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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Sunday First Walk - Surrey commons and canal

Extra Walk 214, Horsley to West Byfleet

Length: 15.4km (9.6 miles). Toughness: 3 out of 10

09:32 Guildford train from Waterloo (Clapham Junction 09:41, Wimbledon 09:48) arriving Horsley at 10:27.

Return trains from West Byfleet to Waterloo are are at xx:10 and xx:40. Buy an off-peak day return to Horsley.

This pleasant walk close to London is getting only its second outing today. It goes through green fields and woods, the yellow scrub and heathland of Ockham Common, Wisley Common and RHS Wisley Gardens, and a stretch of the Wey Navigation. The relatively early start will allow you to complete the long morning route (12.5km) in time to enjoy a leisurely late lunch at a canal-side pub, knowing you have less than an hour’s walking to do afterwards. The alternative early lunch pub requires a detour and would leave too much of the walk to be done on a short winter’s afternoon.

The recommended lunchtime pub is The Anchor at Pyrford Lock, Wisley (01932 342507).

More information and the walk directions can be found here. Please post any comments on this walk on the walk’s Feedback page.


Mike said...

As far as I'm aware the footpath closure in Paragraph 26 is still in place so unless you can walk on water you will need to detour. Someone needs to check the Woking Council website for this. There is an unnecessarily complicated alternative on their website which involves crossing the Wey navigation where you could walk along it and there is another more direct option which is not an official path, but you do need to have a map if the bridge is still not in situ!

Chris L said...

Thanks for alerting us to this issue, Mike. The temporary footpath closure order made by Surrey County Council (not Woking Council) in February 2014 has been extended to August 2016 (repairing an unsafe footbridge takes ages, doesn't it?).

Rather than follow the official diversion, or the slightly more direct unofficial option, both of which would add 15 minutes or so to an already long morning, a better bet would be to divert along a road well before reaching the closed footbridge.

At the end of para 22, where you come out to a road by the Wren's Nest car park, turn right on this road (Wisley Lane) instead of left. Go through the small village of Wisley and cross the River Wey at Wisley Bridge, ignoring the footpaths on the far side. Pass a sewage works on the right and ignore a footpath to the left just before the road bends sharply left. 80 metres beyond the bend take a footpath to the left. This wiggles around for about 800 metres and emerges at Pyrford Lock with the Anchor pub just to your right. This diversion cuts about 1km off the length of the walk and gets you to lunch a bit sooner than you were expecting. Hurrah!

JohnL said...

N=9, W=cloudy_but_very_mild (15 deg C). Good to get out into some fresh air and exercise after the holiday. Surprisingly remote feel to Oakham Common despite some background noise from the A3. Diversion works OK but paths/tracks across golf course no longer aligned with the OS map and are poorly signed. The Anchor has been (recently?) refurbished and was very welcoming and efficient. Only two of us eating and they found us a table despite it being a busy Sunday. Larger groups need to book unless eating outside. Food is good and affordable and a selection of ales.

Jon Combe said...

I tried to add this comment to the main walk but it didn't seem to work. I have raised a complaint with Surrey County Council over the lack of action on a repair, here is their response.

Further to your correspondence regarding the matter of the damaged bridge over the River Wey at the junction of the above public footpaths. I have been asked as the Senior Countryside Access Officer to respond to your complaint. This is in response to two replies from the Countryside Access Team explaining that we have been unable to secure the necessary funding to remove the old bridge and replace it with a new structure.

I appreciate and share your frustration that we have been unable to replace this bridge and obviously this is not how we would wish things to be. We recognise the value of this public footpath and would very much like to resolve this situation. I accept that it our statutory duty under Section 130 Highways Act 1980 to assert and protect the network and this bridge is a Surrey County Council structure. Perhaps it would be useful if I explained what we have been doing to resolve this problem. There are several challenges with this project. Firstly there is no vehicular access to this site with anything larger than a 4WD. Normally a bridge of this size would require a large crane or two smaller cranes to lift on and off the structure. Secondly, as the River Wey is a main river, we require a Flood Defence Consent from the Environment Agency which allows us to put in a bridge. The EA dictate such things as the height of the bridge and can also influence the design. In this instance they are requiring us to remove the artificial build out on the southern bank. This another engineering consideration and will also necessitate a bridge approximately 5 metres longer than the present one, making any new structure requiring a span of approximately 30 meters. Because of the dynamics of the river we are also required to pile footings for the new structure which will mean our trying to get a piling rig on site.

All of these elements, including any repair work to Wisley Golf Course if we need to access via that route, suggests a tentative estimate of approximately £300 000 to £400 000 to remove the old structure, dispose of it, purchase a replacement structure and install. To put this amount of money into context, the Countryside Access Budget for last year was approximately £570 000, which roughly equates to £260 per mile of path, to carry out all our maintenance requirements on the public rights of way network of footpaths, bridleways and byways in Surrey . We were required to make budget savings this year of approximately £100 000 and we expect a similar amount in the next financial year.

Obviously the Countryside Access budget cannot fund the replacement of this bridge and we have been making representations for additional capital funding for this project which have unfortunately to date been unsuccessful. We have however made the decision to instruct a engineering company to do the necessary soil sampling and investigative work and for them to suggest a plan with costings as to how to move forward. We had originally hoped to pay for this from the additional funds for the bridge that we had hoped to raise, but as this has not been possible we will try and find the money for the report from the Countryside Access budget as it is hoped that it will make our case stronger if we can definitely say how the works will be carried out and how we will access the site.

I apologise that this public footpath has been closed for so long but please be assured we have been and will continue to work on replacing this bridge and , of course, continue to make requests for the necessary capital funding. If you are unhappy with the decision reached at Stage 1 please contact our Customer Relations Team who will review the complaint and consider the need for a further investigation.