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The Cricketers Horsell Common and Mill Bourne Trail

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The Cricketers Horsell Common and Mill Bourne Trail
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 19 May 2014 Walk rating : Rating:star1 The Cricketers Horsell Common and Mill Bourne Trailstar1 The Cricketers Horsell Common and Mill Bourne Trailstar1 The Cricketers Horsell Common and Mill Bourne Trailstar1 The Cricketers Horsell Common and Mill Bourne Trailstar0 The Cricketers Horsell Common and Mill Bourne Trail
Surrey, Woking
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
The Cricketers Horsell Common and Mill Bourne Trail
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot The Cricketers Horsell Common and Mill Bourne Trail boot The Cricketers Horsell Common and Mill Bourne Trail
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A 5.5 mile circular pub walk from The Cricketers in Horsell, near Woking in Surrey. The Cricketers prides itself on delivering fantastic food with great friendly service. The walking route is an ideal morning ramble to build up an appetite for lunch. You’ll enjoy a lovely variety of landscapes including the heathland paths across Horsell Common, the riverside paths along the Mill Bourne as well as horse paddocks, meadows and woodland.

The route is generally flat. The paths are all unmade and can be fairly muddy (especially where the bridleways are churned by the horses) so good boots are a must. The paths are also narrow in part and can get a little overgrown in the summer so long trousers are recommended (unless you’re immune to nettles!). There are several gates/kissing gates to negotiate as well as some footbridges and two stiles (both stiles have gaps alongside which should be suitable for most dogs). You will need to cross one paddock which is likely to be holding horses and Horsell Common is also grazed for conservation by cattle at some times so take care with dogs at these points. The route crosses a number of roads and there are a couple of short sections of road walking so take care of traffic at these points. Approximate time 2 to 2.5 hours.

Horsell village is located less than a mile north-west of Woking in Surrey. The walk starts and finishes at The Cricketers on Horsell Birch, close to its junction with the High Street. There is parking available both in front of and behind the pub. Approximate post code GU21 4XB.

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Walk Sections

Start to Littlewick Road
Start to Littlewick Road

Start point: 51.3264 lat, -0.5823 long
End point: 51.33 lat, -0.5817 long

Standing with your back to The Cricketers, turn right along the access lane heading back to the High Street. As you reach the road, cross over and take Horsell Birch directly opposite, passing a row of houses on the right.

Continue all the way to the end of the stone track where you’ll reach a fork. Bear left here and then follow the main track as it swings round to the right. You will emerge to a T-junction with a road, Littlewick Road.

Littlewick Road to Heathermount Cottage
Littlewick Road to Heathermount Cottage

Start point: 51.33 lat, -0.5817 long
End point: 51.3392 lat, -0.5864 long

Cross over with care and take the footpath directly opposite, passing through a pair of bridle gates to enter Horsell Common. (Note: cattle are used here for conservation grazing at certain times so take care with dogs). After the gates, keep ahead for a few paces and you’ll see a choice of four paths ahead. Take the second one from the left (at about 11 o’clock). At the next junction, where a number of paths merge back together, keep straight ahead. The path will lead you to another pair of bridle gates at the far side of the common.

Pass through these (using the paths around the bushes to the side to avoid the mud if necessary) and then keep ahead on the pretty tree lined track. You’ll emerge to a T-junction with a farm track. Turn left and follow the track as it swings right. Continue on this fenced stone track with open fields across to the left.

The track leads you over a wooden sleeper bridge that crosses the Bourne River and, further along, a track merges in from the left. Keep ahead passing a row of large cottages on the left. Beyond these, at the next signed junction, keep straight ahead on the main track passing alongside a wooden vehicle gate. Ignore the footpath off to the right, simply keep straight ahead on the main track. As you approach the road, keep to the left branch of the fork and you’ll emerge to the road opposite Heathermount Cottage.

Heathermount Cottage to Mill Bourne
Heathermount Cottage to Mill Bourne

Start point: 51.3392 lat, -0.5864 long
End point: 51.3482 lat, -0.5906 long

Turn left along the pavement and continue passing a care home on the left (ignoring the first footpath signed on the left). Continue until the next signed footpath (alongside the entrance for Milford Grange, although there may not be a sign for this). Cross over the road here (with extreme care) to take the footpath to the right into woodland.

Follow the path through Milford Green with power lines running directly overhead. You’ll emerge out to a T-junction with a quiet residential lane. Turn left along the lane, taking care of any occasional traffic. Immediately after passing a section of woodland on the right, turn right onto the signed public footpath (using the handy gap at the side of stile/wooden gate) passing Willow Tree House on the left.

At the end of the tree-lined path, pass through the metal kissing gate and keep ahead between a pair of horse paddocks. Cross the narrow stone access track and go through the metal gate ahead into the horse paddock (you will be sharing this paddock with horses so take care with dogs). Cross this paddock between 10 and 11 o’clock to reach the metal kissing gate within the tree line at the far side.

Pass though this, cross the sleepers and then walk directly ahead through the centre of the large meadow. You will emerge to a crossroads of paths, with a footbridge over the Mill Bourne river directly ahead. Do NOT cross the bridge, instead turn right along the grass path with the Mill Bourne running behind the trees to the left.

Mill Bourne to Fairbourne Manor
Mill Bourne to Fairbourne Manor

Start point: 51.3482 lat, -0.5906 long
End point: 51.3465 lat, -0.5736 long

Follow the path to the end of the grass meadow, through a section of trees/hedgerow and on to follow a section with fenced horse paddocks to the right. Cross the green metal stile (with a handy dog-sized gap alongside), cross over the tarmac track and take the path directly opposite signed for Emmett’s Mill.

