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Hampshire Map

At 271 metres (889 ft) high, Butser Hill is the highest point on the South Downs. It is also one of the most dramatic, surrounded on three sides by steep scarp faces with dramatic views.

Unfortunately it is bounded on the forth side by some very undramatic arable farmland, with only road walking available. This makes it difficult to to construct a walk of any length that doesn't involve some serious hill climbing.

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This 1½ mile (2.5 km) circular walk hugs the edge of the hill and, although it may be short, it more than makes up in quality what it lacks in quantity.

Standing on Butser Hill looking east, stretching away in front of you is the classic South Downs scenery: a steep scarp facing north over the clay lands of the Weald, whilst to the south the dip slope of undulating chalk hills heads towards the sea (or indeed into the sea at the eastern end).

Looking west from here, however, things are rather different: to the north the Winchester-East Meon Anticline replaces the clay lands with yet more undulating chalk, whilst to the south the Isle of Wight cuts off the view to the sea.

Although officially the South Downs end at St Catherine's Hill outside Winchester, in many ways Butser Hill is their spiritual end.