Christmas Market at RHS Gardens Wisley

17-Dec-16 • quitenearmike on Flickr

swcwalks book3 walk214

The closed footpath

Closure now extended again until 12th August 2017

17-Dec-16 • quitenearmike on Flickr

swcwalks book3 walk214

Walsham Lock Weir

17-Dec-16 • quitenearmike on Flickr

swcwalks book3 walk214

Christmas Decorations

Walsham Lock footbridge

17-Dec-16 • quitenearmike on Flickr

swcwalks book3 walk214

Weyward Lass

17-Dec-16 • quitenearmike on Flickr

swcwalks book3 walk214

Horsley to West Byfleet walk


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: Wed, 08-Jul-20

Date # Post
Sat, 13-Jan-18 30

Saturday walk - Horsley to West Byfleet, with optional Thames extension

Horsley to West Byfleet....or Weybridge
Length: 15.4 km (9.6 miles), with possible 3-4 mile extension to Weybridge
Toughness: 3 out of 10

10.03 train from Waterloo (10.12 Clapham Junction, 10.19 Wimbledon) to Horsley, arriving 10.48.

For walk directions click here, for GPS click here

A day return to Guildford would definitely cover both outward and return journeys. Whether you could persuade the sometimes stern SWT train guards that a Horsley return was valid from West Byfleet I do not know....

This walk made a great pre-Christmas outing in 2016, despite there being a missing footbridge over the river, which we got around some way or other: I forget exactly how: but it may even be fixed by now. I remember a pleasant mix of scenery, including heathland, fields and woods, and despite the map showing a proximity to a motorway at one point, not much traffic noise.

There is a wonderful riverside pub, the Anchor, 12.7km (7.8 miles) into the walk, if you can hold off your hunger pangs that long. It is large and popular but serves food all afternoon and so getting there after the main lunchtime rush may be no disadvantage. The numerically-gifted among you will be aware that it is very close to the end of the walk, so you also don't need to fret about leaving much before dusk. For the same reason this pub would make a good tea stop.

Otherwise, there is the Black Swan reached by a short diversion some 3 miles into the walk at Martyr's Green: I don't know this establishment but from its website it looks to have nice food.

From memory West Byfleet has a cafe or two.

EXTENSION: Judging from the turnout on last week's Knockholt to Otford walk the standard walk may be enough for many of you, but for those wanting a longer walk, the suggestion is to switch at West Byfleet to the West Byfleet to Hampton Court walk and walk the first three miles or so of that to Weybridge. This is an easy walk along canal and riverside paths (though directions, click here, or GPS, click here, might be useful to get you started) and Weybridge has some nice riverside pubs. It is then about a mile to walk through the town to the railway station. No directions provided for this, but Google Maps or passers-by should be able to direct you.

Trains back from West Byfleet are at 27 and 47 past (there are also trains at 06 and 36 past, but these are stopping services, arriving at Waterloo only 5 minutes before the next fast train).

Trains back from Weybridge are at 06 and 36 (slightly faster) or 12 and 42 (slightly slower). T=3.214

30 on this walk on a day that was cloudy but bright at times. Though I say so myself, this proved a good winter pick as it was really remarkably un muddy lots of fairly dry heaths and woods and a canal path that was firm underfoot.

We put our top negotiator onto the job but despite his best efforts the Anchor still said it could not accommodate us, even two tables of six at 2.30pm. So lots went to the early pub which I hear was perfectly satisfactory. A few did squeeze into the Anchor. I fell between two stools, thinking lots had gone on to the Anchor when they had not. In the end three of us ate at the kiosk by the A3, joining two sandwich eaters.

I likewise failed to find the Semaphore even though lots did and said it was worth the detour. There was general agreement the the directions are confusing at this point. Ideally the Semaphore directions need to be boxed off from the main directions and having two routes to it is over complicated.

The footbridge over the river is still gone with no sign it will ever be reconstructed. But the golf course has laid a wood chip path to its bridge 20 metres to the right, suggesting it is at least resigned to walkers using this.

We kioskers got to the Anchor by 2.30 and stopped there for nice puddings. We then saw most of the rest of the group traipse into the pub for tea in dribs and drabs. I personally regretted not getting a chance to talk to many of you during the day but that is often the way with big groups. I don’t know if anyone walked to Weybridge: the vast majority were happy with the standard walk (walk posters take note). But three of us, inveterate walkers in the dark, did a triangular night route along the canals, ending in West Byfleet, and just got the 18.06 train.
5 caught 5:06pm train and met three others who walked to Weybridge. So, looked 6 did the extension. I'd say the earlier lunch served us well as Anchor provided a nice tea break for the afternoon although they run out of teapot by the time we got there. (They could not serve tea in a cup as they only had posh tea leaves). 5 hardcore tea drinkers had the second chance at Costa near the West Byfleet station.
Just to add for the record that five of us who were mainly sandwich eaters headed for the Anchor Pub and came to the part nearing the closed footbridge. Not knowing that there was an alternative bridge we did a detour as advised by the notice and following GPS which meant we joined the canal much earlier, probably walking about a mile or so extra. It was quite pleasant as an alternative route. After sandwiches, pudding and cancelled tea at the very busy Anchor three of us walked onto Weybridge along the canal and got there in darkness. This part of the walk is okay, not great, and it's quite a long way to the station when you get to the town possibly there is a shortcut you can take direct from the canal. It was nice to bump into the others who got on the train at West Byfleet!
Sat, 17-Dec-16 15

