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The Refectory and Milford Common

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The Refectory and Milford Common
Author: Pub Walker, Published: 15 Nov 2013 Walk rating : Rating:star1 The Refectory and Milford Common - pub walkstar1 The Refectory and Milford Common - pub walkstar1 The Refectory and Milford Common - pub walkstar0 The Refectory and Milford Common - pub walkstar0 The Refectory and Milford Common - pub walk
Surrey, Godalming
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
The Refectory and Milford Common
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot The Refectory and Milford Common - pub walk
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A 4 mile circular pub walk from the Refectory in Milford near Godalming in Surrey. The Refectory was originally a cattle barn but is now a wonderful pub full of ancient wooden beams and stained glass. There are open fires to keep you warm in the winter and a lovely sunny terrace to enjoy in the warmer months. The walking route heads out through the village of Milford to explore the nearby open spaces of Moushill Common and Milford Common before returning along residential roads.

The walk is relatively flat with just a couple of gentle slopes. There are no gates, stiles or steps to negotiate. The route follows a mixture of tarmac pavements, quiet wide made-up lanes and tracks and some narrower sandy paths within the commons. All of these paths are fairly firm although the common paths can get a bit muddy in the winter and after periods of rain. (Some areas of the common are grazed by Highland Cattle for conservation for parts of the year so take care with dogs if you see signs of this). Allow 1.5 to 2 hours.

Milford is located south west of Godalming in Surrey. The walk starts and finishes from the Refectory on Portsmouth Road. Approximate post code GU8 5HJ. The pub has its own large car park. If this is very busy, there is also a pay and display car park on the corner of Station Lane and Church Road (just a few hundred yards from the pub).

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Walk Sections

Start to Lower Moushill Lane
Start to Lower Moushill Lane

Start point: 51.1721 lat, -0.6389 long
End point: 51.1724 lat, -0.6517 long

Leave the pub car park back to the main road. Cross over with care and turn left along the pavement passing in front of the Refectory. The history of the pub building is not clear, but it may have begun life as a farm barn, used to house cattle. By the 1950s it was used as a tea room before becoming an antiques emporium. The building and its contents were bequeathed to the National Trust, which auctioned it off in 1988, from when it became it pub.

Next on the left you’ll pass the impressive Milford House. Milford House was built in 1730 for Thomas Smith and his family, who were a very prosperous family from trade and who owned a number of properties throughout Surrey and Sussex. After the war the house became a hotel. In the early hours of New Year 1983, Milford House Hotel was severely damaged by fire. The roof, 18th century interiors, entrance hall, vaulted basement and ornate staircase were all destroyed, leaving only a brick and stone shell. The shell remained a local eyesore until recently, when the ruin was converted into town houses and apartments.

At the mini-roundabout follow the pavement to bear right, signed to Guildford and the A3. Continue along this road passing between the large detached properties within the heart of Milford village. You will pass the village hall, post office and several shops. Before you reach the next major road junction, you will need to cross over to continue along the left-hand pavement.

As you reach the junction with traffic lights, cross over to the right (with care) and keep ahead for about 100 yards to reach a pedestrian crossing over the main road. Cross over this (with a petrol station just to your right) and at the far side turn left (walking back the way you came). Cross over the side road (Elstead Road) and you will pass the road from where you emerged over to the left. After about 100 yards, turn right into the small side road, Lower Moushill Lane.

Lower Moushill Lane to Moushill Corner
Lower Moushill Lane to Moushill Corner

Start point: 51.1724 lat, -0.6517 long
End point: 51.1685 lat, -0.6651 long

Keep straight ahead along this quiet green residential lane, taking care of any occasional traffic. A little way in you’ll pass the impressive Moushill Court on the left. Stay on the main lane ignoring the footpaths off to the left and right. The lane climbs steadily, passes the appropriately named house, Chimneys, with its ornate brick stacks, and then leads you across the bridge over the A3.

At the far side of the bridge keep ahead on the main tarmac lane passing between a few more properties. Ignore the small footpaths off into the woods to the left. At the fork, keep left, still staying on the main tarmac lane. Continue as the lane swings steadily left. The open area to the left is Moushill Down, part of Rodborough Common.

