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Guildford and the River Wey

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Guildford and the River Wey
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 22 Aug 2012 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Guildford and the River Wey Walking Guidestar1 Guildford and the River Wey Walking Guidestar1 Guildford and the River Wey Walking Guidestar1 Guildford and the River Wey Walking Guidestar1 Guildford and the River Wey Walking Guide
Surrey, Guildford
Walk Type: Town or city
Guildford and the River Wey
Length: 2 miles,  Difficulty: boot Guildford and the River Wey Walking Guide
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A 2 mile circular walk from Guildford town centre taking in the beautiful centre of Surrey’s historic county town along with a surprisingly peaceful stretch of the River Wey. You’ll have chance to see Guildford’s famous cobbled High Street plus Guildford Castle along with the picturesque River Wey where on summer days you’ll see narrow boats, rowing boats and canoes all messing about on the river.

The walk is mainly flat with just a few gentle hills including the High Street itself. There are no stiles and just a couple of kissing gates plus a few steps. The surfaces are mainly well made tarmac paths but the stretch along the river and through the meadows can be muddy after wet weather. There are likely to be cattle grazing in Shalford Meadows so take care with dogs. The castle grounds are locked at dusk. There are public toilets at the start of the walk just behind the Cornmarket and plenty of places for refreshments within the town. Approximate time 1 hour.

The walk starts from outside the Cornmarket on the pedestrian High Street, right in the centre of Guildford. The Cornmarket can be found on the High Street where it meets Tunsgate. It is opposite the Guildhall with its large projecting clock which makes a good landmark to guide you. If you are coming by car there are many pay and display car parks within the town, the nearest one being Castle Street. If you are coming by train the rail station is about a 10 minute walk from the start of the walk.

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Walk Sections

Start to Town Bridge
Start to Town Bridge

Start point: 51.2357 lat, -0.5727 long
End point: 51.2349 lat, -0.5765 long

The walk starts on the High Street in Guildford, outside the Cornmarket and opposite the Guildhall. Stand facing the 14th century Guildhall with its imposing large clock which was added in 1683 and dominates the view on the High Street. Turn left heading downhill along the High Street passing by a whole range of retail outlets.

The High Street is often referred to as being cobbled, but in fact the surface is actually paved with granite setts.

Cross over the side road to continue all the way to the bottom of the hill where you will reach a T-junction with the main road. Cross over via the pedestrian crossing and you will have Debenhams directly in front of you. Turn right for a few paces and then turn immediately left to reach the town bridge.

Town Bridge to Millmead Lock
Town Bridge to Millmead Lock

Start point: 51.2349 lat, -0.5765 long
End point: 51.233 lat, -0.5751 long

The Town Bridge stands on the site of the ancient ford from which Guildford takes its name. The name is thought to derive from the Saxon term Gyldeford meaning golden ford, and it is believed that the term refers to the golden sand in the area. Around 1200 a stone bridge was built here by the monks of Waverley Abbey. The current bridge was rebuilt in 1983, reusing the arches from the previous bridge of 1902.

Cross over the bridge and then turn sharp left onto the path directly in front of the White House pub to reach the towpath. Swing right along the towpath passing under beautiful old willow trees with the river on the left. Continue ahead to the far end of the car park where you will reach a bridge on the left signed to the High Street. Cross over this bridge and ahead you will reach Millmead Lock.

Millmead Lock to Footbridge
Millmead Lock to Footbridge

Start point: 51.233 lat, -0.5751 long
End point: 51.2246 lat, -0.577 long

Turn right in front of the lock and follow the towpath with the river on the left. Cross over the small weir and pass Guildford boat house on the opposite bank. At the fork, take the right hand path and follow this to reach the sluice gate.

Turn right over the small bridge by the sluice gate and then follow the path alongside this tranquil stretch of the River Wey, with the river running to your left. On hot days you are likely to see canal boats, rowing boats and canoes all messing about on the river.

After some distance you will see a wooden footbridge appear ahead. Just before you reach it, look out on the right for a Victorian grotto which has been built around a beautiful natural spring. The spring waters run shallow and clear and give an excellent opportunity for a paddle on hot days.

Continue ahead and then use the footbridge to cross over the river.

Footbridge to Hockey Pitch
Footbridge to Hockey Pitch

Start point: 51.2246 lat, -0.577 long
End point: 51.2277 lat, -0.5732 long

Pass through the gate on the opposite side of the river and continue ahead on the path signed as the North Downs Way with the river on the left. After just a few yards where the main path bends right, keep ahead onto the minor path with the river still immediately on your left.

Pass through the kissing gate and into the open meadow (note there are likely to be cows grazing here). Take the path heading diagonally right across the meadow, veering away from the river. Cross over the drainage ditch via the sleeper bridge and continue in the same direction. Turn right out of the kissing gate to reach a hockey pitch ahead.

Hockey Pitch to Quarry Street
Hockey Pitch to Quarry Street

Start point: 51.2277 lat, -0.5732 long
End point: 51.2322 lat, -0.5731 long

Turn left to pass alongside the hockey pitch to reach a T-junction with a tarmac path just before the road. Turn left onto the footpath and follow this fenced path with the meadows across to the left.

Shalford Water Meadows were once lush farmland used to grow hay and graze cattle but they fell out of use and nature reclaimed them. Cattle are once again used now to maintain the area.

The path emerges to reach a T-junction with the main road. Turn left to follow the pavement passing the rowing club and then The Weyside pub on the left hand side. At the traffic lights cross right over the road and continue straight ahead into Quarry Street.

Quarry Street to End
Quarry Street to End

Start point: 51.2322 lat, -0.5731 long
End point: 51.2354 lat, -0.5719 long

Follow Quarry Street as it bends to the left. Just a few paces before you reach Guildford Museum on the right, turn right under the arch called Castle Arch. Fork left a few paces later and then turn left through the gates into the castle grounds.

As you enter the grounds fork right and then continue to swing left, keeping the castle on the left. You will reach the castle entrance on the left. Take time to explore the castle and grounds if you wish.

Guildford Castle almost certainly was built soon after the Norman conquest of 1066. It was mainly used as a royal residence although it did also play a part in warfare. The castle grounds include a life-size statue of Alice Through the Looking Glass as a memorial to Lewis Carroll who lived nearby in The Chestnuts from 1868 until he died in 1898.

With the entrance slope to the castle on your left, turn right to pass out through the gate of the grounds and then turn left along a short walled footpath to reach the T-junction with the road. Cross over into Tunsgate using the pedestrian bollards. At the end of Tunsgate you will reach the Cornmarket.

For most of Guildford’s history the market has been held on the High Street, as the town doesn’t have a market square. The Cornmarket’s sacks of grain needed cover from the rain and the Tunsgate Arch was built in 1818 for this purpose, with columns in the style of a Tuscan Temple.

Pass under the Tunsgate Arch to reach the High Street where you began your walk.

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network Guildford and the River Wey Walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2012 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


1 responses to "Guildford and the River Wey"

This is an enjoyable short walk. Despite starting from the town centre it is a peaceful route with a rural feel, and there is an excellent riverside Young's pub near the end to have lunch or a drink outside on a sunny day. But note that it is called The Weyside, not The Boatman Inn.

ADMIN RESPONSE: Hi Gavin, thank you for letting us know about the change of name for the pub, we have updated the guide accordingly. Thanks for helping us keep the iFootpath walking guides up to date.

By gavinsummers on 2016-08-17 17:08:48

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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