Oxshott Circular via Painshill walk

Surrey heaths, the Mole valley and the opportunity to visit “England's most elegant 18thC landscape garden”

Oxshott Circular, via Painshill
Length

Main Walk: 16½ km (10.3 miles). Three hours 55 minutes walking time. For the whole excursion including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 9 hours.

Short Circular Walk, from Cobham: 9¼ km (5.7 miles). Two hours walking time.

† Add 5 km (3 miles) if visiting Painshill Park and doing the full suggested route through the landscape garden. See Features below.

OS Maps

Explorers 146 & 161, with a tiny part on 145. Oxshott, map reference TQ141609, is in Surrey, 6 km W of Epsom.

Toughness

3 out of 10 (less for the shorter options).

Features

The main purpose of this walk is the opportunity to visit the GradeⅠ listed Painshill Park. “England's most elegant 18thC landscape garden” was created by Charles Hamilton between 1738 and 1773, inspired by Renaissance art and his visits to Italy on the Grand Tour. The garden was at the forefront of the ‘picturesque’ movement, combining naturalistic landscaping enriched by follies, water features, a vineyard, shrubberies and exotic trees from North America. By the mid-20thC, however, all the follies were dilapidated and the garden had become an impenetrable jungle. Fortunately it was acquired by Elmbridge Borough Council in 1980 and since then the Painshill Park Trust has succeeded both in restoring it and replanting the grounds with species introduced by Hamilton.

Painshill has been open to the public since 1997, with admission being £9 (2020). A suggested route through the gardens is outlined in this document, based on the ‘Historic Route’ taken by visitors in the 1740s. Shorter routes can easily be devised from the site map handed to visitors on arrival. Most of the follies can be visited at all times, but the Grotto and Gothic Tower might only be open at weekends.

In this affluent area of Surrey the rest of the walk is not the most rural, but the circuit from Oxshott is long enough to provide interest in its own right. The station is on the edge of Oxshott Heath and the Main Walk starts with a short loop around its wooded escarpment, with views to the south. A footpath through woodland and alongside Knowle Hill Park leads to Stoke D'Abernon, close to the Short Walk's start at Cobham station.

Both walks continue with a loop around the extensive Cobham Park Estate (sadly with no public access) to Downside Common and a possible early pub stop. Some quiet country lanes and a footpath across water meadows bordering the River Mole take you to more refreshment places on the outskirts of Cobham. Painshill Park is to the north-west of the town, and prospective visitors can browse an informative display in its Walled Garden before deciding whether to enter the main garden.

After going back through the centre of Cobham the main route continues with a fairly lengthy stretch along its residential streets, a consequence of the town being hemmed in by the A3, river and railway. The final section is across more partly-wooded commons: Fairmile Common, Esher Common and Oxshott Heath again.

The two alternative endings (see below) go past Cobham Mill, an 18thC water mill which has been restored to full working order by a Preservation Trust. It is open to the public on the 2nd Sunday of each month (Apr–Oct), from 2-5pm.

Flooding

The River Mole is prone to flooding, with warning signs along the lanes outside Cobham. The river level at Downside Bridge can be checked on this Flood Information Service page.

Walk Options

Towards the end of the main route across Esher Common you can save 1½ km by cutting out the loop on the other side of the A3.

As any route across Esher Common would be tricky in failing light, two simpler endings from Cobham town centre are described. The shorter route to Oxshott is mostly through two large estates on gated roads designated as public footpaths, giving you the opportunity to gawp at a string of expensive mansions from legitimate rights of way. However, this route still involves a potentially gloomy stretch through Oxshott Heath at the end, whereas the shortest possible ending (along Tilt Toad to Cobham station) would be manageable in the dusk.

If you plan to spend time exploring Painshill you might prefer (especially in winter) to start from Cobham station. The Short Circular Walk omits all the heathland and commons around Oxshott, but you could combine the Cobham start with finishing in Oxshott.

