A jewel in the crown
Posted: 30th June 2016
Encircled by the stunning patchwork quilt and rolling hills of the South Downs, the idyllic village of South Harting is the epitome of the beautiful south…
Beautiful Georgian buildings line the High Street as it winds its way past the church of St Mary and St Gabriel, leading on to the steep slope towards Uppark.
Perched on its vantage point high on the South Downs ridge, Uppark commands views as far south as the English Channel. Outside, the intimate gardens are being gradually restored to their original 18th-century design, with plenty of space in the adjacent meadow to play and relax with a picnic.
Uppark’s Georgian interiors illustrate the comfort of life ‘upstairs’, in contrast with the grim ‘downstairs’ world of the servants, and a highlight of the collection is one of the best examples of a 17th century doll's house in the country.
Iconic author HG Wells spent part of his boyhood at Uppark, where his mother, Sarah, was housekeeper between 1880 and 1893.
Devastated by a fire in 1989, Uppark has been painstakingly restored by the National Trust and returned to its former glory.
Overlooking South Harting, Harting Down is one of the largest areas of ancient chalk downland cared for by the National Trust – a tapestry of pristine downland blends beautifully with scattered scrub and woodland.
Experience a sense of timelessness where sheep have grazed for thousands of years. When you reach the brows of the hilltops you are greeted by views north across the Weald and south to the Isle of Wight.
Of historical interest is an Iron Age hill fort and cross-ridge dykes, and the remains of a Napoleonic war telegraph station can be found on Beacon Hill - the highest point on Harting Down.
Back in the village itself, The White Hart is a fine old village pub, sensitively restored to retain the building’s character and charm.
And in the summer months, pay a visit to Harting Cricket Club to witness this quintessentially British sport played out in the perfect location.
A stone’s throw from Petersfield, and within touching distance of Chichester, South Harting truly is a jewel in the South Downs’ crown.