I love dogs, but we don’t own a dog.  We have a rather lovely cat called Happy, who would be unhappy if we got a dog.  Thankfully I have friends who have dogs and they invite me to join them on their doggy rambles.  Which is how I came to be on a Devil’s Punch Bowl dog walk.  Walking along the A3, well sort of. Before 2011 the A3 narrowed down to a single carriage way and snaked its way along the rim of the Devil’s Punch Bowl, this led to loooong tailbacks, then a tunnel was dug leaving cars free to whoosh on past to Portsmouth.  Once the Hindhead tunnel was open the old road was dug up, six years down the line it is hard to believe that this used to be the main Portsmouth – London road.

Devils Punch Bowl Hindhead Surrey route of old A3

You don’t have to have a dog to walk here but we would have been the only people sat outside the National Trust Devil’s Punch Bowl cafe without one.  The National Trust have waymarked six walks over Hindhead Commons and the Devil’s Punch Bowl ranging from a short stroll to a six mile hike up and down some pretty steep slopes.  We set off following the Hidden Hindhead Trail, but chatted too much missed the signs and lost the trail.  No matter we found our way back with time for a coffee and had so great views over the Punch Bowl itself.

Devils Punch Bowl Hindhead Surrey walk


Good question and one to which there are several answers.  One version has it that the Devil was angry that so many churches were being built in Sussex so he set about building a channel to the sea that would flood the area, his handy work is now known as Devil’s Dyke behind Brighton.  When he got the village of Poynings he was disturbed by a cock crowing and assuming that dawn was about to break he leapt into Surrey and created the Devil’s Punch Bowl.  Or if you would prefer the Devil liked to hurl lumps of earth at the god Thor (the nearby village of Thursday means Thor’s Place); the Punch Bowl is the indentation left when Devil scooped out a handful of earth.  Another tale doesn’t involve the Devil but a pair of battling giants.  One giant scooped up a fistful of earth to chuck at the other creating the Punch Bowl and hurled it at the other, he missed and the land became the Isle of Wight.


Modern Geologists have an all together more rational explanation. The geology of the Surrey Sussex border is one of sandstone standing on top of a clay layer, it is probable that underground springs led to the erosion of the bowl shaped depression.Devils Punch Bowl Old A3



  • London Road, Hindhead, Surrey GU26 6AB
  • National Trust car park is open dawn to dusk, £4 or free to National Trust members
  • National Trust cafe open daily 9am – 5pm
  • Toilets open when the cafe is open.
  • Dogs are welcome but may need to be on the lead when birds are breeding or livestock are grazing

Did you get out and about in the sunshine this week?



    • April 22, 2018 / 6:43 am

      It is, not the Surrey that I imagined before I moved there!

  1. April 22, 2018 / 12:37 am

    So interesting to find out more about it. It does look like a beautiful place to walk

  2. April 22, 2018 / 12:38 am

    I used to drive the old road occasionally and while I knew about the new one replacing it I had no idea it had been closed altogether. I certainly wouldn’t miss the traffic and I guess the upside is it now allows for a pleasant walk.

    • April 22, 2018 / 6:42 am

      Hindhead is a place transformed

  3. April 22, 2018 / 12:46 am

    We’ve got some dog jogs and many pooch parties but yours sounds like a wonderful trail. I like the explanation of the devil throwing dirt clumps at Thor.

    • April 22, 2018 / 6:41 am

      I like the mash up of Norse and Christian belief in that one

  4. April 22, 2018 / 6:27 am

    Hi Catherine, I much prefer the ‘fictional’ ways Devils Punch Bowl may have got it’s name, they are much more fun. It does look a lovely area to walk.


    • April 22, 2018 / 6:39 am

      It is beautiful, still trying to get my head round the fact that we were walking along the road in which I have spent many hours in traffic jams!

  5. April 22, 2018 / 6:48 am

    What a fantastic place. I’m sure we stopped there on a school trip once, although I only remember the name and not much else about it. Glad you got to share a dog so you weren’t left out :) #MySundayPhoto

    • April 22, 2018 / 6:58 am

      Lucky you we only ever used to get to stop at Red Lodge or Baldock!

  6. April 22, 2018 / 7:24 am

    I have been tot the edge of the Devil’s Punchbowl on one occasion. Your images definitely do it justice Catherine. Loving the explanations although I will go with sandstone on clay. Seems that tiny bit more feasible!

    • April 22, 2018 / 7:34 am

      Maybe but I’m pretty sure those giants were hurling boulders and thunderbolts in North Surrey last night

  7. April 22, 2018 / 9:12 am

    A lovely place to walk and enjoy the views. I think I might give it a visit

    Thank you for linking up to #MySundayPhoto

    • April 22, 2018 / 9:14 am

      You could go via the Devil’s Dyke!

  8. April 22, 2018 / 8:33 pm

    Some good views on that walk. It’s funny how dog ownership has become so widespread. We don’t have one either. #mysundayphoto

  9. April 25, 2018 / 11:17 am

    What a beautiful dog walk. That looks like a wonderful place to visit and walk about. Gorgeous views xx

  10. November 15, 2018 / 10:24 am

    I love all the ancient legends trying to make sense of unusual landscapes. Wonder why they’re so often blamed on dark forces when they are such beautiful areas? Sounds like a lovely walk out with your dog friends! Does your cat travel? We’ve just got a rescue kitten and a friend is suggesting we buy it a harness for our outdoor lifestyle… doesn’t seem right to me though! #farawayfiles

    • November 15, 2018 / 10:32 am

      My cat likes to travel only when he is in charge, if it involves his sumptuous cat carrier he is uninterested!

      • November 15, 2018 / 10:38 am

        It might be something we have to try. I think the little kitty might enjoy riding in our camper though she’s already giving us the impression she likes to be in charge too!

  11. Love the Viking influence on local lore – says the girl who lives in Scandinavia! Actually though, when I first read “Devil’s Punchbowl” I thought of a spot on the Oregon Coast where the water churns in the rocks. This looks slightly more idyllic and safe! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles

  12. November 15, 2018 / 9:14 pm

    We are allergic to dogs in out family, but my younger son loves to walk other people’s dogs, so he would love this! I much prefer the legends to the science. A lot more fun to think of the devil hurling a giant scoop of earth at Thor! #farawayfiles

    • November 15, 2018 / 9:45 pm

      Walking other people’s dogs is the best of both worlds. You get to be outside with a purpose, have no poop to scoop and get to wave goodbye to the hound at the end!

  13. November 15, 2018 / 10:39 pm

    Hmm, interesting stuff! We had a walk ourselves this week, sans-dog I might add, to the limestone way in Derbyshire Dales which was equally as interesting from a geological point of view. My calf muscles are still burning ;) #farawayflies

    • November 15, 2018 / 11:02 pm

      Nice, we’ve walked the Dovedale part in the past… also sans dog

    • November 27, 2018 / 12:14 pm

      I’m a sucker for a naming myth!

  14. Jane Ayres
    December 28, 2019 / 1:28 pm

    One of our dog walks when I lived in Surrey but never knew how it got its name

    • December 28, 2019 / 4:08 pm

      Happy to be of service 😉

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