Transport

Oxshott and Cobham are adjacent stations on the “New Guildford Line”, with a half-hourly service from Waterloo (hourly on Sundays) taking around 40 minutes. Cobham is further from London, so you would need a return to Cobham & Stoke D'Abernon (its full name) to start or finish there.

Cobham is served by several bus routes, with Stagecoach 715 providing a regular service to Kingston and Guildford (hourly Mon–Sat, every 90 minutes Sun). However, on this short walk you are never too far from one of the stations.

If driving, Oxshott station car park costs £5.50 on weekdays after 10:00 & Sat, £3.50 Sun & BH. Cobham station car park costs £3.50 on weekdays after 10:30, Sat, Sun & BH (2020).

Suggested Train

Take the train nearest to 10:00 from Waterloo to Oxshott for the Main Walk, or half an hour later to Cobham for the Short Walk.

Train Times
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Timetables
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Lunch

Cobham is an affluent town and its pub/restaurants are all relatively up-market, serving excellent (but fairly expensive) food; you would need to call ahead to be sure of a restaurant table.

For an early pub lunch you could stop at The Cricketers (01932-862105) on Downside Common (5½ km from Oxshott, 2½ km from Cobham), which has a large patio area overlooking the common.

Half an hour later a short detour off the walk route would take you to an alternative pub on the outskirts of Cobham, The Plough (01932-589790). In the same area an interesting alternative would be The Medicine Garden (01932-589536), which invites visitors to “eat, drink, relax or be pampered” in a Victorian Walled Garden containing a restaurant and a café.

Visitors to Painshill Park could skip these places and have a light lunch in its tearoom (see below), while non-visitors will find more eateries in Cobham's town centre (though walkers might find it difficult to secure a table at The Ivy Cobham Brasserie).

Tea

If you spend time visiting Painshill Park Mr Hamilton's Tea Room is open daily to 5.30pm summer, 3.30pm winter. On the way back through Cobham the walk route passes a couple of good but fairly expensive coffee shops: Bronte's (07850-473310) in Hollyhedge Road, open daily to 5pm (4pm Sun); and Fego (01932-860113) in Anyard Road, open daily to 5pm (3.30pm Sun). The usual suspects (Starbucks, etc) can also be found on its High Street.

After leaving Cobham there are no more refreshment places on the main route back to Oxshott station, and you would have to walk a fair way past the station to get a drink in the Victoria (01372-841900) pub/brasserie in the village.

There are more opportunities if you take the shorter ending to Cobham station, which passes the Running Mare (01932-862007) pub/restaurant on Tilt Common (this is also close to the shorter Oxshott ending). At Cobham station you might be able to get something from a delicatessen or a couple of places on the station forecourt: a coffee bar (Caffe Nesta) and a fast-food café (Baked and Battered).

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National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234

Version

Jul-20

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Walk Directions  

The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.

Oxshott Circular, via Painshill

Click the heading below to show/hide the walk route for the selected option(s).

Walk Map: Oxshott Circular, via Painshill Walk Map

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Walk Options ( Main | Short )

Click on any option to show only the sections making up that route, or the heading above to show all sections.

  1. Main Walk (16½ km)
  1. Main Walk, with shorter ending (14¼ km)
  2. Main Walk, finishing in Cobham (12¼ km)
  3. Short Circular Walk, from Cobham (9¼ km)
  4. Short Walk, finishing in Oxshott (11¼ km)
  5. Short Walk, with longer ending (13½ km)

Walk Directions

Click on any section heading to switch between detailed directions and an outline, or the heading above to switch all sections.

If you are doing a Short Walk from Cobham station, start at [?] in §C.

  1. Oxshott Station to Brown's Corner (1¼ km)
    • From the station forecourt take a short path through the trees onto Oxshott Heath. For the most scenic route to its south-west corner, make your way up to the War Memorial on the escarpment ahead, turn left and head west along it. At the end drop down and take a path heading south along the western edge of the woodland to Brown's Corner.

