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Chinthurst Hill and The Grantley Arms

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

Chinthurst Hill and The Grantley Arms
Author: Claire, Published: 06 Apr 2017 Walk Rating:star1 Chinthurst Hill and The Grantley Arms Walking Guide star1 Chinthurst Hill and The Grantley Arms Walking Guide star1 Chinthurst Hill and The Grantley Arms Walking Guide star1 Chinthurst Hill and The Grantley Arms Walking Guide star0 Chinthurst Hill and The Grantley Arms Walking Guide
Surrey, Wonersh
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Chinthurst Hill and The Grantley Arms
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot Chinthurst Hill and The Grantley Arms Walking Guide boot Chinthurst Hill and The Grantley Arms Walking Guide boot Chinthurst Hill and The Grantley Arms Walking Guide
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A 4 mile (can be shortened to 3 miles) circular pub walk near Wonersh in Surrey. The walk begins with an (optional) loop up and around Chinthurst Hill, with its beautiful folly tower, bluebell woods and outstanding views. Next, you are taken on a journey on part of the Downs Link including a stretch of a disused railway (with remnants of an old station) and with lovely views of the surrounding Surrey Hills. The route is deliberately designed to allow you to stop at The Grantley Arms in Wonersh during the return leg, a historic inn and the perfect setting for mid-walk refreshments.

The bulk of the walk follows well-made paths with only gentle gradients throughout. Some of the woodland stretches can be muddy. You will be sharing the old rail line path with cyclists so take care with children and dogs. There are a couple of kissing gates on route and a couple of steps (but no stiles). You will not be sharing the paths with any farm livestock, as the route does not cross any farm fields. The optional climb onto Chinthurst Hill includes some steep gradients with several flights of steps and two kissing gates, but the views are worth the climb if you can manage it. According to the Surrey Wildlife Trust website, pigs (within electric fencing enclosures) are sometimes used to graze the top of Chinthurst Hill. Allow 2 hours.

Wonersh is located just a few miles south of Guildford in Surrey. The walk starts and finishes from the free Wildlife Trust car park at Chinthurst Hill (with parking for about 20 cars). The car park is accessed from the road between Shalford and Wonersh, the B2128 Wonersh Common Road. Heading south from Shalford, ignore the left turn to Dorking and Chilworth and, soon afterwards (and directly opposite the Waverley Borough sign on your left), you will find the car park entrance on your right. Approximate post code GU5 0PR.

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Walk Sections

Start to Chinthurst Tower
Start to Chinthurst Tower

Start point: 51.2067 lat, -0.5496 long
End point: 51.2028 lat, -0.5511 long

To begin the walk, walk to the far end of car park (away from the vehicle entrance) where you will see two low wooden vehicle gates. Pass through the gap to the right of these and then pass a wooden noticeboard on your left. Just a few paces later you will reach a staggered T-junction with a tree-lined path. Bear left to join this and after just 20 metres, you will see a fingerpost and waymarker post (both on your left).

If you wish to exclude the climb to Chinthurst Hill (which includes several flights of steps, but the views are worth it if you are able), turn right here and then skip to the section called Downs Link to Old Rail Path.

For the full walk, go straight ahead marked with a green arrow (self-guided trail). This fenced path climbs steadily to reach a fork. Take the right-hand branch, up a flight of steps, to reach a waymarker post on your right. Do NOT turn right here (as indicated by the green arrow), instead take the path at about 11 o’clock. This path swings left and then right, leading you up broad wooden steps.

The woodland here is a beautiful mix of native trees. A fine display of bluebells can be seen on Chinthurst Hill in the spring. Watch out for roe deer and, if you are walking at dusk in the summer, you may see bats hunting for insects on the wing.

The path begins to climb more steeply, up more steps with a handrail on your left. At the top of this flight (with a handy bench, should you need to pause), turn right onto a path climbing more gently. After just 30 metres, turn left through a kissing gate and follow the path with steps, winding uphill.

At the small crossroads with a waymarker post, go straight ahead and this will lead you directly to the tower and viewpoint on the top of Chinthurst Hill. Some of the landmarks visible from the wonderful vantage point are marked on the viewpoint plaque. The tower was constructed in the late 1930s by Lord Inchcape as a folly and is now a listed building. Nearby Chinthurst Hill House was built by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1893-1895 and its gardens were laid out by Gertrude Jeykll.

