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Blackheath and Chilworth Gunpowder Mills

There are currently 8 comments and 2 photos online for this walk.

Blackheath and Chilworth Gunpowder Mills
Author: Claire, Published: 07 Aug 2011 Walk Rating:star1 Blackheath and Chilworth Gunpowder Mills Walking Guide star1 Blackheath and Chilworth Gunpowder Mills Walking Guide star1 Blackheath and Chilworth Gunpowder Mills Walking Guide star1 Blackheath and Chilworth Gunpowder Mills Walking Guide star0 Blackheath and Chilworth Gunpowder Mills Walking Guide
Surrey, Waverley
Walk Type: History trail
Blackheath and Chilworth Gunpowder Mills
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot Blackheath and Chilworth Gunpowder Mills Walking Guide boot Blackheath and Chilworth Gunpowder Mills Walking Guide
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A 5 mile circular walk around the footpaths and lanes of the Surrey Hills taking in Blackheath Common (250 acres of lowland heath), the Chilworth Gunpowder Mills, the Tilling Bourne (a small tributary to the River Wey) and the picturesque village of Albury. A wonderful mix of woodland, heath, fields, riverbanks and lanes there is something for everyone on this walk. Much of the walk is relatively flat, with only a couple of steady gradients and there are just three stiles all of which are low and have gaps at the side to allow dogs to pass through easily. Some of the paths can be a little narrow and overgrown so you might want to think twice about wearing shorts unless you’re immune to nettles and brambles! The surfaces are pretty good but of course are likely to be muddy in wet weather. Approximate time 3 hours.

Free parking is available at the Blackheath Common car park on Blackheath Lane. Blackheath Common lies to the east of Blackheath village. Blackheath village is east of the B2128 and south of the A248. Approximate post code is GU4 8RD. The nearest station is Chilworth which is about one mile to the north (if you come by train you can adjust the walk by starting and finishing in Chilworth rather than Blackheath).

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Walk Sections

Blackheath to Chilworth
Blackheath to Chilworth

Start point: 51.2056 lat, -0.5183 long
End point: 51.2138 lat, -0.5345 long

Free parking is available at the Blackheath Common car park on Blackheath Lane. Leave the car park and head back along Blackheath Lane the way you drove in. At the Villagers’ Inn public house (closed at the time of writing) fork right down a small wooded footpath to the left of the large oak tree and marked with a small wooden marker post painted with a pale blue band.

Continue along the path through the woodland, following the blue ringed wooden marker posts. When you come to the T-junction with the road, cross over and veer slightly to the right to follow the marked bridleway. Walk straight on into the open heathland. At the first crossroads in the path, go straight on and then turn left to join the wider stone track. On your left you’ll pass a private residence with a large wooden framed archway into its courtyard – continue along the track to the right of the house. At the end of the house’s boundary fence, fork right down a narrow bridleway with steep sides and overhanging arches of trees. Continue all the way down this bridleway (it can be narrow and overgrown) until you emerge facing Phoenix Cottage.

Follow the boundary of Phoenix Cottage, keeping the cottage on your right and you will pass a footpath on your left. Continue down the stone track until to emerges at a T-junction with the road in Chilworth.

Chilworth to the Tilling Bourne
Chilworth to the Tilling Bourne

Start point: 51.2138 lat, -0.5345 long
End point: 51.2174 lat, -0.5341 long

Cross over the road and turn right heading towards the level crossing. Pass through the level crossing and then take the second road on the left called Blacksmith Lane. Continue down Blacksmith Lane for several hundred yards, then look out for green painted metal gates on your right.

Pass through the gates to begin your journey through the scheduled ancient monument of the Chilworth Gunpowder Mills. Take time to read the information board on your left which explains the history of this section of the Chilworth Valley and its connection with gunpowder from 1625 to 1920.

Along the Tilling Bourne
Along the Tilling Bourne

Start point: 51.2174 lat, -0.5341 long
End point: 51.2171 lat, -0.5302 long

Follow the path into the woodland with the river on your left. Follow the path as it bends to the right crossing a bridge over a cascade of water and some of the remains of the gunpowder mills. On your left you’ll see the first example of a mill stone set into the ground. Continue the path straight ahead and then follow it as it bends to the left. On your left you’ll come across further remains of the mill, a row of old mill stones and behind it, a row of old brick pillars that formed part of the mill structure.