    1. Arriving from London, cross the footbridge and leave from the other platform. Take the tarmac path to the right of some small buildings opposite, up a short slope to an information panel about Oxshott Heath?.
      • For the shortest route you could simply take the path on the left directly to Brown's Corner (750m away), but the route described below takes a more scenic loop along the edge of the wooded escarpment 200m ahead.
    2. There are several ways up to the prominent War Memorial on the escarpment, but for a fairly gentle route turn right at the crosspaths in front of the panel, then in 25m fork left onto a sandy path heading N. This soon starts to climb gently and in 150m goes up a few steps to a T-junction with a broad path. Turn left and follow this uphill past wooden barriers to come to the War Memorial? in 100m.
    3. After passing the memorial keep left past a gnarled oak tree and follow a broad path running along the top of the escarpment for 150m, with several benches for people to enjoy the view. Just before the last of these benches, veer right onto a path through a more wooded part of the heath, staying at the top of the escarpment.
    4. In 40m ignore a path down the slope, but in a further 75m fork left at the back of a small clearing onto a broad level path heading SW. Follow this path for 250m, going straight ahead at a major crosspaths halfway along, to reach another cluster of benches at the end of the escarpment.
    5. As indicated by a white arrow on a post at the far end, go straight ahead down the slope. Immediately after passing a pit on the right, fork right where the path splits. At the western edge of the wood turn left onto a path going gently downhill alongside a horse ride. In 150m this comes to a small parking area by a road (Littleheath Lane) at a sharp bend, Brown's Corner.
  2. Brown's Corner to Stoke D'Abernon (2¼ km)
    • Head south on Littleheath Lane, crossing the railway. Turn right onto a footpath going back across the tracks onto Littleheath Common. The suggested route is to detour off to the right to go alongside the attractive large pond. Rejoin the footpath and follow it alongside Knowle Hill Park to the A245. Continue on Tilt Road opposite, joining the route from Cobham station just before it turns right.
    1. Continue in the same direction along the road for 300m, going over the railway at a level crossing. Just before a T-junction, and immediately after crossing a private road (Richards Road), turn right onto a signposted footpath. Follow this between garden fences for 200m, then carefully back across the railway at another level crossing. On the other side you come to a path junction in the wooded Littleheath Common?.
    2. For a scenic diversion off the public footpath ahead, turn half-right onto the middle of the three paths. This leads to an attractive lake where you turn left to go around its edge for about 200m. Just before an information panel veer left onto a path back into the trees, crossing a ditch on a plank bridge. This soon goes up a few steps where you turn right to rejoin the public footpath, with a chainlink fence on the left.
    3. At the end of the wood continue on a grassy path along the top edge of a field. In the corner go through a wooden kissing gate and simply follow the footpath all the way along the edge of the private Knowle Hill Park, protected by a chainlink fence. At the far end go through a small wooden gate and along a fenced path for a further 300m to the A245 (Stoke Road).
    4. Cross this busy main road carefully to continue in the same direction on the tarmac path opposite, running alongside Tilt Road. In 250m you cross Bray Road and shortly afterwards pass a signposted footpath on the left, the route from Cobham station.
  3. Cobham Station • Stoke D'Abernon to Downside Common (2½ • 2 km)
      • If starting from Cobham station, bear right onto Station Road and turn left into Bray Road. At a roundabout take the footpath to the left of Bray Road and turn left onto Tilt Road at the end.
      Where Tilt Road turns right keep ahead on a bridleway, crossing the River Mole and heading south-west through the private Cobham Park Estate. Follow this right of way along a lane and then across a field on the left to Downside Common. Bear right across the grass to The Cricketers pub near its western corner.
    1. Starting from Cobham Station (+½ km)