Pass alongside the metal vehicle gate to continue with the Mill Bourne still following to the left. The beginning of this waterway rises in Lightwater and is joined by another tributary in west Chobham to become the Mill Bourne. From here it flows on to reach the southern branch of the River Bourne near Woking. Keep your eyes peeled for kingfishers which are occasionally seen along this stretch.

Follow this riverside path for some distance, crossing another green metal stile along the way (the handy dog gap being to the left this time). A make-shift kissing gate leads you into a section of woodland riverside path. Through the trees to the right you’ll see the lake and impressive facade of the white neo-classical style residence, Fairbourne Manor. Just beyond this, the path swings right away from the river and leads you, via a pair of footbridges, out to the grass verge alongside the entrance to Fairbourne Manor.

Fairbourne Manor to Norwood Farm
Fairbourne Manor to Norwood Farm

Start point: 51.3465 lat, -0.5736 long
End point: 51.3395 lat, -0.5622 long

Turn left along the narrow grass verge alongside Philpot Lane. Take particular care of traffic, especially if you have to step into the road to pass around the bushes. As soon as you can, cross over to the right-hand grass verge. Pass the entrances to Goldbridge and Burnside Nursery on the right.

Stay on the grass verge passing under an ancient oak tree and the path leads you over a footbridge. Follow this path with fenced horse paddocks to the right and the Mill Bourne once again running directly on the left.

Follow the riverside path for some distance. Take time to enjoy the beautiful views across the surrounding fields and, in spring and summer, keep your eyes peeled for butterflies, damselflies and dragonflies which thrive here. Across to the left you’ll see Fairoaks Airport and you may see light aircraft taking off or landing.

Beyond the horse paddocks, a metal kissing gate leads you into an open grass meadow. Keep straight ahead through this and you’ll emerge to a T-junction with a wider bridleway (with a footbridge visible to the left). Turn right along the bridleway and keep ahead along this (don’t worry about the forks in the path as all the path branches merge back together again).

You will reach a large wooden horse bridge across the stream, cross this and follow the track into a belt of trees, predominantly pretty young oaks. Further along the path swings left to cross the stream via a concrete bridge, with a property now ahead. Before the property, turn right to follow the bridleway which runs along the edge of Horsell Common. You’ll emerge to a junction with a dirt access track, with the entrance for Norwood Farm on the right.

Norwood Farm to Chobham Road
Norwood Farm to Chobham Road

Start point: 51.3395 lat, -0.5622 long
End point: 51.3341 lat, -0.5695 long

Keep straight ahead down the stone access lane, with open fenced fields visible through the line of trees on the right. Where the lane begins to swing left, fork right to join the path which stays close to the line of fenced fields on the right.

As you reach a crossroads with a footbridge on the left, turn right to follow the path which runs close to the bottom edges of the fenced fields. Where the fields on the right end, you’ll emerge to a small clearing with a (discreet!) junction of paths. It may be tricky to make out the paths, but you need to take the one at about 10 o’clock.

Follow this through the mixed pine and birch woodland and you’ll emerge to a small access lane. Turn left for a few yards and you’ll come to a T-junction with Chobham Road.

Chobham Road to End
Chobham Road to End

Start point: 51.3341 lat, -0.5695 long
End point: 51.3265 lat, -0.5823 long

Cross over the road (with extreme care) to take the path directly opposite. Follow this sandy path winding through the common, a beautiful mix of heather, gorse with silver birch and pine trees. You’ll emerge to a T-junction with a quiet road, cross over and take the access lane directly opposite.

As you reach the gates for Bourne Place, fork left through the pair of bridle gates to re-enter Horsell Common. Keep straight ahead on the main woodland path (or you could divert through the bushes to the left to avoid the worst of the mud). A little further along you’ll be walking along the edge of open heath to the left with woodland still to the right. A few yards later, take the first major path on the left which leads you through the centre of the heath.

Originally Horsell Common was part of Windsor Great Park. Like most of the original park, it eventually passed into private ownership and by 1805 that owner was the Earl of Onslow. In 1900 the Earl began seeking a way of transferring the land into public ownership, but it wasn’t until 1966 that the Horsell Common Preservation Society purchased the site at a price of £1 per acre. The Society still owns and manages the site today. The Common extends to 855 acres and is a rich mosaic of heathland habitats, ranging from open heath and acidic grassland to bog, heathland pools, secondary woodland and scrub.

At the fork, keep left onto the wider grass track which will lead you towards the road. Just before you reach the road, turn right then left to pass through the pair of bridle gates back out to the road. You may recognise these gates from the outward leg of the walk, and from this point you’ll be re-tracing your steps back to the pub. Cross over the road and take Viggory Lane opposite. Follow the track as it swings left and then right, passing the row of properties to the left. At the road junction, cross over into Horsell Birch where you’ll find The Cricketers on the left for some well-earned hospitality.

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


2 responses to "The Cricketers Horsell Common and Mill Bourne Trail"

Nice walk but there's quite a bit of traffic noise from surrounding roads and also planes and helicopters from Fairoak aerodrome. There's no sign for Milford Grange but the instructions are otherwise correct

By Dees on 2015-04-09 13:27:32

Decent walk but as above, a lot of traffic noise, also the section around Fairoaks Airport is very overgrown, almost impassable. And at one point I was knee deep in water for about 100m, heavy rainfall the day before but one to avoid unless you are confident it's been dry for a few days.

By drummand on 2016-06-25 17:59:48

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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Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
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