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Shalford Park, North Downs and Loseley Park

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Shalford Park, North Downs and Loseley Park
Author: Claire, Published: 06 Jun 2017 Walk Rating:star1 Shalford Park, North Downs and Loseley Park Walking Guide star1 Shalford Park, North Downs and Loseley Park Walking Guide star1 Shalford Park, North Downs and Loseley Park Walking Guide star1 Shalford Park, North Downs and Loseley Park Walking Guide star1 Shalford Park, North Downs and Loseley Park Walking Guide
Surrey, Guildford
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Shalford Park, North Downs and Loseley Park
Length: 7 miles,  Difficulty: boot Shalford Park, North Downs and Loseley Park Walking Guide boot Shalford Park, North Downs and Loseley Park Walking Guide boot Shalford Park, North Downs and Loseley Park Walking Guide
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A 7 mile (can be shortened to 6 miles) circular walk starting just south of Guildford in Surrey. This route follows a stretch of the North Downs Way, but don’t think this means hills, open spaces and long-reaching views. Instead, this walk is characterised by tree-lined and narrow hedge-lined quiet paths that lead you to a wonderful range of surprises along the way. There are water meadows, a river, stunning woodlands, an art gallery, horse training and police training facilities, a stately home, a canal and a water mill.

The route has several steady gradients but there is nothing too steep or too long. Several stretches of path are very narrow and so are prone to becoming overgrown in the summer – the paths are well-used so will usually be passable, but long trousers are recommended to protect you from the nettles. Some of the woodland bridleways can be muddy so boots are a must. Most of the paths are fenced away from the fields, but you will cross one paddock (out of use at the time of writing, but it could hold ponies in the future) and also the Shalford Water Meadows, where a handful of conservation cattle are used for grazing in the summer months (the six cows present when we walked through with our dog didn’t even seem to notice us, and there is usually plenty of space to give them a wide berth). You will need to negotiate several flights of steps, footbridges, kissing gates and one stile (which has a very large gap alongside for dogs to walk through). There is no road walking, but you will need to cross busy roads a few times. Allow 4 hours.

The walk starts at the car park for Chantry Wood, between Guildford and Shalford. Leave Guildford heading south on the A281 and, when you draw level with Shalford Park on your right, turn left into Pilgrims Way. Where the road bears left, turn right into the access track for Chantry Wood and you will find the free, stone-surfaced car park on your left (with space for about 20 cars). Approximate post code GU4 8AD. If the car park is full, there is alternative roadside parking. Head back along Pilgrims Way (towards the A281) and then turn left into Clifford Manor Road. The roadside parking here is limited to 4 hours Mon-Sat (unlimited on Sundays), which should give you time to complete the walk. The post code for this overflow parking is GU4 8AG. If you are coming by train, Shalford rail station is just a 2-minute walk from Waypoint 9, the road junction between Station Row and the A281.

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Walk Sections

Start to River Wey
Start to River Wey

Start point: 51.2256 lat, -0.564 long
End point: 51.225 lat, -0.5767 long

Leave the Chantry Wood car park via the vehicle entrance and turn right long the entrance track to reach the road, Pilgrims Way. Cross to the far pavement and turn left along this, following the road downhill to reach the T-junction with the A281 Shalford Road. Cross over the main road with care (there is a crossing point just to your right) and go straight ahead to enter Shalford Park, signed as the North Downs Way.

Go straight ahead across the grass, signed to St Catherine’s Chapel. Follow the path through a belt of trees and through a gate to enter Shalford Water Meadows (where you may come across conservation cattle at times). Keep ahead on the main path through the meadows, crossing a small stream to reach the River Wey ahead.

River Wey to Piccards Manor
River Wey to Piccards Manor

Start point: 51.225 lat, -0.5767 long
End point: 51.2255 lat, -0.5822 long

Turn left along the river bank and then turn right to cross the tall river footbridge via the flights of steps. At the bottom of the far steps, go straight ahead to follow the riverbank with the river on your right. After just 50 metres you will come to a Victorian stone grotto on your left, built around a natural spring. This marks the bottom of Ferry Lane.