The Chilworth Gunpowder Mills were established in 1626 and the site was very extensive. At a time when Britain seemed to be eternally at war or under threat, not just from foreign powers but also from influences within, the powder mills played an important part in keeping the guns firing. The mills employed 600 people at their peak but this highly productive industry also brought with it inherent danger which led to frequent fatal accidents. The site was perfect for the process, the Tilling Bourne ensured a good flow of water to power the mills, and alders grew profusely in the area making good charcoal for the gunpowder. The hopfield above the mill ponds produced beer brewed specially for the workers.

Today the isolation of the site has helped to support a wide variety of rare species including the endangered common dormouse. The river is still home to industry including a trout farm, watercress beds and a business growing reeds.

Tilling Bourne to Mill Pond
Tilling Bourne to Mill Pond

Start point: 51.2171 lat, -0.5302 long
End point: 51.221 lat, -0.5137 long

With the row of mill stones on your left continue ahead to follow the track for some distance (passing a picnic area along the way). When you come to a large horse chestnut tree on your right, which has a large root mass creating a tall mound above ground, turn left along another footpath. On your right you’ll see further building remains related to the gunpowder mills.

Pass through the kissing gate and, should you wish, turn left to access a beautiful shallow section of the Tilling Bourne which is perfect for doggy paddling on a hot day. Otherwise, after the kissing gate, emerge onto a lane and turn right. After a few yards, cross the stile on your left into a field marked with a green footpath sign. The field will probably be holding several very friendly horses. Go diagonally across the field and cross a second stile and follow the path straight ahead over the second field. Cross over the third stile at the far side of this field and follow the path between two fields.

As the path narrows between hedgerows take the right hand fork, pass through a small fence with a footpath arrow marker, and follow the boundary of the property to your left. You’ll hear the sound of fast following water as you emerge out of the path onto a tarmac road with a large mill pond in front of you.

Mill Pond to Albury
Mill Pond to Albury

Start point: 51.221 lat, -0.5137 long
End point: 51.2205 lat, -0.4988 long

Continue ahead, crossing the bridge with the two low red brick walls either side. Follow the tarmac road as it bends to the right with the mill pond on your right. The stream will be running on your right. As the tarmac road bends to the left, fork right along a stone footpath marked with a signpost with a picture of a dragonfly. Pass through the gap in the fence to emerge onto the main road.

Cross over the road and turn left to follow the pavement. Soon you’ll pass the sign marking the start of Albury village. Follow the path alongside the road as it takes a long bend to the right and then bends to the left towards the centre of Albury village. Opposite the post office, you’ll see a sign marking Weston Fields. Ahead you’ll see the Drummond Arms public house which is well worth a stop if you’d like some refreshments. The pub allows dogs in both the bar area and the beautiful garden which backs onto the river.

Albury to Blackheath
Albury to Blackheath

Start point: 51.2205 lat, -0.4988 long
End point: 51.2104 lat, -0.5057 long

Turn up Church Lane signed towards Weston Fields. By the Round House take the right fork up Blackheath Lane. The lane has steep sides of vegetation and overhanging trees which form beautiful arches and create lovely shade on hot days. Take some time to enjoy the interesting rock formations which are home to the trees on the steep banks. After the barn follow the lane round to the right and back down hill.

Shortly after passing under the brick arch of the railway, fork right signposted public footpath. Follow this track as it bends round to the left with a set of stables on your left. Head down to cross a small concrete bridge, another useful place for a doggy paddle.

Climb the short hill ahead, pass the metal gate into another set of stables on your right and then turn left marked with a green footpath sign immediately before a house on the left.

Into Blackheath Common
Into Blackheath Common

Start point: 51.2104 lat, -0.5057 long
End point: 51.2056 lat, -0.5171 long

Follow this sandy footpath with a plantation on the right and as you enter Blackheath Common you’ll come to a star junction of multiple sandy paths. Take the path at about 2 o’clock, heading uphill diagonally to the right. Follow this path as it bends to the left at the top and then continues straight ahead undulating through tall pine trees.