      1. Arriving from London, cross the footbridge and leave from the other platform. Bear right onto Station Road, go past a parade of shops and turn left into Bray Road, soon passing D'Abernon Drive on the left.
      2. At a roundabout cross the other arm of this road and take a short tarmac path to the left of the continuation of Bray Road. At the end turn left onto Tilt Road, joining the route from Oxshott station.
    2. Where Tilt Road turns right keep ahead on a tarmac driveway, leading to a cemetery. Take the bridleway to the left of its entrance, soon crossing the River Mole on a substantial footbridge. Continue on a long broad path between high hedges, with occasional views at fieldgates into the private Cobham Park Estate?.
    3. In 750m the path bends right and comes out onto a driveway. Bear right and follow this gently uphill. In 400m the drive bends right but to stay on the right of way you have to turn left as directed, through a wooden gate onto a broad tree-lined path between fields.

      The continuation of the driveway – a useful link route of just 150m to the public road into Cobham – is shown as a permitted cycle route on old OS maps, but the Cobham Park Estate notices make it abundantly clear that any permissive access has been withdrawn.

    4. The path comes out between St Michael's Chapel? and a cottage garden, and passes a Victorian water pump?. Cross a lane onto Downside Common and turn half-right, aiming for a clump of trees in the centre, 200m away. Take a path through these trees (or skirt around them) to continue in the same direction towards the right-hand side of the common, where The Cricketers pub is a possible early lunch stop.
  4. Downside Common to Downside Bridge (2½ km)
    • At the end of the common go straight across the main road and all the way along Chilbrook Road opposite. Turn right onto Ockham Lane and then left into Pointers Road. In 200m turn right onto a footpath heading north-east across fields and water meadows for 1¼ km. At the end turn left onto Downside Road (or detour to the right for The Plough or The Medicine Garden).
    1. Carry on alongside the pub's driveway to the road junction at the end of the common. Cross the main road carefully and continue along Chilbrook Road opposite. Go all the way along this country lane, which bends left at Chilbrook Farm halfway along. Towards the end there are views across the Mole valley towards Painshill, 2 km away.
    2. At a T-junction turn right briefly onto Ockham Lane, then turn left into another lane (Pointers Road). After a further 200m of road walking there is a metal fieldgate in a gap in the hedge on the right. Go over a stile to the left of this gate into a large field.

      When last inspected the public footpath signpost in the hedge had disappeared. Official notices further along imply that the owner has had problems with people “treating the land as a public park”, so take care to stay on the right of way.

    3. With no clear path, head NNE towards a stile in the middle of a (possibly temporary) low fence across the field. Go over the stile and bear slightly left as indicated by a waymarker arrow, going under power lines and heading towards a corner of the field.

      Along the line of pylons to the left you might be able to glimpse the top of Painshill's Gothic Tower, poking out above the trees.

    4. In the field corner cross a stream on a wooden footbridge and keep left on a grassy path curving round alongside a hedge, with the River Mole behind it. In 150m go through a metal gate to the left of a large oak tree and follow the line of waymarker posts indicating the right of way across three large meadows for 700m, heading roughly NE.
    5. In the third meadow you can see the Plough Inn off to the right, shortly before the footpath comes out onto Downside Road. Unless you want to detour to this pub (or an alternative refreshment place) cross the main road carefully and turn left onto the pavement to come to Downside Bridge over the River Mole.
    6. Detour to The Plough (+300m) or The Medicine Garden (+400m)

      1. For either refreshment place turn right onto the main road. At the junction with Plough Lane turn right for The Plough; for The Medicine Garden continue along the main road for a further 75m to find a pedestrian gate in a high brick wall into the Walled Garden.
      2. In both cases, return the same way and go past the footpath from the meadow, crossing the main road to the pavement on its right-hand side.
  5. Downside Bridge to Painshill Park (1¼ km)
    • Painshill Park Follow the road across Downside Bridge and round to the right. Where it turns sharply left the suggested route is to detour through the churchyard and rejoin the road at its junction with Church Street for a further 100m. Unless you want to head directly to Cobham's town centre along a footpath on the right, take the left-hand of two footpaths on the left, directly away from the road. In 150m turn right onto a long tree-lined path (Anvil Lane) to reach a large car park, where there is an information panel about Painshill Park. Follow its access path across a footbridge over the River Mole.
      • If visiting the garden, pay the entrance fee in the Visitor Centre. Use the site map handed to visitors to plan a route through the landscape garden. Go back across the footbridge to resume the walk.

