TOCW1 Walk 14 : Gomshall to Guildford
Historic Shere, then a walk through a broad wooded valley, then along a canal to historic Guildford
Updates: Lunch pub closed
New Options: None
Blackheath forest & River Wey
|Length||15.6 km (9.7 miles), 3 hours 50 minutes. For the whole outing, including trains, sights and meals, allow 7 hours 30 minutes.|
|Toughness||3 out of 10.|
|OS Maps||Explorer 145 or Landrangers 186 & 187. Gomshall, map reference TQ 089 477, is in Surrey, 10km east of Guildford.|
|Features||There is much that is ancient, beautiful and surprising to be enjoyed on this walk. It starts in Gomshall, passing some of the pleasant buildings on its outskirts, before crossing fields to the interesting church and village of Shere on the Tilling Bourne stream, a place packed full of fifteenth and sixteenth-century timber-framed buildings. Then the walk continues past massive gnarled trees in Albury Park and through the pine woods of Blackheath Common, From there, the route follows the Downs Link path and the River Wey into Guildford for tea at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre. Short stretches of the Downs Link can be muddy.|
|Walk Options||You could call a taxi from the lunchtime pub. Or at the double asterisk [**], map point 11 go along the A248, to catch a train back to London from Shalford.|
Gomshall Station is where it is because, in the 1840s, the site for a railway station was decided on a given day by whichever shortlisted spot had the greatest number of people waiting. The publican at the Black Horse, Gomshall, provided free beer for those willing to wait at his site, as he wanted the station to be at Gomshall.
Gomshall is detailed in the Domesday Book (1086) as having 'land for 20 ploughs, 30 villagers, 8 smallholders with 18 ploughs, 6 slaves'. Of Shere, it reports: 'Queen Edith held it. Now it does not pay tax - 19 villagers and 6 smallholders with 12 ploughs. A church. 6 slaves.' By the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it had grown into a small township of perhaps 40 houses (most of which remain today) housing blacksmiths, wheelwrights, weavers and tailors.
St James' Church, Shere, was built in 1190 (but its lychgate was designed by the architect Edwin Lutyens). It is a rare example of a church in the Early English Transitional Style (with the round Norman arches giving way to pointed ones). The nave pews have numbers - at one time people paid rent to the church for them.
In 1329, anchoress Christine Carpenter was enclosed in a cell on the north wall of the church (receiving food through a grating on the outside wall) for three years. She then returned to the world before petitioning to be re-enclosed. The bishop consented: 'The said Christine shall be thrust back into the said enclosure that she may learn how nefarious was her committed sin.'
The Alms Chest in the church dates from about 1200 and was used to collect money for the crusades fought in the Holy Land.
Trains to Gomshall whether departing from London Bridge (changing at Redhill) or from Waterloo (changing at Guildford) are very infrequent so you will have to decide whether to make an early start around 9.00 am or a late one nearer 11.00 am. Journey time by either route is a little over one hour. Returning, there are frequent trains from Guildford to London, 34-40 minutes if you catch a fast one (avoid the stopping trains which take twice as long). Whether to buy a day return to Gomshall or to Guildford depends on your departure station; consult station staff.
If driving, there are direct but infrequent trains between Guildford and Gomshall. Guildford station is closer to London and has a large car park, but you can park near Gomshall station for free.
The book's suggested pub, the Villagers, is closed. If you take a later train, the suggested pub is the William IV (tel 01483 202 685) at Albury Heath which serves food from midday to 2.00 pm daily, to 2.30 on Sundays. Refreshments could also be taken earlier in a pub or tea shop in Shere.
|Tea||The suggested tea place in Guildford is the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre (tel 01483 569 334), open Monday to Saturday from 10.00 am to 11.00 pm. For Sundays the suggested place is the White House pub (tel 01483 302 006), close to the river and St Nicholas Church, which is open all day, every day.|
Lunch pub closed See Updates & Comments.
If you have an old (pre 2010) edition of the book, we recommend you use the online version.
After the walk, we would really appreciate your comments
Out: (not a train station)
Back: (not a train station)
Start: GU5 9NX at 4pm
Finish: GU1 4UT at 10am
National Rail Enquires: 08457 48 49 50 • Travelline South East (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (10p/min from landlines) • Transport for London: 0343 222 1234
Mar-16 This is the fully revised version in the current 2011 edition of the book.
|Copyright||© Saturday Walkers Club. All Rights Reserved. No commercial use. No copying. No derivatives. Free with attribution for one time non-commercial use only. www.walkingclub.org.uk/site/license.shtml|
The [numbers] refer to a sketch map which is only in the book.
-  Leave Gomshall Station from platform 1 (the side with the caravans on display) and turn left downhill on the station approach road, your direction 240°.
- In 110 metres at the T-junction with the A25, cross over and turn left under the bridge using the pedestrian tunnel on the right, your direction 155°.