Turn left at this point, passing the grotto, and follow Ferry Lane leading you steeply uphill. At the top of the hill, go ahead to cross the rail bridge and continue ahead on the quiet lane to reach a crossroads with the A3100. Turn right along the pavement and then cross over the road with care to take the first left, Sandy Lane (there is a subtle North Downs Way sign attached to one of the traffic signs). Follow the pavement of Sandy Lane ahead and bearing slightly left then, soon afterwards and immediately before Manor Cottage, turn right onto the tarmac access track (passing Piccards Manor on your right).

Piccards Manor to West Warren
Piccards Manor to West Warren

Start point: 51.2255 lat, -0.5822 long
End point: 51.2222 lat, -0.6091 long

This track soon dwindles to become a path with a tall hedgerow on your left and a rough field on your right. The path continues through trees and later widens to become a track once again, leading you between the buildings of Piccards Farm. Simply keep ahead on the access track, leading you ahead between fenced pastures and then swinging left (with glorious views on your left) to reach a fingerpost. Do NOT turn right onto the North Downs Way, instead keep ahead for a further 40 paces and then turn right onto the signed public bridleway.

Follow this pretty sunken path leading you through the woodland. This long stretch of bridleway leads you through the section of woodland known as East Warren. Towards the end, the path becomes sandy and then merges with a wider track (if you glance to your right at this point, you will notice a North Downs waymarker, as this is the point we merge once again with the North Downs Way). Do NOT turn right towards the marker, instead simply keep ahead on the broader track. This path leads you into the next section of woodland, known as West Warren.

West Warren to Watts Gallery
West Warren to Watts Gallery

Start point: 51.2222 lat, -0.6091 long
End point: 51.2207 lat, -0.6302 long

Keep ahead on the woodland bridleway, soon a sunken path between pretty banks. At the far end of West Warren, you will come to a fingerpost marking a junction of paths. Here you have two choices.

If you wish to follow the shorter (6 mile) version of this walk, turn left here and follow the bridleway until you emerge to a junction with a small lane, alongside Little Polsted. At this point, skip ahead to the directions in the section called ‘Little Polsted to Loseley Crossroads’.

For the full walk, go straight ahead and follow the sunken path leading you steadily downhill. You will emerge alongside some farm buildings. Keep straight ahead to join the access track leading you between the buildings and then continuing between hedgerows. After 700 metres, you will come to a junction with the road. On your right is a beautiful pond and just behind this is the entrance for the Watts Gallery.

Watts Gallery is an Artist’s Village dedicated to celebrating the work of the Victorian-era painter and sculptor George Frederic Watts (known as England’s Michelangelo) and his artist wife Mary Watts. The couple themselves commissioned an Arts and Craft architect to build their house and gallery here in Compton and the gallery opened in 1904, only three months before GF Watts sadly died. Today the gallery continues to celebrate his work and the public can also visit the stunning Watts Chapel and enjoy tours of the house. Entrance fees apply, but there is no fee to visit the Tea Rooms and the Chapel.

Watts Gallery to Little Polsted
Watts Gallery to Little Polsted

Start point: 51.2207 lat, -0.6302 long
End point: 51.2187 lat, -0.6177 long

At this point we leave the North Downs Way to begin our return journey. Turn left along the road edge (there is a painted walkway for pedestrians) for just 30 metres and then turn left onto the signed public footpath, a narrow path with a tall wooden fence running on your right. Stay alongside the right-hand fence as the path leads you uphill and then back down, before continuing ahead through woodland with wire fences each side.

This path leads you to a gate ahead, with a horse training facility on your right (we had to cross a fallen tree just before this gate, but we have reported the problem). Go through the gate, turn right down the slope and then turn immediately left to join the concrete driveway, with the horse menage and other facilities on your right. At the end of the paddocks (with a wide metal gate ahead), turn right, passing through a kissing gate and you will see a choice of two paths. Take the left-hand path (which continues in the same direction as the driveway you just walked along).

