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Explore Surrey: Dockenfield Circular

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Explore Surrey: Dockenfield Circular
Author: Explore Surrey, Published: 18 Feb 2018 Walk Rating:star1 Explore Surrey: Dockenfield Circular Walking Guide star1 Explore Surrey: Dockenfield Circular Walking Guide star1 Explore Surrey: Dockenfield Circular Walking Guide star1 Explore Surrey: Dockenfield Circular Walking Guide star0 Explore Surrey: Dockenfield Circular Walking Guide
Surrey, Farnham
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Explore Surrey: Dockenfield Circular
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot Explore Surrey: Dockenfield Circular Walking Guide boot Explore Surrey: Dockenfield Circular Walking Guide boot Explore Surrey: Dockenfield Circular Walking Guide
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0009_light_rain_showers Explore Surrey: Dockenfield Circular Walking Guide Today's weather
21 °C, Patchy rain nearby, Wind: 8 mph ENE
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A 5km (3 mile) circular pub walk from The Bluebell in the Surrey village of Dockenfield, exploring the local village paths, woodlands and open fields along the way. This walk is part of the Explore Surrey collection, published through a collaboration between iFootpath and Surrey County Council.

The walk has several steady climbs and descents throughout. The paths through the woodlands can get very muddy, slippery or waterlogged after wet weather, so good boots are required (or wellies with grips in the winter). Some of the village paths are fairly narrow and so can be prone to becoming a little overgrown at times. You will need to negotiate several kissing gates plus 7 stiles (all of which have either built-in dog gates or fence gaps alongside, that should be suitable for most dogs). You will cross several grass pastures along the way where you are likely to come across sheep (or other livestock) so take care with dogs. There are a couple of short sections of road walking that require care. Allow 1.5 hours.

The walk is designed to start and finish at The Bluebell pub, where you can get refreshments after your walk. Ordnance Survey Map: Explorer 145 Guildford and Farnham. This walk follows public footpaths and bridleways which cross private and public land. Information is included for your interest, but please respect people’s privacy, keep dogs under control and remember the Countryside Code.

Dockenfield lies at the western edge of Surrey, alongside the border with Hampshire and adjacent to Alice Holt Forest. The walk starts and finishes from The Bluebell pub, which has its own car park for those taking refreshments after the walk. Approximate post code GU10 4EX. If you are coming by public transport, the walk can be adjusted to start at the Church of the Good Shepherd (Waypoint 4), which has a bus stop alongside. For help with planning your journey by public transport please visit http://journeys.travelsmartsurrey.info.

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Walk Sections

Start to Dockenfield Street
Start to Dockenfield Street

Start point: 51.163 lat, -0.8281 long
End point: 51.1595 lat, -0.8279 long

Leave the pub car park via the vehicle entrance and turn left along the lane. Keep ahead as the lane narrows to become a tarmac track, passing a ‘No Through Road’ road sign on your left. About 60 metres later, you will see a fingerpost on your right. Turn right here to join the signed public footpath leading downhill into woodland.

At the bottom of the slope, keep ahead onto the tarmac lane, passing a large brick property (called Rose Cottage) on your right. Immediately after Rose Cottage, stay with the main lane which turns right, continuing downhill. After just a short distance (where the first stretch of hedge on your right ends), turn right to join a stone track (signed as a public footpath). Follow this path as its narrows to continue between trees and fences. At the T-junction in the path, turn left and follow the narrow path climbing to reach a junction with the village road, Dockenfield Street.

Dockenfield Street to Abbots Wood
Dockenfield Street to Abbots Wood

Start point: 51.1595 lat, -0.8279 long
End point: 51.1539 lat, -0.8315 long

Turn right along the street, taking care of any traffic. Immediately after the last house on the left, turn left to join the signed public footpath. Follow this grass path leading you uphill between hedgerows then fences. Eventually you will pass an old concrete barrier to reach a T-junction with another path.

Turn right along the path and, as you emerge to a property’s driveway, keep ahead along this to reach a junction with the road, High Thicket Road. Directly ahead of you is the start of Alice Holt Forest, a Forestry Commission woodland within Hampshire that was once part of the Royal hunting forest, Woolmer Forest. Dockenfield was formerly part of Woolmer Forest in Hampshire but was transferred to Surrey in 1895.

NOTE: The next stretch of the walk follows the edge of this road, so take care of traffic. Turn left along the road and, after 300 metres (at the end of the second field on your left), turn left through a kissing gate. Follow the enclosed path with Abbots Wood on your right.

Abbots Wood to Pasture Stile
Abbots Wood to Pasture Stile

Start point: 51.1539 lat, -0.8315 long
End point: 51.1498 lat, -0.8264 long

The path leads you through Abbots Wood, a pretty stretch of woodland which has a beautiful display of bluebells in the late spring. For many years hops were grown in this area and the hops were dried in local oast houses using charcoal produced from these areas of coppiced woodlands. We will see an example of a former oast house later on the walk.