Saturday Second Walk - Surrey fields, heaths, commons and canals

SWC Walk 214 - Horsley to West Byfleet
Length: 9.6 miles (15.4km)
Toughness: 3 out of 10

9.33 train from Waterloo (9.37 Vauxhall, 9.42 Clapham Junction, 9.49 Wimbledon) to Horsley, arriving 10.18.

Best ticket: the walk author suggests a day return to Guildford, which is £10.65 with a Network Card. That gets you round the problem that the outward and return lines for this walk are different. Otherwise, you would have to get a day return to Horsley (£8.70 with a Network Card) and then a single from West Byfleet to Surbiton, where the routes join.

For walk directions click here.

I have long had my eye on this walk but have never tried it, so I know as much as I am told in the introduction to the walk directions. Putting me off posting it in the past has been that a footbridge over a river mid walk is closed for repair. It may still be so, since the council seems to lack the funds to repair it. But a diversion of just 15 minutes is supposed to be in place to avoid it.

The specified lunch pub is late in the walk - 12.7 km (7.9 miles), but an earlier option is mentioned. I note that the route goes through the Royal Horticultural Society's Wisley Gardens and its website says this has as cafe which is accessible without paying an entry fee, but I have no idea if this is on the walk route or not.

Trains back: West Byfleet has four trains an hour to Waterloo - the 27 and 57 past are a bit faster at 37 minutes, with the 06 and 36 past taking 46 minutes
I believe that this footbridge is still missing as a Surrey Council Tax payer, I find this very irritating! I can explain the diversion options on Saturday. Last time we did this walk with the diversion we still got to lunch in just over 3 hours.
15 on this walk on a misty day. This is a pleasant and varied outing which should get an airing more often, with woods, heaths and a section along a canal. Road noise is not as evident as the map suggests it will be.

As for the famous missing footbridge, you can actually bypass this by taking a golf club footbridge 40 metres downstream but this would clearly be a trespass and so obviously none of us did that. Instead the walk author researched a not much longer detour which I believe he is going to write up and include in the walk directions.

For lunch we squeezed into the busy Anchor at Pyford Lock, a lovely canalside pub whose only deficiency is that it is too near the end of the walk: next time I might be tempted to explore the earlier pub option. As it is we were at tea by 3pm and most then got the train home. Not wanting to finish so early, three of us decided to preview next Saturday's walk by following the canal onwards from West Byfleet. We enjoyed an atmospheric dusk, before doubling back to Byfleet and New Haw for a train home. It was still only 4.30.
Yes, an atmospheric walk on a dank and misty December day. I took the opportunity to visit the RHS gardens at Wisley which has a nice Cafe for light lunches, loos etc. There were also eight Seasonal German style Christmas Market Stalls on the day.
The much mentioned footbridge will be closed until at least August 2017, but Ockham Mill just before the closure is well worth a butchers.
The diversion via Walsham Lock is relatively straight forward and I'm happy to write this up (and the extension to visit the RHS Gardens) if t'other Mike wishes
Mike A

Feel free!
Sun, 27-Dec-15 9

Sunday First Walk - Surrey commons and canal

Extra Walk 214, Horsley to West Byfleet

Length: 15.4km (9.6 miles). Toughness: 3 out of 10

09:32 Guildford train from Waterloo (Clapham Junction 09:41, Wimbledon 09:48) arriving Horsley at 10:27.

Return trains from West Byfleet to Waterloo are are at xx:10 and xx:40. Buy an off-peak day return to Horsley.

This pleasant walk close to London is getting only its second outing today. It goes through green fields and woods, the yellow scrub and heathland of Ockham Common, Wisley Common and RHS Wisley Gardens, and a stretch of the Wey Navigation. The relatively early start will allow you to complete the long morning route (12.5km) in time to enjoy a leisurely late lunch at a canal-side pub, knowing you have less than an hour’s walking to do afterwards. The alternative early lunch pub requires a detour and would leave too much of the walk to be done on a short winter’s afternoon.

The recommended lunchtime pub is The Anchor at Pyrford Lock, Wisley (01932 342507).

