Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club located in the Hampshire South Downs

Matterley Bowl


A clean U-shaped bowl with a long, wooded eastern flank and a smaller copse in the centre of the bowl.

Because Matterley Bowl is within Southampton airspace, there are strict rules for it’s use. This is members-only site and should only be flown once a site induction has been attended, or in the company of a pilot who is familiar with the procedures.

A gentle site for ridge lift, being smooth and fairly shallow. However, it is unlikely to tolerate a great range of wind direction. In stronger wind there is some venturi effect due to the shape of the bowl. Good thermal potential, especially with the high ground immediately downwind. However, cross-country flights are difficult, (see AIRSPACE below). The site is likely to be influenced by sea-breezes on light-wind days as the top of Southampton Water is only 12 miles downwind. The top landing area is restrictive for hang gliders. A bottom landing (if crops permit) and walk out may be preferable. At the present time there is no vehicle access in to the bottom fields. Paragliders will find the hilltop and slope straightforward for launch and landing. There are no bushes or fences to negotiate, but be mindful of the many rabbit burrows and steel posts. A useful site in light conditions for top-to-bottom flights, involving a relatively short carry up.


Travelling south-east from Winchester to West Meon on the A272, Matterley Bowl can be seen on the left (east) side of the main road which runs uphill along its western flank. On reaching the top of the climb, (Cheesefoot Head) turn left into the small public car park. (If approaching from Petersfield on the A272, Cheesefoot Head is 4 miles after passing through Cheriton.)

The site may be used throughout the week, (weekdays and weekends) subject to the conditions detailed below. There may be restrictions throughout the year when other events and sporting interests take precedence. The site will be closed during the winter, 1st October to 1st February due to game shooting, and for approx. 4-weeks during August when the Boomtown Festival is set up and takes place.


Park tidily in the restricted parking area. This is a popular spot for walkers and is very busy. Drive and park considerately. DO NOT LEAVE ANY VALUABLES IN THE CAR; the area is known for vehicle break-ins. Carry equipment along the footpath, parallel to the main road, to the finger post for the South Downs Way. One option is to head east along the footpath. A little further on your left is an access point in the fencing where a temporary gate can be unhooked. ENSURE THE GATE IS HOOKED BACK UP ONCE YOU HAVE ACCESSED THE FIELD. Alternatively, continue along the verge a little further until you reach a locked gate. Lift equipment over; use extreme care when climbing the gate, (do so closest to the hinges).


Location LAT/LNG

51.046672 / -1.246606

Grid Reference

SU 528 278

What 3 Words

windmill cute heats

HG Pilot Requirements


PG Pilot Requirements


Wind Direction

350 to 020 degrees



160m (525ft)

Top To Bottom

40m (131ft)

Nearest Phone

Holiday Inn, Winchester near the junction of the A31 and A272.

Related files

OS Map

Site OS Map Click to open

OS Map

Site OS Map Click to open


Site Rules

  1. All pilots must be full members of the Sky Surfing Club and the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association. This is a Strictly Member’s Only site.
  2. The Daily Check MUST be completed BEFORE any flying can commence.
  3. At least one Person in Charge (PIC) must remain on the ground whilst flying activity is taking place. The PIC will need to possess: • Mobile 'phone registered for the Skype call forwarding facility • Signalling whistle, e.g. twin-tube outdoor safety/distress whistle • Red flags
  4. All cars must be parked in the public Car Park - and nowhere else.
  5. No dogs permitted on-site.


The site works best in stronger winds - but under these conditions it can be rough. There is very little get-out downwind if blown back or dragged. Do not fly when top-end unless you are current and experienced in high-wind launches.

There is a line of steel posts along the track in the vicinity of the launch area, on both sides of the copse. Similarly there are posts in the top landing area nearest the A272, about 40m from the road.


The site is situated just within the northern boundary of Southampton CTR and is very close to the approach/departure route for Southampton Airport - just 8 miles to the south.
A Letter of Agreement (LoA) exists with Southampton ATC to fly within the CTR.


Flying activity is restricted to a defined block of airspace denoted as the Cheesefoot Head Box (CHB). The CHB places horizontal boundaries and vertical limits, (1,500ft altitude) on flying activity. However, there is the potential for XC flights if a cross-wind track is taken to the E - NE, effectively exiting Southampton CTR. (Be mindful that Solent CTA still imposes an immediate altitude ceiling of 2,000ft.)


Set up and launch on the hilltop, either side of the small wooded area in the centre of the bowl, depending on the wind direction.


The hill and surrounding fields are privately owned, and permission to fly is dependent on ALL pilots demonstrating the utmost respect for the local environment. Sections of the site are designated a SSSI, and the South Downs Way runs close by.

The entire area is situated within the South Downs National Park. The site is particularly sensitive because of its public visibility; pilots should consider themselves to be under close scrutiny at all times. There will be increased public interest while flying is taking place. Pilots should ensure that onlookers do not climb fences or enter the top field. If the level of interest becomes significant, all flying should cease until the situation can be readily managed.

Flying may also have to be suspended periodically if excessive public attention causes any traffic congestion on the adjoining A272 main road.

Great care should be taken not to disturb local livestock or game birds; give full consideration to the wildlife at all times.

The area is subject to considerable use by walkers, and some of the fencing suffers abuse as a result. Avoid damage to already weakened fence lines by crossing through or over, (not climbing) wherever possible. The fields below are cropped or grazed; they may only be used with the farmer’s permission. Various events are organised that utilise the entire bowl and the site may be inaccessible during these periods.