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Ducks and Hens: The Shere and Shamley Green Cafe Trail

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Ducks and Hens: The Shere and Shamley Green Cafe Trail
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 04 Nov 2013 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Ducks and Hens: The Shere and Shamley Green Cafe Trailstar1 Ducks and Hens: The Shere and Shamley Green Cafe Trailstar1 Ducks and Hens: The Shere and Shamley Green Cafe Trailstar1 Ducks and Hens: The Shere and Shamley Green Cafe Trailstar0 Ducks and Hens: The Shere and Shamley Green Cafe Trail
Surrey, Surrey Hills
Walk Type: Woodland
Ducks and Hens: The Shere and Shamley Green Cafe Trail
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot Ducks and Hens: The Shere and Shamley Green Cafe Trail boot Ducks and Hens: The Shere and Shamley Green Cafe Trail boot Ducks and Hens: The Shere and Shamley Green Cafe Trail
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A 5.5 mile linear walk from the Dabbling Duck Cafe in Shere to the Speckledy Hen Cafe in Shamley Green, Surrey. At these two sister cafes the welcome is warm and the food is a treat. If you time your walk correctly you’ll be able to have breakfast in Shere and then lunch in Shamley Green – a perfect day out. The walking route follows a lovely journey through the Albury Park Estate and Blackheath Forest, a large area of lowland heath and pine forest which is home to a wide range of wildlife.

NOTE: As this is a linear walk you will need to use two cars or arrange to travel by public transport – see the Getting There section for details. Whilst the Dabbling Duck is open seven days a week, the Speckledy Hen cafe is open Monday to Saturdays so you will need to make separate lunch arrangements on Sundays.

The route has several climbs and descents throughout. The paths through the heath, whilst firm for the most part, can get very muddy in the lower/shaded paths and bridleways so good boots are a must. There are several kissing gates to negotiate but no stiles. You are likely to come across several horse riders using the bridleways so take care with dogs. The paths within the heath/forest can be confusing so pay particular attention to the instructions (and we recommend using the live map via the App where possible). Allow 2.5 to 3 hours (plus extra time for the transport connections).

The walk starts from the Dabbling Duck cafe on Middle Street, Shere, GU5 9HF and finishes at the Speckledy Hen Cafe in Shamley Green, GU5 0UB. You will need to use two cars (leaving one car in Shamley Green, and then driving the other car to Shere to start the walk – use the village car park on Upper Street) or alternatively you can travel by public transport.

Both Shere and Shamley Green are served by Arriva bus services to Guildford. Make your way to Guildford Bus Station (by car or train) and then catch the Number 32 bus to Shere (Middle Street) which takes about 25 minutes. After your walk you will need to catch the Number 53 or 63 from outside the Red Lion back to Guildford (which takes about 20 minutes). The frequency of the bus services varies depending on the day of the week (being least frequent on Sundays) so check on the Arriva website before you travel. As an example, on Saturdays you could catch the 0920 or 1020 from Guildford to Shere and then for the return journey catch the 1550 or 1611 from Shamley Green back to Guildford. Please check the bus times for yourself before setting out.

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Walk Sections

Start to Park Road
Start to Park Road

Start point: 51.22 lat, -0.4646 long
End point: 51.2123 lat, -0.4757 long

Standing on Middle Street, facing the Dabbling Duck cafe, turn left down Middle Street and shortly you’ll pass the 1885 fire station on the right, now serving as public toilets. Keep ahead to cross over the River Tillingbourne, where you’ll see plenty more dabbling ducks, this time of the feathered variety.

Immediately after crossing the river, turn right along Lower Street, which runs alongside the river. Follow Lower Street which soon passes between a number of pretty old cottages including the half timbered Old Forge on the left. Ignore Orchard Road off to the left, simply keep straight ahead signed to the Ford. On the right you’ll pass the village allotments and immediately beyond these you’ll come to a junction of paths.

Go straight ahead through the gate to join the woodland track lined with lime trees, the old Lime Avenue. Where the lane narrows and swings left, keep ahead through the kissing gate to join a narrow stone path with the River Tillingbourne running on the right. The next kissing gate leads you out to another junction of paths. Go diagonally left here through another kissing gate to join a wide fenced track which climbs steadily through the Albury Estate.

Behind the fences each side you may see sheep and horses which graze the estate. Albury Estate predates the Doomsday Book and has changed hands several times over the years. In 1761, Albury Park hosted the coronation banquet for George III.

Towards the top the path narrows and passes between rows of old sweet chestnut trees. Beyond these, pass through a kissing gate to emerge to a T-junction with Park Road.

Park Road to Albury Cricket Field
Park Road to Albury Cricket Field

Start point: 51.2123 lat, -0.4757 long
End point: 51.2123 lat, -0.4845 long

Cross over with care and turn right along the wide grass verge. Soon you’ll be able to join a pavement/path passing in front of a handful of properties. Just after the wooden bus shelter, turn left into Heath Lane.

Ignore the first minor path into the woods on the right, simply continue on the main track. Opposite Warners Lane on the left, turn right along a wide grassy track, with the open area of Albury Heath to the left. The grass track becomes sandy and then, just before it swings hard left heading for benches, fork right onto a narrower heathland path. Just before you enter the trees ahead, take a moment to look behind you to enjoy the views across the rolling Surrey Hills.

Follow the path through the section of trees and you’ll emerge out to the point where Park Road meets New Road. Cross over New Road with care to take a (slightly hidden) path between holly bushes opposite. After just a few paces you’ll emerge out to Albury Cricket Field.

