Flooded Field

Chantries Hills in the background

17-Jan-10 • rootebeete on Flickr

england tree river flood surrey guildford wye swcwalks book3walk57

St Martha-on-the-Hill

17-Jan-10 • rootebeete on Flickr

england church surrey swcwalks stmarthaonthehill book3walk57

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29-Sep-10 • Moon Brain on Flickr

book3 swcwalks walk57

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29-Sep-10 • Moon Brain on Flickr

book3 swcwalks walk57

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29-Sep-10 • Moon Brain on Flickr

book3 swcwalks walk57

Guildford via Chantries Hill Circular walk

Chantries Hill and the North Downs Way to St Marthas Church (viewpoint). Albery for lunch, returning via mixed woods and the tranquil Wey navigation to Guildford.

Length

Main walk: 20.3km (12.6 miles)

a) Guildford Circular via Chilworth: 17.1km (10.6 miles)

b) Short cut through the woods: saves 1km (0.6 miles)

c) Chilworth to Guildford: 14km (8.7 miles)

d) Guildford to Chilworth: 13.1km (8.1 miles)

e) Guildford to Shalford: 17.5km (10.9 miles)

f) Chilworth to Shalford: 11.2km (6.9 miles)

g) Guildford to Chilworth short: 7.9km (4.9 miles)

Toughness

4 out of 10: two extended hill climbs near the start: otherwise fairly gentle gradients

Maps

Explorer 145, Landranger 186

Walk notes

The walk explores pleasantly hilly scenery in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It starts on the tranquil River Wey Navigation, briefly follows the North Downs Way, and then veers off up to climb the wooded Chantries Hill for fine escarpment views at the top. The hill has extensive bluebell woods in late April/early May, and glorious golden beech colours in autumn. You then rejoin the North Downs Way to climb to the hilltop church of St Martha’s, and descend from the escarpment to lunch in the pretty village of Albury.

In the afternoon, you are in somewhat different terrain – sandy heathlands and woods around the village of Blackheath. Finally you descend by an easy track through Tangley Manor for a further stretch along the River Wey into Guildford.

While it is not mud-free, the sandy soils in the first two thirds of this walk mean that it is drier underfoot in winter than many other walks.

Walk options

a) Guildford Circular via Chilworth. You can cut out the lunch pub in Albury to create a shorter walk of 17.1km (10.6 miles). There are two ways to do this (see next page), depending on whether you want to have a pub lunch or not:

  • i) Short cut via the Downs Link. There is no pub lunch on this option, but unlike option ii) below it avoids road walking altogether and crosses an interesting area of heathland managed by the National Trust. There is a good picnic spot about halfway.
  • ii) Short cut via the Percy Arms. This takes you through an interesting area along the Tillingbourne River that was once the site of a gunpowder factory and is now managed as a nature reserve, before delivering you to the Percy Arms, a possible lunch stop. After lunch there is an 500 metre stretch along a quiet, but not traffic-free, road on which some care may be needed.

    b) Short cut through the woods. This direct path through the woods saves only 1km (0.6 miles) and cuts out Chilworth and a pleasant valley section of the walk, but it is perhaps useful if you are in a hurry to get to lunch in Albury, or in late autumn, when it has fine beech colour.

    c) Chilworth to Guildford. You can start at Chilworth station, just below the hill on which St Martha’s Church stands. This allows you to cut 6.3km (3.9 miles) off the start of the walk, making a total walk of 14km (8.7 miles), and gets you to the lunch pub in Albury very soon after starting. However, you miss out the viewpoints of Chantries Hill and St Martha’s Hill.

    d) Guildford to Chilworth. An afternoon shortcut to Chilworth station cuts the walk to 13.1km (8.1 miles), with the Percy Arms as a possible tea stop.

    d) Guildford to Shalford and Shalford tea options. This alternative route enables you to finish at Shalford station, shortening the walk to 17.5km (10.9 miles). Or, if you still plan to walk to Guildford, it gives you access to to some tea and pub options in an attractive village before taking you back onto the main walk route via the pretty Shalford watermeadows: this adds 0.8km (0.5 miles) to the walk distance.

    f) Chilworth to Shalford. Using the option c) start and option e) ending this makes a walk of 11.2 km (6.9 miles), with a relatively early lunch stop in Albury after 2.8km (1.7 miles).

    g) Guildford to Chilworth short walk via Chantries Hill and St Martha's Hill: a very scenic walk of 7.9km (4.9 miles). Refreshments only at the start and finish.

  • Transport

    Guildford is reached by frequent trains from Waterloo (usually at least four an hour), whose final destination is usually Portsmouth or Haslemere. Avoid the slow trains via Clandon or Effingham Junction. Catch a train from Waterloo about 9.30am to start the walk at around 10.00am.

    If doing options c), d), f) or g) trains to or from Chilworth are only every two hours. You can reach London from here via Guildford or Redhill - both are usually equally quick. To do options c) or f) and get to lunch in Albury in time, trains from Waterloo or Victoria at 11.00 are the only viable choice Monday to Saturday. On Sunday you can choose between a 10.00 and 12.00 departure from Waterloo.

    Another option from Chilworth is the number 32 bus runs roughly hourly from Chilworth station (same side of road, ie the opposite side of the road to the Percy Arms) to Guildford until around 7pm Monday to Saturday, journey time 16 minutes. On Sunday buses are only every two hours and the last bus is just before 6pm.

    From Shalford (option e) trains to Guildford are hourly. There are also several bus routes into Guildford, with one continuing hourly into the evening.

    Lunch

    The Drummond at Albury (01483 202 039 www.thedrummondarms.co.uk) 9.1km (5.6 miles) into the main walk, or 2.8km (1.7 miles) if you start from Chilworth, is a large and pleasant pub serving both restaurant-style meals and cheaper bar classics. It has a garden with outside tables by the river. Food is served 12-3pm and 6-9pm Monday to Friday, but all afternoon on Saturday and Sunday.

    The Percy Arms in Chilworth (01483 561 765 www.thepercyarms.net), 7.9km (4.9 miles) into the walk, is a possible alternative on option aii) the Shortcut via Chilworth, but can also be reached by a 1.6km (1 mile) diversion off the main walk.

    Tea

    Guildford has lots of options, but a surprisingly nice choice is the self-service restaurant of Debenhams, which has an excellent selection of cakes, a beautiful view overlooking the River Wey and an outside terrace.

    Otherwise, explore up the town’s picturesque high street. As a backstop, there is a decent-sized and quite pleasant Costa Coffee at Guildford station that opens well into the evening.

    Earlier tea options include the Percy Arms in Chilworth (see lunch) and also the Queen Victoria and Seahorse pubs in Shalford, the former a more traditional pub and the latter a more stylish modern one. Shalford also has a tea room, the Snooty Fox, but this closes at 4.30pm daily

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    Oct-18

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