a map for each stage, based upon 2005 Ordnance Survey material.

  • 1. Blackdown 7 miles (11.3 km)
  • 2. Marley and Lynchmere Commons 4 miles (6.5 km)
  • 3. Iron Hill and Chapel Common 3.5 miles (5.6 km)
  • 4. Rake to Tullcombe 3.8 miles (6.2 km)
  • 5. Borden and Titty Hill 2.8 miles (4.5 km)
  • 6. Woolbeding and Henley 4.8 miles (7.8 km)
  • 7. Bexley Hill and River Common 3.9 miles (6.3 km)
  • 8. Petworth 4.2 miles (6.8 km)
  • 9. Flexham and Fittleworth 3.1 miles (5 km)
  • 10. Hesworth Common and Lord's Piece 3.9 miles (6.3 km)
  • 11. Burton Park 3.4 miles (5.5 km)
  • 12. Lavington and Heyshott Commons 5.9 miles (9.5km)
  • 13. Midhurst 3.8 miles (6.2 km)
  • 14. Iping and Stedham Commons 2.4 miles (3.8 km)
  • 15. Dumpford and Nyewood 4 miles (6.5 km)
  • 16. Petersfield 2.5 miles (4.1 km)


For details of places to visit, go to Visit Sussex


The Serpent Trail is well served by public transport. For general information and latest ticket deals visit South Downs National Park Authority online.

  • By road: The AA
  • By rail: National Rail Enquiries Phone: 08457 484950 - Waterloo, Haslemere, Liss, Liphook, Petersfield, Havant, Southampton, Victoria, Pulborough, Chichester and Portsmouth
  • By bus: Surrey and North Hants (0845 121 0180) and Hants and West Sussex (0845 121 0170). Also visit the Stagecoach UK Bus website.

For details of other public transport options, visit our public transport pages, or call Traveline on: 0871 200 22 33.


Information about useful leaflets, booklets and maps is available from the Long Distance Walkers Association’s website. You can also visit the iMap to see details of the route.

Other useful information

  • The Serpent trail passes through a number of National Trust sites including Black Down, Marley Common, Woolbeding Common and Lavington Common. Visit the National Trust for more information.

  • The Sussex Wildlife Trust (SWT) works on several heaths to restore and recreate heathland on the greensand. SWT sites on the route include Stedham Common, parts of Iping Common, Burton and Chingford Ponds and The Mens. Visit Sussex Wildlife Trust for more information.

  • The Serpent Trail would not exist if it wasn't for the hard work and dedication of the heathland volunteers.

  • Where you see the open access symbol you can leave the trail and walk, sightsee, picnic, watch wildlife, run or climb within the mapped area. Access helpline: 0845 100 3298 or visit Natural England or South Downs National Park Authority website.

Share this page (third party services may set cookies)

© Copyright 2014 West Sussex County Council, County Hall, Chichester PO19 1RQ.

  • Bengali
  • Hindi
  • Punjabi
  • Urdu
  • Pashto
  • Gujarati

Privacy policy | Disclaimer | Site map
Site implementation by Unified Solutions Logo Unified Solutions Ltd