- 10 metres past the bridge, go right on the signposted public footpath, a lane called Wonham Way, your direction 225°.
- In 80 metres go across a bridge over the Tilling Bourne stream. In a further 80 metres you pass a house called Badgers Oak on your left.
-  In a further 50 metres turn right on an unmarked bridleway (just before the gateway of Twiga Lodge and with the bridleway parallel to an earth farm road on its left), your direction 265°.
- In 200 metres you pass a manor house on your right and a farm on your left.
- In 40 metres at a road T-junction turn right and in 20 metres go back under the railway line.
- In 10 metres at a car road T-junction by a house (number 4), turn left, your direction 290°.
- Ignore ways off and in a further 190 metres, at the T-junction, go to the right of the grass triangle, cross over the road and continue more or less straight on along Gravelpits Lane, your direction 295°, on a signposted public bridleway. In 35 metres the lane swings left, your direction 220°.
-  In a further 65 metres at a junction of paths, take the bridleway to your right, with Gravel Pits Farmhouse on your left, your direction 290°.
- Keep to the path, ignoring ways off. You can see Netley manor house (as marked on the OS map) to your right, northwards.
- In 500 metres at the corner of a field, with a footpath post on your right, turn right through a swing gate, downwards on a minor path towards the church, your direction 310°.
- In 120 metres you come out through another wooden swing gate and keep straight on along the car road, your direction 290°, past the Church of St James, Shere on your right-hand side (a church that is well worth a visit).
-  In 100 metres your onward route is to cross over the main road (slightly to the right) to continue on Lower Street, with the stream on your right, your direction 305°. (But you might like to explore the village a bit first by turning right over the stream into Middle Street.)
- Continuing on, in 80 metres ignore the Orchard Road turning on the left. Go straight on, past the sign saying "No entry except for access". In 20 metres you pass The Old Prison House on the left.
- In a further 65 metres with Summerdown Cottage on your left and a ford and footbridge on your right, carry straight on, along a signposted public footpath, your direction 250°, the river still on the right.
- In 90 metres ignore a turning on the right across the river. In 20 metres you come to a wooden swing gate on the right. Go through it to continue ahead, the river still on your right and your direction 250°.
-  In 110 metres go through another wooden swing gate (it has another ford and wooden footbridge on its right) and turn half left to cross a trail and go through a kissing gate ahead. Continue through parkland on a wide grassy path with fences on both sides, your direction 205°.
- In 600 metres exit the park through a wooden swing gate with South Lodge on your right and go across the car road (slightly to your left) to continue on an earth car road, your direction 170° .
- Go straight on for 220 metres, passing several houses on your right-hand side. You will reach a road where you turn right. In 20 metres you come to the William IV pub, Albury Heath, on your right, the suggested place for lunch if you made a later start. Coming out of the pub after lunch turn right along the road.
- If not stopping at the pub continue along the road. In 225 metres go under the railway bridge, ignoring footpaths to the right and left, to continue on the car road.
- In 320 metres you come to a car road T-junction and turn left , signposted to Farley Green, your direction due south.
- In 45 metres turn right onto a broad track, signposted as a public footpath and also “Surrey Hacking Centre”, your direction 215°.
- In 40 metres you pass the horse-riding centre on your right. Continue on uphill and slightly to the right. In a further 50 metres keep straight on across a track.
-  In a further 70 metres where the track bends left go right, following a footpath sign, along an enclosed path with a fence on your left and hedge on the right, your direction 265°.
- In 340 metres go over a stile and continue along the field with a fence on your right, towards woodland ahead.
-  In 60 metres cross another stile to enter the wood, marked Blackheath on the OS map. Keep straight on this path, ignoring ways off.
- In 210 metres go over a stile. In 25 metres at a junction of paths, keep straight on (the footpath post is numbered 235), your direction 285°.
- [!] In a further 160 metres you come to a multiple path junction in a large open area. Imagine this space as a road junction roundabout and take the second left path (this is narrow while the third left is within a metre of it and broader), your direction 245°.
- In 40 metres your way merges with one on your right. Continue on, your direction now 205°.
- In 40 metres you come to a T-junction with a wide bridleway, with a blue arrow on a post pointing right. Here you turn right, your direction 280°. Your way goes straight off into the distance, almost as straight as a Roman road.
- Ignore all ways off through Blackheath Common. In 1.2 km keep straight on through a car park.
- The other side of the car park, with some houses on your left, continue ahead on the tarmac road (Blackheath Lane), your direction 255°. In 145 metres you come to the (closed as of Dec'14) Villagers pub on your right, the suggested lunchtime stop if you took an early train.
- After lunch, turn right out of the pub into its car park and cross it veering to the right to enter a path marked with a blue-painted post, your direction 305°.
- In 100 metres take the left fork marked by a blue-painted post, your direction 295°. In a further 80 metres you pass a house on your left.