    1. Follow the road (which becomes Downside Bridge Road) across the river and round to the right. Where it turns sharply left you can get some respite from the traffic by taking the driveway past Church Gate House Centre and entering the churchyard of St Andrew's church?, which is worth a visit.
      • The shortest route back to the main road is along the path past the church tower to a gate in the north-western corner of the churchyard. You could also take the path around the eastern end of the church and leave via a gate by the attractive Church Stile House, turning left onto Church Street to reach the main road.
    2. From the junction with Church Street go along Downside Bridge Road for a further 100m, passing St Andrew's Walk on the right, to come to footpath signposts on both sides of the road.
      • Even if you do not intend to visit Painshill Park the short loop out to its entrance is pleasant enough and you can read about its history in the Walled Garden. To skip this loop (saving 1¼ km) you can take the footpath on the right past the back of a car park, turn right onto Hollyhedge Road and resume the directions at [?] in §F.
    3. For the main route, cross Downside Bridge Road carefully and take the footpath heading directly away from the road, passing allotments on the right and then the Cobham Community Garden?. 30m after the end of the garden, turn right as indicated onto a long straight tree-lined path, with a meadow on the left and playing fields on the right.
    4. Later you pass a football ground on the right and the large car park for Painshill Park on the left, finally going through a small parking area for more allotments. At the end turn left across Painshill's entrance driveway onto a sandy path running alongside its car park. Turn right in front of an information panel onto the site's access path.
    5. In 75m there is a grassy path on the right leading back to the driveway which is the continuation of the walk, but having come this far even non-visitors might like to take in the nice view of the River Mole from the elegant new footbridge ahead, and perhaps read about the estate's history on the information panels in its Walled Garden.
    6. If you are visiting Painshill Park, the following notes may be useful:
      • After crossing the River Mole the Walled Garden is on the left and the Visitor Centre (where you would need to pay the entrance fee to proceed any further) is straight ahead.
      • Painshill Park Visitors to the garden are handed a Map of Painshill describing its main features and showing several suggested circular routes. More detailed information is available in an inexpensive guide book, Painshill reborn.
      • The waymarked Historic Route (about 4½ km) takes you through the whole garden and passes all its main features. Two shorter and less hilly routes (each about 2½ km) cover just the eastern half of the garden.
      • If you have time the Suggested Route (about 5 km) is to follow most of the Historic Route, but on the way back cross Five Arch Bridge and return along the south side of the lake for fine views across the water of the Ruined Abbey, Vineyard, etc.
      • After visiting the garden go back across the footbridge to resume the walk.
  6. Painshill Park to Cobham Clock Tower (¾ km)
    • Cobham Go back across a field to the entrance driveway and continue on a path alongside it to the A245. Turn right onto a tarmac path leading into a playing field and bear left across the grass. Go across Downside Bridge Road and along Hollyhedge Road to the Clock Tower on the main road.
    1. Leave the access path between the car park and the footbridge, taking a grassy path across a small field. On the far side go past a vehicle barrier, cross the driveway and bear left onto a tree-lined path leading out to the A245. At the far end turn right onto a tarmac path alongside a hedge, with the road curving away to the left. Follow the path between a row of houses and the other side of the football ground.
    2. Cobham At the start of the playing field bear left across the grass, aiming for the right-hand end of a hedge projecting out into the far corner (enclosing the car park for the Sacred Heart church). Go alongside the hedge to a road (Downside Bridge Road again) and cross it carefully. Continue along the side road opposite (Hollyhedge Road), passing a car park on the right and then a footpath (the short cut route in the previous section).
    3. On the left-hand side of Hollyhedge Road you pass Bronte's, the first of two suggested places if you want to break for refreshments. Continue along a short pedestrianised section leading out to the A245 (Cobham High Street), passing a mosaic and information panel on the right about the Diggers?. Cross the main road carefully to the Clock Tower.
      • If you detour a short distance along Anyard Road off to the left you will find another refreshment place (Fego) in the parade of shops on the right-hand side. Alternatively there are more coffee shops (Starbucks, Carluccio's, Costa) down the High Street to the right.
    4. If you are doing the main (longer) route to Oxshott, go to §J.