Chinthurst Tower to Downs Link
Chinthurst Tower to Downs Link

Start point: 51.2028 lat, -0.5511 long
End point: 51.2061 lat, -0.5503 long

When you are ready to continue, stand at the viewpoint with the tower behind you. Glance to your left and you will see a waymarker post. Walk ahead to follow the direction of this green arrow (we will be following this self-guided trail back to the Downs Link). Follow the subtle grass path to meet the tree line ahead, then turn right to join a grass and stone path leading you more gently downhill. The path leads you down through the trees and then swings sharp left to pass through another kissing gate.

Follow this next stretch of path with coppiced woodland sloping down to the right and a wire fence on your left. Soon the woodland on the right is replaced by views down the valley of horse paddocks and some of the properties in Wonersh Common. Ignore a kissing gate on your left and, 30 metres later (just after passing a bench – a tempting place to pause and enjoy the views!), turn right onto the path marked with a green arrow. Across the paddocks on your right, you will have a good view of the United Reformed Church in Wonersh Common, with its unusual Gothic-style spires, known as fleches.

Follow this path steeply downhill (taking care on the uneven steps and tree roots). Towards the bottom, the path swings left and then undulates gently along the bottom edge of the woodland. To your right, you will have more magnificent views across horse pastures and on to the Surrey hills. You will come to a minor crossroads (with a sleeper laid down the slope to your right). Turn right here and join the fenced path that you used to access Chinthurst Hill. As soon as the wire fence on your left ends, turn left onto the Downs Link bridleway.

Downs Link to Old Rail Path
Downs Link to Old Rail Path

Start point: 51.2061 lat, -0.5503 long
End point: 51.2019 lat, -0.5617 long

Keep ahead on this Downs Link bridleway, lined with trees and fences. When the trees on your right end, you will have fabulous views across the fields to your right. Look over your right shoulder (about 4 o’clock) and, on a clear day, you will be able to see the church sitting on the top of St Martha’s Hill in the distance.

You will come to a T-junction with a stile on your right. Turn left here and follow the sunken path leading you through a tunnel of trees. The path continues with a hedgerow on your right and horse paddocks on your left. At the end of the track, you will pass the entrance for Southlands stables on your left before reaching a crossroads.

Go straight ahead (taking care of traffic) into Tannery Lane (signed as the Downs Link). Turn left into Drodges Close and then turn immediately right onto the raised path (alongside Tannery Lane), which keeps you away from the traffic. Just before the bridge (by the industrial gates on your right), follow the bridleway sign to fork left away from the road. 20 paces later you will come to a fork. Take the right-hand branch which leads you over an old arched bridge (which crosses the former Wey and Arun canal – now under restoration) to reach a T-junction with an old railway path. There is an old railway bridge on your right.

Old Rail Path to Station Road
Old Rail Path to Station Road

Start point: 51.2019 lat, -0.5617 long
End point: 51.1961 lat, -0.556 long

Turn left (signed to Cranleigh and Bramley) and follow this former rail line. Note you will be sharing this path with cyclists, so take care with children and dogs.

This former rail line was called the Cranleigh line, a linking line that connected Guildford on the Portsmouth-London line with the West Sussex market town of Horsham. The line closed in 1965, four months before its centenary, the only Surrey railway closure as part of Beeching’s reshaping of the railways. The track bed remained overgrown for many years before being brought back into use in the 1980s as part of the Downs Link, a public footpath and bridleway linking the North Downs and South Downs.

Stay with the main surfaced path and this will lead you through the site of the old Gosden Aqueduct (where the River Wey swaps from right to left of your path). Stay with the surfaced path for about 800 metres, leading you into the outskirts of Bramley and passing through the old Bramley and Wonersh Station.

Opened in 1865 as Bramley Station, its name was changed in June 1888 to Bramley and Wonersh Station as it was recognised that the station served both settlements. The station building was demolished a few years after the rail line was closed, but the platform, signage and shelter were restored in 2004.

