Ash Vale to Worplesdon walk

The Basingstoke Canal, Ash Ranges (Remote, hilly MOD land with unrestricted access), Cobbett Hill and Whitmoor Common.


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Updated: Tue, 29-Jan-19

Date # Post
Sat, 02-Feb-19

Saturday walk - Ash Vale to Worplesdon - Canals, Heathland and three pubs

Length: 19.8km (12.3 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10

Catch the 9.23 train from Waterloo to Ash Vale, arriving 10.14.

If you miss this, catch the 9.28 Weymouth train and change at Woking, arriving 9.54, departing 10.00. This is also the Clapham Junction option, departing at 9.35.

Buy a day return to Ash Vale. You also technically need a single from Worplesdon to Woking (one stop) on the return leg.

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here (and you also might find the walk's home page useful too). T=3.136

I apologise if the train journey to this walk seems like "deja vue all over again" for those who were on the Farnham to Godalming walk last week: you are indeed taking the same train from Waterloo. But you are getting off a stop earlier and the walk has quite a different character.

You start off along the Basingstoke Canal and then are out on heathland that is used as an army range - but not, the walk notes insist, having any restricted access if you follow the main walk route. On past outings of the walk there have been some issues following the directions on this section, but in this GPX era maybe that will be less of a problem. Stick to someone with a gizmo, is my advice.

If there is no firing at all on the army ranges, a shortcut across them is possible: how much this saves is not specified.

Otherwise, it is back to the canal and then into more normal rural territory to arrive at the lunch pub, the Royal Oak in Purbright. This is 7.2 miles into the walk, but it seems to do food all afternoon.

There is also a later lunch option in another 2.4 miles, the White Lyon and Dragon, which does Thai food. Alternatively this could act as your tea stop (it is open all afternoon), allowing you to go straight to Worplesdon station in another 2.7 miles. For a later tea stop there is the Jolly Farmer in Whitmoor Common: there is a 500 metre diversion to reach this.

At Worplesdon station itself there are no refreshments and trains are only hourly at 14 minutes past the hour. It is a lonely spot, so time your arrival there carefully.
Sat, 09-Dec-17 7

Ash Vale to Worplesdon -- The Basingstoke Canal, Ash Ranges, Cobbit Hill and Whitmoor Common

SWC 136: A varied walk in Surrey skirting the edges of the Ash Ranges outside of the Danger Areas t=swc.136

Train: Take the 9:23 AM Alton train from London Waterloo to Ash Vale (this train does not apparently stop at Clapham Junction), arriving at 10:14 AM. Return trains from Worplesdon are at 40 minutes past the hour until 19:40, then they are at 44 minutes past the hour until 23:44. Buy a day return Ash Vale plus a single from Worplesdon to Woking.

Distance: 12.3 miles (19.8 in new money)

Difficulty: 4 out of 10

This varied walk explores the undulating terrain on the outskirts of the Ash Ranges in Surrey. It includes two short stretches along the Basingstoke Canal in the morning before passing through some woodland and various undulating bits of common land. With any luck this terrain should not be too muddy. Although this walk was posted in June, no report was submitted – so either no one went or those that did enjoyed it so much they wanted to keep it a secret – either way, seemed worthy of another outing. More information and the directions can be found here.

Lunch will be at the Royal Oak in Pirbright (01483 232 466), a village pub with a wide variety of food about 6.5 miles/11.6 km from the start of the walk.

The recommended tea stop is the Jolly Farmer in Whitmoor Common located 1.5 mile/2.5 km from the end of the walk on a 500 meter diversion. The area around Worplsedon Station itself seems a bit sparse in terms of amenities.