The narrow, unmade path leads you through a rough meadow, with a tall hedgerow across to your left. Two-thirds of the way along the meadow, the path veers left to follow an enclosed stretch with wire fences each side (this stretch is particularly prone to being overgrown in summer but it isn’t too long). You will pass a couple of houses on your right before descending a set of steps to reach a T-junction with a sunken bridleway. Turn right along this and you will emerge to a junction with a small lane, with Little Polsted on your right.

Little Polsted to Loseley Crossroads
Little Polsted to Loseley Crossroads

Start point: 51.2187 lat, -0.6177 long
End point: 51.2184 lat, -0.6078 long

Turn left at this junction, to join the stone track signed as a public footpath. Pass through the gap to the right of a wide metal gate and continue ahead along the stone track. Further along you will pass Polsted Lodge on your left. Pass through the gate ahead and continue on the stone track to reach the next wide gate (marked Private). This marks the boundary of Loseley Park.

Turn left here to follow the signed footpath, another narrow stretch of enclosed path. As the hedgerow on your right dwindles away, take a moment to look over your right shoulder for the first glimpse of Loseley House. Continue along the path, passing a few magnificent oak trees and then bending right to continue along the top boundary of the park. The path emerges to a crossroads with one of the park’s access tracks, with a stile ahead and the park and house to your right.

Loseley Crossroads to Littleton Lane
Loseley Crossroads to Littleton Lane

Start point: 51.2184 lat, -0.6078 long
End point: 51.2193 lat, -0.5955 long

Cross the stile (it has a walk-through fence gap for dogs) and follow the grass path ahead, leading you along the right-hand edge of this large grass meadow, with excellent views of the manor house and parkland on your right.

Loseley Park is a historic manor house which has been owned by the same family since the 1500s. The present house dates from the 1560s and was built using stone from the ruins of Waverley Abbey. With a panelled Great Hall and a Tithe Barn with ancient oak beams, today it is a popular venue for weddings and events. The house has been used as a location for several film and TV productions, including episodes of Midsomer Murders and Miss Marple, the TV adaptations of Sense and Sensibility and Emma, and the 2016 Netflix series called The Crown.

You will come to a metal kissing gate ahead and you have two choices. The official right-of-way bears left to continue along the edge of the large meadow, however there is a permissive footpath you can take by going through the kissing gate and walking between the meadow (on your left) and the lake (on your right). Either way, continue to the end of this first meadow and go through the kissing gate or farm gate to enter a second meadow.

Follow the grass track which leads you straight through the centre of this second meadow. At the far side, the track leads you through an open gateway and continues across a third meadow. At the end, pass through the metal kissing gate and keep ahead to join the track between houses to reach a junction with the road, Littleton Lane.

Littleton Lane to St Catherine's Lock
Littleton Lane to St Catherine's Lock

Start point: 51.2193 lat, -0.5955 long
End point: 51.22 lat, -0.5756 long

Cross over and go straight ahead to continue on the track opposite (signed as a public footpath). The tarmac track dwindles to a grass path and, after about 400 metres, you will reach a waymarker within the hedge on your right. Ignore the left-turn here, instead stay straight ahead on the main footpath. Soon after, you will reach a bench on your left, perfectly placed to enjoy the views of the woodland hills that have now opened up on your right. Keep ahead on the path, staying close to the fence on your left. The buildings on your left are Mount Browne.

Mount Browne is the current headquarters of Surrey Police. The facility houses a museum, training facilities and administration facilities including occupational health. You may notice some of the fitness training equipment within the grounds (both for human and canine recruits!).

Continue ahead on the narrow path and you will emerge into an access road, with the Mount Browne vehicle entrance on your left. Go straight ahead to join the pavement and follow this to the T-junction with the A3100.

Turn left along the pavement and, just after passing the bus stop on the far side of the road, cross over with care to turn right onto the signed public footpath (passing alongside a black vehicle barrier). Follow the rough tarmac and stone track which leads you through a tunnel beneath the railway to reach the Wey Navigation ahead, at St Catherine’s Lock.