-  In 55 metres cross over a car road to continue straight on, following a footpath sign, your direction still 295°. In 70 metres cross over a path to continue on.
- In 25 metres you come to a T-junction with an unasphalted car lane marked Downs Link and you turn left, your direction 280°. In a further 80 metres you pass Tangley Way, wooden buildings round a courtyard, on your left.
- In 120 metres keep straight on at a junction, passing a large wooden gate on your left, your direction 295°.
- In a further 360 metres the village of Chilworth is visible away to your right. In another 280 metres you pass two large hay barns on your right.
- In 45 metres you come to a T-junction where you continue to the left (virtually straight on), your direction 280°. You can glimpse Great Tangley Manor House through the hedging on your right. In 80 metres you pass the entrance drive of this house.
- 240 metres further along the lane, with a car road T-junction 40 metres ahead, turn right at a three-armed wooden sign saying "Downs Link", your direction 305°. This stretch can be muddy.
- Until the asterisk [*] below, your route is to follow the Downs Link.
- In more detail: Ignoring ways off, in 160 metres cross over a car road to continue on a bridleway marked "Downs Link", your direction 245° initially .
- In 20 metres ignore a path to the right to continue on past a house on your left through another potentially muddy zone. In 280 metres you pass a post informing you that the South Downs Way is 305 metres ahead. Continue 30 metres to the path junction.
- At this point you could detour to the Tower - a nineteenth century folly - and Chinthurst Hill for a good view. Go straight ahead uphill and up some steps. Ahead is a footpath post signed to the Tower. Follow a series of footpath signs to go steadily uphill to the top. Then retrace your route back to the path junction.
- Continuing the main route, turn right on the Downs Link bridleway, your direction 255° (or if coming back from Chinthurst Hill, turn left).
- In 345 metres ignore a stile and footpath off to the right and continue downhill on a left bend with the main path, your direction 200°. Visible ahead of you are the outskirts of Shalford village.
- In 345 metres, amid more potential mud, you pass Southlands with its horses on your left and come down to a car road. Cross it to continue ahead along a tarmac road, Tannery Lane, signposted Downs Link, your direction 225°.
- In 20 metres by a Downs Link post, go up left on a tarmac path towards a pair of houses where you turn right. In 40 metres cross Drodges Close to continue on the tarmac path to the left of the phonebox, parallel to the road below you on the right.
- In 80 metres go down to the left of the bridge and in 20 metres fork right to go over a mini-bridge which is below and to the left of the main bridge.
- [*] You come to a path T-junction. Go right, under the bridge on a clear path, your direction 330°, with industrial buildings on your right and the River Wey on your left.
- Here you can choose to pick up the meandering path closer to the river on the left although it may be overgrown with nettles in summer. After 265 metres it crosses a side stream on some concrete bars - at this point it is best to return to the main path.
- 345 metres on from the concrete bars, continue on the main path on a bridge crossing the river and keep straight on towards the A281, reaching it in 65 metres.
- Turn right on the pavement of this A road and in 35 metres cross the bridge over the river. After 80 metres, with Somerswey Cul-de-Sac on your right, cross the road. 10 metres beyond a brick wall on the left, turn left on a signed path, your direction 310°.
- In 180 metres you emerge from the path with Wharf Cottages at your left. Continue ahead along a tarmac path, your direction 300°.
- In 80 metres continue on a gravel path with an extensive office and industrial estate on your right. In a further 145 metres you come to the A248 and a bridge . [**] If you want to end the walk at this point, go right on the A248 to the station at Shalford.
- For the main route, go left over the bridge and immediately right to pick up the riverbank path on the other side by the National Trust sign, your direction 335°. The River Wey is now on your right.
- Keep straight on along the riverbank, ignoring all ways off, in due course going under a pair of bridges, passing St Catherine’s Lock and eventually going under another bridge.
- After 2.5 km of this riverbank walk, the path crosses a mini-weir by a bridge. Immediately turn left with this branch of the river now on your left, your direction 350° .
- In 150 metres go over a bridge with metal railings and another mini-weir. Now the canal is on your right and the river on your left.
- In 80 metres you reach Millmead Lock. For tea at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, go right over a bridge. In 70 metres you come out to the entrance of the building. After tea, turn right out of the theatre to return to Millmead Lock and go straight on. In 25 metres cross another bridge.
- If not going to tea at the theatre, turn left at Millmead Lock and cross the bridge.
- T urn right with the river now on your right-hand side, your direction 335°.
- In 130 metres fork right off the car road to follow the riverside terrace path. In 75 metres, by the bridge, bear left with the path up beside the White House pub on your left; this is an alternative tea stop.
- With St Nicholas Church ahead, turn right, following the pedestrian sign to the station. Continue along the path to go under the bridge, then ahead up a short flight of steps. T urn left at the top, soon reaching the main road where you turn right.
- In 50 metres you come to an underpass which takes you to Guildford Station on the other side of the road for trains back to London.