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The Hurtwood and Winterfold Hill

There are currently 3 comments and 3 photos online for this walk.

The Hurtwood and Winterfold Hill
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 09 Jan 2014 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
Surrey, Surrey Hills
Walk Type: Woodland
The Hurtwood and Winterfold Hill
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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A 4.5 mile circular walk around The Hurtwood, a unique and beautiful world of heath and forest in the heart of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Hurtwood is a stunning mix of magical pine woods and heaths, ponds and glades, wildlife and wilderness. The walking route begins on Winterfold Hill, with its stunning views to the south, from where it heads north to follow a beautiful old sunken path before cutting back through the heart of Winterfold Wood.

The route follows forest tracks and paths plus a couple of field paths all of which can be very muddy after periods of wet weather, so good waterproof boots are recommended. There are several climbs and descents throughout. Dogs are welcome in the Hurtwood. You are likely to be sharing some of the paths with horse riders and mountain bikers. You will need to negotiate 3 stiles (all of which have open fence surrounds for dogs to pass through), plus a number of gates and a flight of steps. One field which you pass through may be holding horses. Allow 2 to 2.5 hours.

The walk starts and finishes from Car Park 5 (managed by the Friends of the Hurtwood), the Winterfold Donkins Car Park, which is accessed from Winterfold Heath Road. (NOTE: This road is incorrectly labled Greensand Lane on Google Maps). Exit the A25 (Dorking to Guildford Road) at Shere village and head south on Hound House Road. After about 2 miles, fork right onto the road signed to Winterfold. Take the next right (Winterfold Heath Road), a narrow lane which contains many of the car parks managed by the Friends of the Hurtwood. You will pass car parks 4, 12 and 13 – keep going until you reach Car Park 5 on the left-hand side. There is no postcode for the car park, the nearest post code is GU5 9EN (which will take you to just a couple of streets away).

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Walk Sections

Start to Row Lane
Start to Row Lane

Start point: 51.1736 lat, -0.4804 long
End point: 51.1787 lat, -0.4817 long

You might want to take a moment within the car park to enjoy the views across to the south. To begin the walk, leave the car park via the vehicle entrance, cross over the lane and take the footpath directly opposite. A few yards in keep right, then right then left at the three small forks which come in quick succession, following the yellow arrows marking the public footpath.

Follow the path with a fenced private property now directly on the left. The property is called Winterfold Cottage, but belies its name with extensive grounds including a swimming pool, tennis courts and a football pitch. Continue steadily downhill on this main path and follow it bending left (ignoring paths off to the right) and you will emerge to reach a T-junction with the entrance drive to the cottage. Turn right to follow the entrance drive and this will lead you to a T-junction with the road, Row Lane.

Row Lane to Shophouse Lane
Row Lane to Shophouse Lane

Start point: 51.1787 lat, -0.4817 long
End point: 51.1903 lat, -0.4815 long

Turn left for just a few yards and then fork right onto the public bridleway heading into the woodland. Follow this obvious path which leads you down into the base of a gully. Bear right here to follow the sunken path along the bottom of the gully with tall banks each side. After a short distance, keep ahead as the path merges with a wider sunken track.

Follow this path for some distance and ignore the first path off to the left. Some way further along you’ll come to a crossroads – keep ahead once again. Continue until you reach a footpath crossing the sunken track (keep your eyes peeled as this isn’t obvious!) with stiles on the top of the banks each side. Turn right up the bank and go over the stile.

Follow the dedicated path straight ahead through the horse paddock field. At the far end of the first field keep ahead on the enclosed path with horse paddocks to the right. The enclosed path leads you past Shophouse Farmhouse and via another stile out to a T-junction with Shophouse Lane.

Shophouse Lane to Dewdney Junction
Shophouse Lane to Dewdney Junction

Start point: 51.1903 lat, -0.4815 long
End point: 51.181 lat, -0.4656 long

Turn left along the lane for just a few yards and then turn right onto the public footpath via a stile. Follow this enclosed path which leads you between sheep pastures. A squeeze gap leads you to a crossroads with a sunken track. Go straight ahead onto the footpath opposite, marked with a yellow arrow.

Keep ahead passing a cottage and outbuildings, then follow the path as it heads steeply downhill via a set of steps into the woodland. At the bottom of the slope, cross the stream via the sleeper bridge and you will come to a T-junction with a track. Turn left along this and you will draw alongside the hedge boundary of a cottage on the right. At the hedge corner, turn right to join the bridleway with the cottage garden to the right.