As the path becomes sandy and you come across a selection of blue ringed wooden marker posts on your left, fork to the right through a gap in a staggered fence along a sandy path. Continue straight on through another pair of staggered fences. Pass through the final staggered fence, and choose the middle of the three paths to the right. You’ll see the car park ahead of you through a metal gate.

Blackheath Common is 250 acres of heathland, much of which is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to its population of many rare heathland species such as the sand lizard and ground nesting birds such as the woodlark and nightjar.

Walk straight ahead to your car.

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network Blackheath and Chilworth Gunpowder Mills Walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2011 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


8 comments for "Blackheath and Chilworth Gunpowder Mills"

Andy B: Had a great walk around Blackheath & Albury. Drummond Arms a good stop for lunch but busy so best to book a table.

By Facebook on 20 Feb 2017

Great walk but please note when looking for the chestnut tree with large mound of grass over roots just keeping walking past picnic area and up to almost river where main building sits on left.

ADMIN RESPONSE: Thanks for the extra tip - we have added your note about passing the picnic area. Remember to always use the live GPS map on the iFootpath App as well as the directions to double check your position. Glad you enjoyed the walk.

By edwardboxall on 29 Jan 2017

Wonderful walk. Good variety of habitats and sights. Good length and not too challenging.

By Herd on 30 May 2016

Excellent walk very diverse , most enjoyable!

By Ratso on 28 Sep 2015

A lovely walk. Great, varied scenery. The directions were excellent. The gap in the fence mentioned in the penultimate paragraph is actually a staggered wooden fence but apart from that minor detail, everything was very clear.

By suefrancis on 08 Apr 2015

Great walk but a bit slippery on downhill footpaths due to the previous wet weather. Found out a bit of history I did not know. Really enjoyed it

By esjayem on 24 Feb 2015

Beautiful walk. Very varied and worthwhile stopping for a drink by the pub -Drummond-in Albury (seats by the stream) and do take a small detour to the church in Albury. A lot of nettles at the start only had me regretting wearing shorts but no issues after. Highly recommended

By davidkennedy on 28 Sep 2014

Great walk. We liked the circular track and the different areas of the walk from waterside to woodland. We also had lunch in a pub in Albury

By Richard on 02 Sep 2011

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 "Blackheath and Chilworth Gunpowder Mills"

244_0Richard1314992474 Blackheath and Chilworth Gunpowder Mills Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 02 Sep 2011
View across the fields in an early section of this lovely walk.
244_0Richard1314992731 Blackheath and Chilworth Gunpowder Mills Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 02 Sep 2011
The pine forests at the end of the walk as you head towards the car park

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Introduction to iFootpath

iFootpath provides a mechanism to capture and share details of walks, but it is worth explaining the essential structure of a walk as they are stored in the iFootpath database. The basic concept is that a walk consists of any number of sections that are joined end to end. For each section we might want to describe views or other points of interest about that part of the walk.

The database that underpins iFootpath provides the mechanisms to store the structure and details of each walk, descriptions, photographs and mapping data for the overall walk and each section of it. It is not mandatory to enter information into every single field in the forms we provide, although some basic details are essential to ensure the walk database stays manageable and searcheable.

Each walk entered can be shared with all other iFootpath users, but before a walk (and its sections) are shared there are three stages it must go through. The first stage is as a "Draft". When a walk is in draft it is only visible and editable by you, the author of that walk. Whilst it is in draft form you can add sections, photographs, further description and refine it as you see fit. You can do as little or as much as you like. However, it is worth remembering that if someone (you) wants to print it off and take it as a walking guide, then it is worth taking the time to detail each section reasonably concisely. Long descriptions are generally distracting when walking and a short, concise version is usually much easier to use.