Moushill Down and Rodborough Common are managed by the Surrey Wildlife Trust. The mix of woodland, grassland and heath are home to a diverse range of species including grass snakes, grass lizards and green woodpeckers.

You will pass a single impressive property on the right, Kennel Moor. Follow the bridleway until you reach a junction of paths with the gates to Moushill Corner directly ahead.

Moushill Corner to Milford Common
Moushill Corner to Milford Common

Start point: 51.1685 lat, -0.6651 long
End point: 51.1669 lat, -0.6574 long

You will see two paths to the left of the gates of Moushill Corner. Take the left-hand of these two, marked with a green arrow for part of the Wildlife Trust Self-Guided Trail. Follow this stoney vehicle track passing through the centre of the common. You will emerge out to the large sandy parking area within Moushill Down.

Keep ahead, walking the length of the car park. At the far end you’ll see a vehicle barrier. Take the main vehicle exit lane, which is just to the right of this vehicle barrier. Follow this track downhill and it will lead you through a tunnel under the A3. Continue on the vehicle access lane and you’ll pass under a height restriction barrier to reach a T-junction to a road which feeds the A3.

Cross over this with extreme care to take the woodland track directly opposite. After just a short distance you’ll come to a T-junction with another lane, with properties opposite. Turn right along this lane. As the properties on the left end, you’ll pass a fenced pumping station on the right, marking the beginning of Milford Common.

Milford Common to Common Car Park
Milford Common to Common Car Park

Start point: 51.1669 lat, -0.6574 long
End point: 51.164 lat, -0.6564 long

(Note: here you have the option to take a short cut should you wish, which leaves out the loop on smaller paths through Milford Common, cutting off about three quarters of a mile. To do this just follow the lane as it swings left until you reach a T-junction with the main road. Turn left along the pavement and pick up the instructions within the next section where marked).

For the full walk, where the main lane swings left, fork right onto a footpath which heads into the common. After just a short distance you’ll come to a T-junction of paths. Turn right here and follow the permissive bridleway as it passes the back of the pumping station. At the end of the pumping station keep ahead to merge with the wider vehicle lane. Just before you reach the vehicle barrier ahead, turn left and then fork left to join the signed permissive bridleway which runs along the edge of the common.

Keep straight ahead at the first small junction of paths. At the next fork, keep right, still signed as the bridleway. You will emerge to an obvious T-junction. (The bridleway is marked to the right here but this is the point where you leave it). Turn left and stay on the main path as it swings slightly right and you will emerge to a major junction of paths. Turn (fairly sharp) left here. Follow this long straight path until you reach the next crossroads.

Milford Common forms part of the larger Site of Special Scientific Interest, Witley and Milford Commons. The land has been occupied since the Bronze Age and features burial mounds which have been dated to this period. It has been used as common land for many generations, particularly for grazing, turf cutting and iron workings. Today it is managed by the National Trust and the mixture of woodland and heath is home to many rare species including the Dartford Warbler and Sand Lizards.

At the crossroads, turn right, and then at the next staggered crossroads, bear left, passing between a few old oak trees, with the open heath and main road across to the right. You will reach the Milford Common car park.

Common Car Park to End
Common Car Park to End

Start point: 51.164 lat, -0.6564 long
End point: 51.1724 lat, -0.6388 long

Leave the car park via the vehicle exit to reach the road. Turn left along the pavement and you will pass Milford Cemetery on the left. You will pass the village boundary signs and cross over the side road, Sandy Lane.

(Note: If you have taken the short cut pick up the instructions from this point).

Follow the pavement for some distance, passing the football and cricket ground to the right along the way. You will reach a roundabout where you need to go straight ahead, on the road signed to Godalming. It is easiest to do this following the paths around the left-hand edge of the roundabout.

Continue on the pavement along Church Road. On the left you’ll pass the Church of St John the Evangelist. The churchyard contains a large stone mausoleum for the Webb family who lived at Milford House from the 1760s until 1926.

A little further along, use the pedestrian crossing to cross over the road and continue along the right-hand pavement. Cross over the side road, Station Lane, and continue for a few more paces to reach the mini-roundabout. Keep right here onto Portsmouth Road, signed to Godalming. Continue for just a short distance where you’ll come to the Refectory on the right for some well-earned hospitality.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2013 by the author pubwalker 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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