I try as often as possible to go for long walks with my boys – the furry four-footed version – and have started to record the routes on my phone. I got the app to allow me to pinpoint where I am, to stop me getting in a bit of a panic how to get back to the car. But all I ever see is a little red arrow showing me where I am but with no background to point me in the right direction! But the app does at least allow me to record my walk in the minutest details – my speed, resting time, how many metres climbed etc and now I have them all stored on Google Maps. I just have to work out how to link them to this blog!
I have done this walk twice now – the first time was in thick fog so I didn’t manage to see Telegraph House at all. The second time over Christmas the weather was fine but I still couldn’t see much of the house! The whole walk takes about an hour and half. It loops from St Mary’s Church North Marden up to the South Downs Way via Telegraph House and then drops back down towards Uppark before returning to the ancient church where there’s plenty of space to park.
I was intrigued to find out a bit more about Telegraph House having driven past the sign to it for many years. During the Napoleonic Wars a shutter telegraph chain was created in order to allow the Admiralty in London to communicate with its naval ships in Portsmouth and Plymouth. The stations contructed on high land, were simple wooden huts with a tower . Visual signals would be relayed to the next station by means of pivoting shutters attached to the tower. One of these stations was on the site of the present day Telegraph House or maybe just a little further to the west at Beacon Hill, Harting. At the end of the wars the Admiralty decided to establish a permanent link with Portsmouth and so built a chain of semaphore stations operational between 1822 and 1847, after which they became obsolete with improved rail and electric telegraphic communication.
The southern route of the stations was as follows: Hastle Hill, Haslemere – Holder Hill, Midhurst – Beacon Hill – Compton Down – Camp Down – Lumps Fort ( Southsea) – Portsmouth Dockyard. I have just looked at these locations on a map and found that many of them still provide reminders of their important role in the safety of our country!
The rest of the walk is really varied with beautiful views to the sea and sweeping chalk heathland as well as varied species woodland