Enjoy the walk!
Yes there was a good turnout in June. I haven't got round to updating the directions, but not much had changed.
Paragraph 3 – I think the blue arrow has gone, but the turning is obvious enough.
Paragraph 22 – the important thing here is to keep to the right of all the campus buildings, with a fence and field to your right.
7 set off under bright clear crisp winter skies for a varied and interesting walk which works very well in the winter. The route in the morning followed some very picturesque sections of the Basingstoke Canal portions of which were covered with a thin layer of ice. We then skirted through lightly forested sandy heathlands. Five enjoyed a warming lunch at the pub where the two sandwich eaters joined us to thaw out and eventually to continue together with the walk. Point 22 of the instructions generated some discussion and could benefit from some further refinement... After a slight exploratory detour to a local farm yard, however, we did ultimately continue on piste....It appears the GPX and the written instructions vary somewhat from time to time from this point onwards....After some discussion in the woods, we concluded timings were probably better suited for continuing on the main route by passing the pub. On this section of the route, point 32 generated some further discussion with the group splitting into 2 for the final leg both arriving in good time for the 16:40.
Sat, 03-Jun-17

Ash Vale to Worplesdon

Ash Vale to Worplesdon - SWC Walk 136
12.4 miles/19.8km

The Basingstoke Canal, Ash Ranges (remote, hilly MOD land with unrestricted access), Cobbett Hill and Whitmoor Common.

Trains: Take the 9:23 Alton train from London Waterloo, arriving at Ash Vale at 10:14. If you miss this train, catch the 9:30 Portsmouth Harbour train and change at Woking.
Return trains from Worplesdon are at xx40. Buy a return to Ash Vale, you may also need a single from Worplesdon to Woking at the end of the walk.

Lunch: The Royal Oak, Stanford Common, Pirbright, a popular village pub, reached after 11.6km, food served all day. Tel: 01483 232466.

Later stops at Perry Hill, Worplesdon (15.5km into the walk) are the White Lyon and Dragon, a pub and Thai restaurant, and the Worplesdon Place Pub and Rooms.

The Jolly Farmer, Whitmoor Common, Worplesdon is 17.5km into the walk and requires a small detour, but has a beautiful setting.

Sat, 03-Oct-15 18

Saturday Second Walk - Wooded Surrey heaths and easy fields

SWC walk 136 - Ash Vale to Worplesdon
Length: 19.8 kilometres (12.3 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10

9.23 train from Waterloo (no Clapham Junction stop) to Ash Vale, arrive 10.14

If you miss this, get the 9.30 Portsmouth Harbour train and change at Woking (arrive 9.54, depart 10.00) for the above train.

Buy a day return to Ash Vale, which our resident train guru assures me is valid for return from Worplesdon, contrary to what it says in the walk directions

For walk directions click here.

It is a full two years since this walk had an outing. I seem to remember it was well received at the time, so I am sure it deserves another. The morning up the Basingstoke Canal and then out across the wooded Surrey Heaths, which sometimes require careful navigation. This is MOD land but this walk is entirely out of restricted areas.

11.6km (7.2 miles) of this brings you to the Royal Oak, the lunch time pub, though if this is busy there is an alternative 3.8km (2.4 miles) further on which serves Thai food all afternoon (and a is very nice place, from memory). Its website talks about booking, however, so you might like to check it can accommodate you before relying on it.

The afternoon is different from the morning - more conventional woods and fields as far as I recall. Towards the end there is a short diversion to a possible tea pub. I remember sitting outside it in the sunshine and wondering how much longer the warm weather would last before autumn set in….

The walk ends at isolated Worplesdon station, from where trains go at 40 past the hour. You might like to time your arrival here carefully as there is nothing much in the vicinity if miss one. It is just one stop from this remote fastness to metropolitan Woking, however, and the fleshpots of London beyond.
Hard to print out more than a few pages of the document?
I had no problem! Walk looks good.
Around 18 on this walk in pleasant weather: the sun emerged in the afternoon. Warm enough to sit out in pub garden at lunch. Prompt service. Tricky walking instructions in places. Plenty of armed, but friendly, soldiers running about in the first half of the walk: a regiment competition, rather than a felt need to police the bandits hiking on army land. Most got the 3.40 back to Waterloo. Thanks for putting the walk on.
Mon, 26-Aug-13 Ash to Worplesdon
Sat, 03-Mar-12 Ash Vale to Worplesdon