St Catherine's Lock to Station Row
St Catherine's Lock to Station Row

Start point: 51.22 lat, -0.5756 long
End point: 51.2156 lat, -0.5674 long

Go straight ahead to cross the canal bridge and stay with the stone track as it swings right then left to cross a second bridge over a weir. Pass through the kissing gate to enter Shalford Water Meadows (where once again you may come across conservation cattle). Stay with the stone track leading you through the meadow. As you approach a wooden gate ahead, turn right across the grass to reach the canal, and then turn left through the gate to join the canal’s towpath.

The path leads you over a large weir where the River Wey (on your left) and the Wey Navigation canal (on your right) merge. At the far side of the weir, continue ahead on the path through the meadow with the River Wey running on your left. NOTE: This is another section of water meadow so there may be conservation cattle here. At the top of this stretch of path you will reach a fork. Take the right-hand branch which joins a boardwalk, passing a Birds of the Fen information board on your right.

At the end of the boardwalk, keep ahead to climb the grass steps up to the kissing gate at the top of the meadows. Pass through this gate, go ahead for a few paces to reach a T-junction with a bridleway. Turn right and then immediately left to join the narrow footpath between garden fences (marked with a yellow arrow). You will emerge to the turning circle at the end of a residential road. Go straight ahead and, where the road bends left, turn right to join the signed public footpath. The path leads you past the pretty small church, before emerging down steps to a junction with the main A281 road in Shalford, opposite Station Row.

Station Row to End
Station Row to End

Start point: 51.2156 lat, -0.5674 long
End point: 51.2257 lat, -0.5641 long

Cross over to the far pavement and turn left along this, heading north on the right-hand pavement of the A281. (NOTE: If the road is too busy to cross, just follow the left-hand pavement and there is a crossing with traffic lights just beyond the point where we will be turning right off this main road.)

(ARRIVING BY TRAIN: If you are starting the walk from Shalford rail station, exit to the north and follow Station Row past the Queen Victoria. At the end of Station Row, keep ahead to join the right-hand pavement heading north along the A281).

Cross a couple of side roads and pass under the arch formed by the house which has a cantilevered first-floor room, sitting above the pavement. 100 metres before you reach the traffic lights for the pedestrian crossing, turn right onto the side lane signed as a public footpath to Shalford Mill. The lane leads you directly to the mill.

Shalford Mill sits on the Tillingbourne stream and is as much a part of the medieval village as the church or pub. The present flour mill dates from about 1750, but the Domesday Book records a mill on this site back in 1086. The building is particularly beautiful, with ornate red tiles forming a tile-hung facade. Today, the mill is owned by the National Trust and is open to the public on Wednesdays and Sundays in the summer months (entrance fees apply).

Pass just to the right of the mill building, to cross the footbridge over the Tillingbourne. Continue ahead on the stone path between fences, go up some steps and pass through a metal gate to enter a paddock (this was empty when we walked but may hold horses). Keep straight ahead on the obvious path with a wire fence on your left. At the end of the path, do NOT head for the metal gate, instead hold your line to exit the field past an old stile (about 20 metres to the left of the gate) to reach a lane.

Turn right and then immediately left into the side road, passing the property called Shepherd’s Way on your left. The road dwindles to a hedge-lined path which then emerges out to a road. Follow this as it bends left then, immediately afterwards, turn right by the yellow grit bin to join the next stretch of narrow footpath. Keep ahead on this path, climbing steadily, and at the end you will see a North Downs Way fingerpost ahead. This fingerpost sits immediately alongside the car park where your 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.


2 comments for "Shalford Park, North Downs and Loseley Park"

Went for the 6 mile and it was lovely,bit overgrown with lots of stinging nettles but well worth a few stings!

By dot1971 on 10 Jun 2017

Just going to say the same. Wear long trousers, my husband had shorts on ab found the return leg a challenge. Otherwise loved the walk, lots of interesting features.

ADMIN RESPONSE: Remember to always read the walk introduction, this one clearly states that trousers are recommended to protect you against nettles...

By staceym on 11 Jun 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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