More information and the walk directions can be found here. Please post any comments on this walk on the walk’s Feedback page.
As far as I'm aware the footpath closure in Paragraph 26 is still in place so unless you can walk on water you will need to detour. Someone needs to check the Woking Council website for this. There is an unnecessarily complicated alternative on their website which involves crossing the Wey navigation where you could walk along it and there is another more direct option which is not an official path, but you do need to have a map if the bridge is still not in situ!
Thanks for alerting us to this issue, Mike. The temporary footpath closure order made by Surrey County Council (not Woking Council) in February 2014 has been extended to August 2016 (repairing an unsafe footbridge takes ages, doesn't it?).

Rather than follow the official diversion, or the slightly more direct unofficial option, both of which would add 15 minutes or so to an already long morning, a better bet would be to divert along a road well before reaching the closed footbridge.

At the end of para 22, where you come out to a road by the Wren's Nest car park, turn right on this road (Wisley Lane) instead of left. Go through the small village of Wisley and cross the River Wey at Wisley Bridge, ignoring the footpaths on the far side. Pass a sewage works on the right and ignore a footpath to the left just before the road bends sharply left. 80 metres beyond the bend take a footpath to the left. This wiggles around for about 800 metres and emerges at Pyrford Lock with the Anchor pub just to your right. This diversion cuts about 1km off the length of the walk and gets you to lunch a bit sooner than you were expecting. Hurrah!
9, cloudy but very mild (15 deg C). Good to get out into some fresh air and exercise after the holiday. Surprisingly remote feel to Oakham Common despite some background noise from the A3. Diversion works OK but paths/tracks across golf course no longer aligned with the OS map and are poorly signed. The Anchor has been (recently?) refurbished and was very welcoming and efficient. Only two of us eating and they found us a table despite it being a busy Sunday. Larger groups need to book unless eating outside. Food is good and affordable and a selection of ales.
I tried to add this comment to the main walk but it didn't seem to work. I have raised a complaint with Surrey County Council over the lack of action on a repair, here is their response.

Further to your correspondence regarding the matter of the damaged bridge over the River Wey at the junction of the above public footpaths. I have been asked as the Senior Countryside Access Officer to respond to your complaint. This is in response to two replies from the Countryside Access Team explaining that we have been unable to secure the necessary funding to remove the old bridge and replace it with a new structure.

I appreciate and share your frustration that we have been unable to replace this bridge and obviously this is not how we would wish things to be. We recognise the value of this public footpath and would very much like to resolve this situation. I accept that it our statutory duty under Section 130 Highways Act 1980 to assert and protect the network and this bridge is a Surrey County Council structure. Perhaps it would be useful if I explained what we have been doing to resolve this problem. There are several challenges with this project. Firstly there is no vehicular access to this site with anything larger than a 4WD. Normally a bridge of this size would require a large crane or two smaller cranes to lift on and off the structure. Secondly, as the River Wey is a main river, we require a Flood Defence Consent from the Environment Agency which allows us to put in a bridge. The EA dictate such things as the height of the bridge and can also influence the design. In this instance they are requiring us to remove the artificial build out on the southern bank. This another engineering consideration and will also necessitate a bridge approximately 5 metres longer than the present one, making any new structure requiring a span of approximately 30 meters. Because of the dynamics of the river we are also required to pile footings for the new structure which will mean our trying to get a piling rig on site.

All of these elements, including any repair work to Wisley Golf Course if we need to access via that route, suggests a tentative estimate of approximately £300 000 to £400 000 to remove the old structure, dispose of it, purchase a replacement structure and install. To put this amount of money into context, the Countryside Access Budget for last year was approximately £570 000, which roughly equates to £260 per mile of path, to carry out all our maintenance requirements on the public rights of way network of footpaths, bridleways and byways in Surrey . We were required to make budget savings this year of approximately £100 000 and we expect a similar amount in the next financial year.

Obviously the Countryside Access budget cannot fund the replacement of this bridge and we have been making representations for additional capital funding for this project which have unfortunately to date been unsuccessful. We have however made the decision to instruct a engineering company to do the necessary soil sampling and investigative work and for them to suggest a plan with costings as to how to move forward. We had originally hoped to pay for this from the additional funds for the bridge that we had hoped to raise, but as this has not been possible we will try and find the money for the report from the Countryside Access budget as it is hoped that it will make our case stronger if we can definitely say how the works will be carried out and how we will access the site.

I apologise that this public footpath has been closed for so long but please be assured we have been and will continue to work on replacing this bridge and , of course, continue to make requests for the necessary capital funding. If you are unhappy with the decision reached at Stage 1 please contact our Customer Relations Team who will review the complaint and consider the need for a further investigation.
Sun, 28-Dec-14 0 Horsley to West Byfleet