Albury Cricket Field to Blackheath Forest
Albury Cricket Field to Blackheath Forest

Start point: 51.2123 lat, -0.4845 long
End point: 51.2058 lat, -0.4966 long

Go straight ahead, heading directly for the brick pavilion. Pass just to the left of the pavilion and behind it you’ll come to a crossroads with a wider made-up track. Turn left along this. Follow this track heading steadily downhill and it soon leads you through a section of steep banks and beautiful old gnarled oak trees.

The track leads you under an arched railway bridge. A little further along, where the main track swings hard right, keep straight ahead on the narrower sandy path marked as a public bridleway. This leads you over a large stream and then on through a section between dense hedgerows.

The path climbs steadily into a section of pine forest and, at the edge of an area of mixed woodland, you will reach a major fork in the path (marked with a blue arrow waymarker post). This marks the start of Blackheath Forest.

Blackheath Forest to Forest Car Park
Blackheath Forest to Forest Car Park

Start point: 51.2058 lat, -0.4966 long
End point: 51.1932 lat, -0.4972 long

Keep right at the fork (on the path marked with the blue arrow) and then a few paces later keep right again on the path climbing more steeply (with the main sunken bridleway now down to your left).

Continue until the path emerges out to a wide level forest track. Turn left along this for just a few yards where you’ll reach a star junction of multiple paths. Take the second path on the right (at about 2 o’clock). When you reach a crossroads, turn left for a few yards and you will come to the next major crossroads with a wide forest track (marked with blue arrows in each direction). Go straight ahead here and follow the path as it crosses another wide heath track.

Blackheath is a landscape that has been heavily influenced by human activity. Bronze Age farmers cleared areas of forest for cultivation but where the soils were very thin and sandy, the nutrients were quickly lost. This resulted in a tree-less landscape inhabited with heather and gorse. During World War II the Canadian army were based on the common and livestock were excluded from the heath. This marked the end of a long period of grazing and the birch and pine seeds invaded the area. Woodland developed with the loss of 40% of valuable lowland heath since 1950. With the current management work, a number of areas have been restored to heathland. Parts of Blackheath are designated Sites of Specific Scientific Interest to protect ground nesting birds, butterflies, beetles, adders and some lizards.

Continue as the path narrows and enters another section of dense woodland. (Keep on the left hand fork to follow the high banks, avoiding the muddy sunken bridleway down to the right). Keep ahead as the path widens and begins to steadily climb. Keep straight ahead at the next crossroads and follow this wide bridleway as it continues to climb steadily. Over to the left you’ll pass a private property (the only obvious landmark for some time).

Continue for some distance and eventually the path swings right and then reaches a T-junction with another track. Turn left along this track and this will lead you out to the forest car park.

Forest Car Park to Woodhill Lane
Forest Car Park to Woodhill Lane

Start point: 51.1932 lat, -0.4972 long
End point: 51.1829 lat, -0.514 long

As you enter the car park, follow the right hand edge passing an old wooden notice board. Immediately after this, turn right onto a path heading back into the forest. After just a few hundred yards you’ll come to a junction of paths (with a gate visible a little way ahead).

Turn left and follow the path as it passes another gate on the right and passes between some wooden bollards. (This section can get very muddy, so you may need to make a short detour into the woods to avoid the worst of the mud). Continue on this bridleway with a fence running to the right.

After some distance you’ll pass a double vehicle gate on the left, a vehicle access point from the forest onto Farley Heath Road. Bear slightly right here to stay on the main bridleway. Continue along this, staying to the left of the main wooden fence. Soon a fence also begins on the left. The steep slope beyond this is the site of an old sand extraction pit.

Eventually you will emerge out into a fenced section between horse paddocks. Over to the right, you will have beautiful views across the Surrey Hills once again, a welcome sight after being enclosed in the dense forest for such a long stretch. A little further along more views open up to the left.

Immediately after passing the two large farm outbuildings on the right, turn left down the path with fenced horse paddocks to the left. Follow this path downhill to a T-junction at the bottom. Keep left here and continue as the path swings right and becomes a sunken wider track. This is an ancient lane known as Dibdene Lane. At the bottom of the ancient lane you’ll emerge to a T-junction with Woodhill Lane.

Woodhill Lane to End
Woodhill Lane to End

Start point: 51.1829 lat, -0.514 long
End point: 51.1846 lat, -0.5242 long

Turn left for just a few yards (taking care of any traffic) and then turn right through the entrance gates for Reel Hall (marked as a public footpath). Keep straight ahead on the tarmac drive passing the hall to the right and some old stables to the left.

Just beyond a double garage, ignore the footpath off to the left, simply keep right to continue on the main tree-lined tarmac drive. At the end of the line of trees (just after the gated entrance to Phoenix Cottage on the left), leave the tarmac drive to fork left onto a narrow fenced footpath with horse paddocks to the left and a tall hedge to the right.

Ignore the kissing gate off to the left, simply keep straight ahead on the narrow path heading steadily downhill. At the end of the horse paddock pass through the kissing gate and continue on the path with a garden fence to the left. (Take care as this section can be quite muddy). Follow this path as it zig-zags between properties and you will emerge out alongside The Malt House within Shamley Green.

Fork right down the short driveway to reach a quiet village lane. Cross over this and keep ahead in the same direction across the grass area. Continue across the next grass area also in the same direction (with the main road running over to the left) to reach the Speckledy Hen cafe for some well earned refreshments.

Remember...the best way of following our walking guides is to use the iFootpath App (iOS and Android) where you will have all the information in the palm of your hand and see your exact location on the live map as you travel. You can also add comments, photos, ratings and track your own routes.

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network Ducks and Hens: The Shere and Shamley Green Cafe Trail Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2013 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


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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