When you are happy with the walk description and its sections you can set the status to "Ready". This does not yet make it visible to everyone. It does, however, lock the editing (although you can change it back to draft and continue editing) and alerts the systems administrators that it requires reviewing prior to being "Published". When set to "Ready" the walk will be reviewed to check it contains the basic data needed and to ensure the content is clean. We do not allow content to include obscenities, swearing or other offensive language or pictures. This review does not check the walk for accuracy; whilst we would love to test each and every walk through walking we simply do not have the time. If we do find something wrong with the walk we will contact you and ask that it is fixed prior to marking it as "Published".

Once the walk is published it is now visible to any user of iFootpath and is therefore in the public domain given that anyone can register and access iFootpath. You are therefore responsible that any photographs used in your walk description are not infringing copyright. See our terms and conditions for further information on what we do and do not allow.

Published walks are available to all users of iFootpath and are listed in the walk browser to read or print and will be listed in the iPhone/iPod Touch application for download.

Walks in iFootpath

A walk in iFootpath is an introduction to the overall walk, identification of where it is and starts, some overview notes and general commentary.

Title (required)

A walk title should provide a brief indication of where or what the walk is. Walk titles do not have to be unique.

Description (required)

This provides a text area where you can describe the walk. Explain what you love about the walk, what makes it different and what people will see. In addition try to answer all the questions you might ask before going on a route. What sort of paths does the walk use? Any steep accents/descents? Are there any stiles? Are people likely to come across horse/cows/sheep?

County (required)

The county in which the walk starts is essential to help finding the walk in the database. Some walks may straddle more than one county - we suggest you select the county in which the walk starts or is mostly within.

Area (optional)

This field can be used, if you wish, to further identify where the walk is. This is particularly useful for large counties.

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To help quickly finding the right type of walk this provides a basic walk classification or type. Some walks may span two of these types - please use the type that fits the majority of the walk.

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The length (in miles) of a walk is an approximation of the overall distance walked, not a measure of the distance "as the crow flies". iFootpath automatically completes this field based on the GPX file that has been uploaded.

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The grade of a walk is an indicator of how difficult it is to walk. This does not take into account the walk length but does suggest how challenging the walk will be. An easy walk, graded as 1 (and shown as 1 walking boot) indicates a walk that is essentially flat, has no sharp hills to climb, has no stiles or other obstacles, is easy to navigate (probably along a well worn path) and is suitable for most levels of fitness. Do be aware that the level of stamina required will vary and you should only walk within your limits - the indication of walk length will help with this. A difficult walk, graded as 5 (and represented by 5 boots) indicates a walk that is strenuous and involves steep ascents and/or descents. It may be technically challenging involving difficult terrain or obstacles.

Please note that the grading for walks is subjective and open to interpretation and should only be used as a guide when selecting a walk.

Map Ref / Start Point (optional)

The walk start point is an Ordnance Survey map reference to pinpoint the start point of the walk. This should be in the format:

AB 123 456

Further details of this system can be seen on the Ordnance Survey website.

Map Link (optional)

This optional field allows you to include a link to a web page containing a map showing the walk start. This is not the place to include any other links and the system will reject links to anything but Streetmap or Google Maps.

Start Point Co-ordinates (optional)

This pair of fields allows you to enter the longitude and latitude for the start point. iFootpath automatically completes this field based on the uploaded GPX file.

Key Image (required)

This is the main photograph used to illustrate the walk and can, if you wish, be the only photograph used of the walk. We recommend that you use a picture that characterises the walk, if possible, to show potential walkers what they might find or see. The picture must be in any of the main image formats (JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG) and image files up to 2Mb in size are permitted. Once an image is uploaded it will be resized automatically and a smaller version saved that is optimised for viewing on both this website and iFootpath Mobile.

There are many image editing and manipulation applications available, so many that we cannot make particular recommendations although almost all are excellent. Our preferred way of saving images for iFootpath is to save or export them at a maximum size of 1024x1024 pixels as a JPEG file. This creates a file that is well under 2Mb in size, contains plenty of detail and displays well in almost any browser. Please be sure that you own the copyright to any images uploaded - you must have taken them yourself or have explicit permission. If you are concerned about image theft then we also suggest you include a small watermark in any corner of the image, but please remember that large watermarks that hide the image will not be popular with viewers!