  7. Cobham Clock Tower to Leigh Corner (¾ km)
    • Unless you want to walk along the High Street, head east briefly on Hogshill Lane and fork right into Cedar Road. At the end go down a short path and turn left onto the A245 by Cobham Mill. Follow the main road to its junction with Leigh Hill Road, at the start of Tilt Common.
    1. Unless you have ventured down the High Street to investigate other eateries, head E from the Clock Tower on Hogshill Lane and almost immediately fork right into Cedar Road, passing the library and a new housing development. In 250m, where the road turns sharply left, keep ahead on a short tarmac path down a slope to return to the A245 opposite Cobham Mill?.
      • Alternatively you can simply follow the High Street round a left-band bend to come to the riverside mill.
    2. Go past the mill and a weir and follow the fenced tarmac path as it curves round to the right, between the main road and the river. In 350m, at the start of a common on the left-hand side, there is a junction with Leigh Hill Road on the left.
    3. If you are doing the shorter route to Oxshott, go to §I.

  8. Leigh Corner to Cobham Station (1½ km)
    • Go past the junction and keep right to go along Tilt Road. Where it turns sharply left after 1 km, keep ahead on a short tarmac path to a roundabout. Go along Bray Road and turn right at the end to reach Cobham station.
    1. Go past the road junction and keep right at the next junction, where the A245 bends left. You now simply follow a path alongside Tilt Road for 1 km, soon passing the Running Mare pub/restaurant on the right (a possible late refreshment stop).
    2. Towards the end of this stretch the footway is separated from the road by a broad grassy strip, with a cemetery over to the right. Where the road turns sharply left follow the tarmac path as it turns half-left and crosses the road. Turn right onto the signposted footpath beside Stile Cottage, retracing your outward route if you started from Cobham station.
    3. The tarmac path comes out by a roundabout where you keep ahead onto Bray Road. At the end go past a parade of shops (including a delicatessen) and turn right to reach the station, which has a couple of refreshment places on its forecourt. Trains to London leave from Platform 1 on the near side.
      • If you have a long wait for a train and all these places are closed, the nearest pub (the Old Plough) is on the A245 at the other end of Station Road, about 400m away.
  9. Leigh Corner to Oxshott Station (3½ km)
    • Turn left into Leigh Hill Road and keep ahead on Mizen Way. At the end of this long private road (also a public footpath) turn left briefly onto Fairmile Lane. Turn right into Eaton Park Road, another right of way along a private road. At the end you could follow Littleheath Lane all the way to Brown's Corner, but the suggested route takes a short loop through the wooded Littleheath Common on the right as a break from the road walking. At Brown's Corner keep ahead on a woodland path through Oxshott Heath to reach Oxshott station.
    1. Cross the main road carefully onto the common and go along Leigh Hill Road. Where it bends left keep ahead on Mizen Way, a private road signposted as a public footpath. Go through a side gate at the vehicle barrier and simply follow this long residential street for 1 km, keeping right near the end (with Oxshott Rise on the left). Go down a slope and out through another side gate.
    2. At the T-junction turn left briefly onto Fairmile Lane and then turn right into Eaton Park Road, another private road designated as a public footpath (although at the time of writing there was no signpost at this end). Follow this street for 600m, again using side gates at both ends.
    3. At the far end the road merges with Water Lane and becomes Littleheath Lane. In 100m, opposite Links Green Way, bear right off the road by a roadside information panel about the Diggers? (at the site of their second settlement), onto a path which starts alongside the road and then gradually diverges from it.
