Backup Only

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

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Third Walk - Guildford Circular (via Albury Park)

Length: 24.9 km (15.5 mi)
Ascent/Descent: 486m; Net Walking Time: 6 hours
Toughness:  7/10
[to shorten the walk: start or finish at Shalford or Chilworth, for details see the webpage]                 
Take the 09.30 Portsmouth Harbour train from Waterloo (09.56 Woking), arrives Guildford 10.03.
From Clapham J take either the 09.22 stopping service (arrives Guildford 09.50) or the 09.27 to Woking, changing onto the 09.30 Waterloo departure.
There are four (fast) return trains per hour.

This walk was premiered a few years ago and I remember it as a very good walk through areas not touched by other Guildford walks. But since then “it was significantly changed”, to quote the author. So presumably it’s even better now…?

Here’s the summary to give you an idea of what to expect: “This circular walk explores the area to the south-east of Guildford. The landscape is exceptionally varied, with water meadows, valleys, woods, heathland, parkland and fine views from the contrasting chalk hills of the North Downs and the adjacent Greensand.
The walk leaves Guildford via Shalford Water Meadows alongside the River Wey Navigation, then heads east from Shalford up the valley of the River Tillingbourne. This was once an important industrial area and the route includes a heritage trail through the extensive ruins of the Chilworth Gunpowder Mills, the national importance of which is reflected in its status as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. An attractive stretch along the quiet valley of Law Brook (one of the river's tributaries) and across the small Albury Heath brings you to a lunchtime stop in the hamlet of Little London.
The route now heads north through Albury Park, designed by the English landscape pioneer John Evelyn. In 1819 the estate was acquired by the banker Henry Drummond, who built a new parish church in Albury and closed the old Saxon Church, now isolated in the private parkland but accessible to the public. At the same time he became one of the founder members of a new religious movement and built the neo-gothic Catholic Apostolic Church for it. The route then passes the crystal-clear waters of Silent Pool on its climb up the North Downs, where a stretch along the North Downs Way leads to a mid-afternoon refreshment stop at the Newlands Corner viewpoint.
The final section of the walk includes one more climb to another famous church with a long history, St Martha-on-the-Hill, perched on the side of the Greensand hills. A gradual descent through Chantry Wood leads back to the River Wey and Guildford. An alternative return route to Shalford (see below) takes in another historical site on the Tillingbourne, the 18thC Shalford Mill, now managed by the National Trust (open Wed & Sun, by guided tour only; last tour 4pm); admission (2015) is £2.75.”

Lunch is in Little London at the William IV (11.5 km/7.2 mi, food to 14.00).
For tea, a mid-afternoon break at the Newlands Corner viewpoint (5¼ km after Little London) is possible. At the end of the walk there are many tea places in Guildford, Bill’s and Coffee Culture seem to be the preferred options (see the webpage for details).

For summary, map, height profile, photos, walk directions/options and gpx/kml files click here.


Anonymous said...

There's nowhere suitable for sandwich eaters to sit in the vicinity of the pub so if bringing your own lunch it's best to stop before or after Little London.

Thomas G said...

15 met at G'ford station, 1 caught us at lunch, having missed the posted train, 4 started from Chilworth, which makes n=20 walkers in mostly dry weather, but with w=selected-showers.
There are a couple of (admitted but unavoidable) dreary stretches in the morning (through Shalford and along the railway line), the rest is just a very good walk, in any weather, I would think: a long stretch through otherwise uncovered-by-the-SWC paths in the Wey Meadows, The Wey River, the Tilling Bourne, many streams and catchwaters, an interesting and well info-panelled historic site, some fine views (to and - later - from the North Downs) and plenty of mixed woods.
Plenty of traffic on the footpaths (incl. several cyclists, undeterred by stiles and kissing gates), but overall some very peaceful scenery.
The William the IV pub had just lost its 'new' chef (and some support staff), so was only serving sandwiches, but they went down well, with everyone sitting outside.
It's such a nice location that even the (non-pub) sandwichers waited for the main group before moving on.
Through the beautiful Albury Park and up the North Downs (with a new 'tea stop' discovered just off-route: a vineyard offering wine tastings (apparently only measly portions though)).
One of the few showers started just as we arrived at Newland's Corner, so 12 of us waited out the rain in The Squirrel Cafe.
The Chilworth starters then went back down from St. Martha to whence they came and the rest arrived in Guildford in drips and drabs around 5 o'clock.
Off to The Keep pub by the Castle for 7 of us, 4 of which then added The Kings Head to their route.
A very fine walk.