Pass through the metal kissing gate and continue straight ahead on the woodland path (which can be boggy or waterlogged in part). At the far side of the woodland, a metal kissing gate leads you into a grass field. Walk straight ahead (downhill) and exit via the stile (with dog gate) to reach the road, Old Lane. Turn left along the lane, taking care of traffic and enjoying the far-reaching views of the hills ahead.

Continue for just 220 metres (the length of one field on your left) to reach a stile (with dog gate) alongside a metal gate on your left. Turn left across this stile to enter a pasture (which may be holding livestock).

Pasture Stile to Church of the Good Shepherd
Pasture Stile to Church of the Good Shepherd

Start point: 51.1498 lat, -0.8264 long
End point: 51.1588 lat, -0.8221 long

Walk directly ahead along the left-hand edge of the pasture and pass through the wide gateway (with disused stile) to continue along the left-hand edge of a second section of pasture. In the field corner, cross the stile (with dog gate) and continue ahead on the enclosed grass track to reach a metal kissing gate.

Take the kissing gate to enter a large hillside pasture (this field is likely to be holding sheep, even if you cannot see them yet) and walk straight ahead, staying close to the hedgerow on your right. At the far side, pass through the wide gateway and continue along the right-hand edge of this second sheep pasture. In the field corner, follow the path through a ditch (take care) and over a stile (with dog gate) to enter a section of woodland.

Keep ahead on the pretty woodland path, ignoring a footpath signed to the right part way along. At the end of the woodland you will emerge to a small playing field. Cross this diagonally left to reach a T-junction with the main road.

Our route continues to the right shortly, but first we take a small detour to visit some points of interest. Turn left along the grass verge and almost immediately you will see the Dockenfield village sign, an elaborate sculptural plaque. Notice the reference to Noel Coward’s song, A Room with A View. Coward’s mother lived in Dockenfield and a house in the same road is thought to have been the inspiration for this song. It is also said that Coward wrote his famous play Hayfever whilst staying with his mother in Dockenfield. Continue a few paces ahead to the bus stop and if you look to your right you will see the roof of one of the old village oast houses, now converted to a private home. Beyond the bus stop you will come to the Church of the Good Shepherd on your left. Notice the bell mounted on the wall of church, rather than being within a tower or steeple. The church was built in 1910 using local bargate stone, galletted with brick dressing. Galletting, the studding of mortar with ironstone, is a characteristic local style and is both decorative and practical. The sandstone is difficult to shape accurately to give close joints and the studding prevents the mortar being removed by birds and weathering.

Church of the Good Shepherd to End
Church of the Good Shepherd to End

Start point: 51.1588 lat, -0.8221 long
End point: 51.1631 lat, -0.8281 long

When you have finished at the church, retrace your steps back along the lane, passing the bus stop on your right and the oast house on your left. Just before you reach the road chicane, turn left into the side lane, Bealeswood Lane. Follow this pretty lane down through the dip and starting to climb. Just after the lane bends left, you will see a fingerpost on your right and at this point you have two choices.

For the shortest route back to The Bluebell, simply stay with the lane as it bends left, and this lane and then a bridleway track ahead will lead you directly back to the pub.

For the full route, turn right on this bend (signed as a public bridleway) and follow the grass path past a house and hedge on your left. Immediately after the hedge, turn left over a stile (with fence gap for dogs) to enter a large grass field. With your back to the stile, walk uphill at about 11 o’clock to exit via another stile (with fence gap) into woodland. Follow the woodland path leading you quite steeply uphill.

At the top of the slope you will reach a junction with a vehicle track. Cross over and go straight ahead through the next short stretch of woodland, emerging to a path crossroads (with a waymarker post). Turn left and follow the level path through this pretty stretch of woodland. Follow this path ahead to the far end of the wood (ignoring a footpath signed to the right part way along). At the far end, turn left across a stile (with fence gap) and follow the enclosed path, with horse paddocks on your left and a property on your right. At the end of this path, dog leg right (over a sleeper bridge) and then left to join a stone vehicle track. You will reach a junction with the road. Turn left and immediately left again, and you will reach The Bluebell on your left for some well-earned refreshments.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2018 by the author exploresurrey 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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2 gallery images for "Explore Surrey: Dockenfield Circular"

10074_0Richard1519026099 Explore Surrey: Dockenfield Circular Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 19 Feb 2018
The Church of the Good Shepherd. It's worth taking a look at the brickwork.
10074_1Richard1519026099 Explore Surrey: Dockenfield Circular Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 19 Feb 2018
The Dockenfield village sign

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