Pdf file

Pdf file for walk

Icon (recommended)

The icon is a small image, 60 pixels square, used to provide a label for the walk when displayed in lists or in iFootpath Mobile. It is recommended that a small, square image for such use is created and uploaded. This should be in JPEG, GIF, BMP or PNG format and less than 100Kb in size. If you do not provide an icon the walk will be automatically given a generic system icon. If you do upload a photograph for the walk icon its size will be checked by the system and it will automatically be resized to 60 pixels square. However, please also note that if the image is not square in format it may be cropped and you will not get the result you might have expected. Just thought you should know!

Getting There (required)

This provides a text area to explain how to get to the start of the walk. It is good to include a post code.

Preview

This function allows you to see how your published walk would look, before you submit as 'Ready' for review.

Status

When a walk is created and saved in iFootpath its status is automatically set to 'Draft'. This implies that you are still working on it and may want to come back later to add walk sections, images or other information. When you are ready for the walk to be shared with other iFootpath registered users then the status should be changed to 'Ready'. This will automatically notify the system that you want to share the walk. The system will check to ensure you have completed the required information and alert a reviewer. The reviewer will read through to check the content is clean and consistent with our terms of use. This does not check the accuracy of the walk details or any other information. If there are issues with the contents you will be contacted by email. The walk status will also be reset to 'Draft' in this case. More likely, however, that everything is fine in which case its status will be set to 'Published' at which point it becomes available for viewing and downloading by any registered user of iFootpath. This includes download to iFootpath Mobile.

Filters

Filters allow you to narrow down your search for walks of interest. By County restricts the list of walks to those in the selected County. The Filters links at the top of the list page allow you to jump quickly to the filters or to clear them.

Keyword Search

The Keyword search facility will search through the walk descriptions and notes to find words or phrases you specify.

My GPX Files

This page gives you the list of GPX files that you have uploaded from iFootpath mobile (or from other sources). You are able to view, edit, delete or download these files. Once you are happy with your GPX file you can 'convert to walk' to create a draft walk based on this data. This walk will appear under 'Manage My Walks'.

Manage My Walks

The list of walks presented are those you have written and entered into iFootpath. From here you can filter the list if you have lots to narrow down your search, list all or just those with a particular status. If you select a 'Published' or 'Ready' walk you will see a read-only version of your walk, although if 'Ready' you can reset status to 'Draft' again for further editing.

Walk Sections in iFootpath

Each walk section represents a particular piece of a walking route. The start and end of each section are defined by waypoints. Each section joins onto the next to form the complete walk. There is no limit to the number of sections a walk can have, but on a long walk we recommend breaking the route down into manageable pieces that are delineated by particular landmarks, turnings or changes in obvious route. Each section has its own photograph and descriptive text which should hold a photograph that illustrates the section and any instructions or other notes you want to add that may be of use in helping navigation or pointing things out.

Section Title (required)

The section title is used to provide a short name for the section. It is useful in section titles to provide an indication of the start and end, so using names of landmarks, roads, etc is a useful aid. Sections will be named automatically as the name of the waypoint at the end of that section. It is recommended that you rename the sections as something more useful to walkers.

Section Description (required)

This field is used to provide as much information as you wish about the walk section. This should include notes on navigation, even if obvious, and any further information you care to share about views, historical notes, things to look for, etc.

Key Image (recommended)

A picture can save many words and will often be very useful in helping to navigate or spot things along the route. The picture must be in any of the main image formats (JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG) and image files up to 2Mb in size are permitted. Once an image is uploaded it will be resized automatically and a smaller version saved that is optimised for viewing on both this website and iFootpath Mobile.

Our preferred way of saving images for iFootpath is to save or export them at a maximum size of 1024x1024 pixels as a JPEG file. Please be sure that you own the copyright to any images uploaded - you must have taken them yourself or have explicit permission.

Map Ref (optional)

This allows the OS Map reference for the start and end of the section to be entered. These should be in the format:

AB 123 456

Further details of this system can be seen on the Ordnance Survey website.

Start/End Point (optional)

This provides the facility to capture the co-ordinates for the start and end points of the walk section. iFootpath will automatically complete this field based on the GPX file used to create the walk.

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