Serpent trail through Midhurst and Petworth given a ‘new lease of life’

A trail through a colourful habitat teeming with reptiles, amphibians and rare birds has been given an upgrade.

The 65-mile long Serpent Trail – so-called because of its resemblance to a snake on a map – has been re-routed to move parts of the trail on to more scenic paths.

The trail is now colour coded by direction so that walkers can follow the route from the head or tail and start from any point.

The trail snakes its way from Haslemere in Surrey, climbing up to its highest point in the National Park at Black Down, then weaving its way onward to Petersfield in Hampshire.

A sand lizard. The 65-mile long Serpent Trail across the South Downs has been upgraded and given a new lease of life by the National Park Authority. Picture: South Downs Park Authority

The route trails through Liphook, Milland, Fernhurst, Petworth, Fittleworth, Duncton, Heyshott, Midhurst, Stedham and Nyewood.

Olivia French, activities and engagement officer for Heathlands Reunited, said: “We’re excited to be reviving this beautiful trail and highlighting the threatened habitat which is actually as rare as the rainforest.

“The Serpent Trail is a fantastic opportunity to see some of the most magical and inspiring lowland heaths you’ll see anywhere in Europe. It’s obviously a very fragile habitat so we would always ask walkers to leave no trace, but we also want people to get out and enjoy this fantastic trail.

“By more people understanding and appreciating how amazing our heaths are, the more chance they have of surviving and flourishing.

“The trail connects two towns that are very accessible by train, so it’s a great way to explore the South Downs National Park and leave the car at home.”