Follow this path (which can run with water after heavy rain) and after a little distance on the left you’ll pass a small weir. Keep ahead as the path begins to climb with the stream running down to the left. Keep ahead over the small pipe tunnel and continue with the stream now on the right. At the major fork marked with blue arrows, take the right-hand path and eventually you will emerge to a staggered crossroads of bridleways. Down to the right here is a small pit which marks Dewdney’s Well.

Dewdney Junction to Car Park 4
Dewdney Junction to Car Park 4

Start point: 51.181 lat, -0.4656 long
End point: 51.172 lat, -0.4641 long

Turn right here and after just 100 yards you’ll pass a large pond on the right and emerge to a crossroads with the main forest road. Cross over and go straight ahead on the bridleway marked with a blue arrow. Keep ahead on the bridleway, ignoring the footpath which crosses your path, and a few paces later, keep left at the fork.

Keep straight ahead on the bridleway (climbing steadily) and it will lead you through a single gate where the track narrows slightly and continues through the woodland.

The woodland is part of an area covering some 3,000 acres, known as The Hurtwood, which contains more than 60 miles of footpaths and bridleways and is the largest area of common land in Surrey. Most of the Hurtwood lies within two of the ancient manors that make up the Shere Manor Estate – the Manor of Gomshall Towerhill and part the Manor of ‘Shire cum Vacherie et Cranley’, which was given to Sir Reginald Bray by Henry VII over 500 years ago. It has remained in the ownership of the Bray family ever since. Legend has it that the knight found Richard III’s crown in a thorn bush after his defeat at Bosworth Field and he presented the symbolic trophy to Henry. The manors were his reward.

Eventually you will emerge out to a crossroads with Winterfold Heath Road, with Car Park 4 opposite.

Car Park 4 to End
Car Park 4 to End

Start point: 51.172 lat, -0.4641 long
End point: 51.1736 lat, -0.4804 long

Cross over the road into Car Park 4 and then fork right just before the large notice board. Soon you will pick up the yellow and black arrow marking this path as part of the Greensand Way. Continue past the vehicle barrier and follow the waymarked path through the woodland. A little way along, look out for the bench, Lord Justice James’ seat, on the left which is a great place to pause and enjoy the views over the Weald.

From this point, continue on the obvious Greensand Way path along the top of the Greensand Ridge, following the yellow and black arrows to guide you as the path winds through the woodland. You will be following this path all the way back to the car park.

The Greensand Way is a long distance path of 108 miles which runs from Haslemere in Surrey to Hamstreet in Kent. It was opened in 1980 and is jointly managed by Kent and Surrey County Councils. The trail follows the Greensand Ridge, a layer of lower greensand that was laid down in the Lower Cretaceous period, more than 100 million years ago. Over millennia of plate movements each of the historic layers here have been lifted up into a dome. Subsequently the softer clay layers were eroded away to leave the exposed harder sandstone ridges, such as this one.

Some way in, the path emerges out to run along the edge of Winterfold Heath Road, and after just 20 yards it forks left back into the woodland. Continue on the waymarked path winding and undulating through the woodland and it will lead you back to Car Park 5 where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2014 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


3 responses to "The Hurtwood and Winterfold Hill"

My wife and I enjoyed this work today. Easy to follow from the description alone. Thank you.

By andyharper on 2014-03-16 22:58:06

Very muddy indeed. Needs updating as both kissing gates have gone and a dedicated path created through the paddocks.

ADMIN RESPONSE: Many thanks for letting us know about the new path through the paddock. We have updated the walking guide so that future walkers have the latest facts.

By iantomes on 2016-01-26 22:50:00

At the start of number 2, Row Lane, instead of taking the very muddy, dark and rutted byway take the parallel footpath just to the right. This is firm dry level and gives lovely views in all directions. This easily delivers you to the next part of the walk, "the dedicated path through the horse paddock field "

By Chigley on 2016-03-31 16:14:09

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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3 images to "The Hurtwood and Winterfold Hill"

2747_0Chigley1459444121 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: Chigley
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
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2747_0Chigley1459624007 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: Chigley
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
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2747_0Cazmiqa1474230781 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: Cazmiqa
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
New Sculpture at Car Park

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