Just beyond the station, pass through the white gate to reach the junction with Station Road.

Station Road to Grantley Arms
Station Road to Grantley Arms

Start point: 51.1961 lat, -0.556 long
End point: 51.1972 lat, -0.5458 long

Here we leave the Downs Link. Turn left along the pavement, and swap to the right-hand pavement as soon as you can. Beyond the houses, the pavement leads you over the River Wey via Wonersh Bridge (which originally dates from 1780). Stay alongside the main road, swinging right. Alongside Wonersh Hollow you are forced to swap back to the left-hand pavement.

Pass Wonersh Church on your right and, as the road bends left, you will see an impressive red-brick gateway on your right. Now housing a path to the church, this was one of the original gates for Wonersh Park, former home of the Grantley Family, Lords of the Manor. Almost immediately you will pass a second red brick arch, now the entrance to Wonersh Court. These buildings were originally the stables for Wonersh Park but have since been converted into housing.

Follow the pavement leading you into the heart of Wonersh village, passing a row of beautiful black and white half-timbered cottages which date from the mid-1500s. Swap to the right-hand pavement when you can and this will lead you to The Grantley Arms by the road junction, ideal for a much-needed refreshment stop.

Grantley Arms to Great Tangley Manor
Grantley Arms to Great Tangley Manor

Start point: 51.1972 lat, -0.5458 long
End point: 51.2084 lat, -0.5405 long

When you are ready to continue, stand on the pavement in front of the pub, facing the round shelter in the centre of the road junction (known locally as the pepper pot). Turn right along the pavement and, as you draw level with the pub car park, swap to the left-hand pavement with care. Where the main road swings right, follow the left-hand pavement forking into Barnett Lane.

Follow this quiet residential street, soon passing the village common on your left. At the far side of the common you will be able to see the United Reformed Church once again. Simply keep ahead all the way to the end of Barnett Lane where you will reach a T-junction. Turn left for just 4 paces then cross over to turn right onto the (partly concealed) footpath, marked with a fingerpost. This is just to the right of the bus stop and phone box.

Follow this narrow path between hedgerows and then fences. You will emerge via a kissing gate alongside the entrance gates for Little Tangley Nursery. Turn left for about 12 paces and then, by the fingerpost, turn right to join a footpath into a small belt of trees. This path continues with fenced pastures to your right and beautiful views of St Martha’s Hill ahead. Continue between fenced paddocks and you will reach a crossroads of tracks in amongst several properties.

Ahead are some of the complex of buildings that surround Great Tangley Manor. Set a few metres above a narrow square moat, Great Tangley Manor has been well preserved and has been made the subject of many paintings, as have its garden and lily pond. Having been a residence for at least 1,000 years, today the manor is used for wedding ceremonies and corporate retreats.

Great Tangley Manor to End
Great Tangley Manor to End

Start point: 51.2084 lat, -0.5405 long
End point: 51.2068 lat, -0.5495 long

Turn left at this point to join the vehicle track, a bridleway which is part of the Downs Link. Pass The Lodge on your left and continue ahead as the track enters woodland. 80 metres before you reach the T-junction with the main road, look out for a fingerpost on your right. Turn right to follow the narrow path through the woodland, signed as the Downs Link. You will emerge to a junction with the main road.

Cross over with care and take the continuation of the Downs Link, a narrow path that runs immediately to the right of a house and its driveway. NOTE: This path can be quite boggy. If you find it impassable, you can return to the road, turn right (in front of the house) for a short distance then turn right into the Chinthurst Hill car park entrance drive.

Otherwise, follow this (boggy) path ahead until you see the car park through the trees on your left. Keep ahead for a short distance further to a path junction, turn left and this side branch will lead you directly back to the car park where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


3 comments for "Chinthurst Hill and The Grantley Arms"

Really enjoyed the walk. Beautiful scenery - recommend even with the climbs.

By Saralb on 22 Apr 2017

Lovely, varied walk. Great views from Chinthurst Hill and interesting trail on disused railway line.

By meggreen on 09 May 2017

lovely walk with the children despite the weather. The pigs are no longer at Chinthurst Hill 😭

By Stephen+Kiley on 30 Aug 2017

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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