      • Oxshott Heath is 700m away along Littleheath Lane and in poor light it would be advisable to stay on the road. The suggested route cuts out half of this road walking but finding your way through the wooded common would be tricky in the dark. If you stay on the road, resume the directions at [?] where the woodland route returns to Littleheath Lane.
    4. In 75m the woodland path crosses the driveway to a couple of houses (#51 & #53) and goes deeper into the wooded Littleheath Common?. In the next 100m ignore two paths on the left which go straight back to Littleheath Lane, but fork left at the third path junction.
    5. Ignore further paths off to both sides and follow the main path for a further 200m, crossing a ditch on a plank bridge along the way. The path comes out onto a side street (Somerville Road) close to its junction with Littleheath Lane, where you resume the route towards Oxshott Common.
    6. From the junction with Somerville Road follow Littleheath Lane for 350m to a sharp right-hand bend at Brown's Corner, where you go straight across the outward route from Oxshott station. Keep ahead through the small parking area onto a broad path into the wooded Oxshott Heath?, alongside a signposted (and usually muddier) bridleway.
    7. In 300m keep ahead at a crosspaths, passing an information panel and a footbridge over the railway tracks on your right. You can soon see the long station car park through the trees on your right, but the station itself is at the far end and the simplest route is to continue along the woodland path.
    8. At the end of an open area (with views of the wooded escarpment off to your left) turn right at a crosspaths by an information panel, where a short tarmac path through the trees takes you down to the station forecourt. Trains to London leave from Platform 1 on the near side.
      • There are no refreshment places near the station. You would have to go up the approach road, turn right and walk alongside the busy A244 for 750m to reach the Victoria pub/brasserie on Oxshott High Street.
  10. Cobham Clock Tower to Fairmile Common (2 km)
    • Head east on Hogshill Lane and follow this bridleway (a mix of residential streets and enclosed paths) past a school and across Icklingham Road to Fairmile Lane. Go across this and along Green Lane to Fairmile Common.
    1. From the Clock Tower head E on Hogshill Lane. Ignore Cedar Road off to the right and follow this one-way residential street as it curves gently to the left. In 250m use the raised walkway on the left where the road becomes two-way and narrows. In a further 200m (where it turns left and becomes Tartar Road) keep ahead, staying on Hogshill Lane.
    2. In 250m, just before the road swings right, bear left onto a signposted bridleway and follow this enclosed path past houses and a school playing field to a wide residential street of grand houses. Go straight across this onto a short grassy path, cutting off a corner and soon joining the continuation of Hogshill Lane. Ignore a couple of streets off to the left. At the end continue on an enclosed path to a road (Fairmile Lane).
    3. Cross this road carefully and go all the way along another wide street (Green Lane). At the end there is a small parking area for the wooded Fairmile Common, with an information panel about the group of Esher Commons? on the right.
  11. Fairmile Common to West Bridge (1¼ km)
    • Enter the wooded common and follow a path heading north and later north-east. Go along the south side of a private property at the north-east of the common and continue on a path around the north side of Middle Pond. Follow the path onto Esher Common and make your way alongside (or through) a partly-cleared area to reach West Bridge, the first of two footbridges across the A3.
    1. Go to the north side of the parking area (away from the panel) and take the right-hand of two broad paths into the wood, initially heading N. You will be following this woodland path for the next 400m or so, gradually curving round to the right to head NE (and getting closer to the A3, which you can hear off to the left).
    2. In 50m you cross a horse ride and a second after another 250m. In a further 100m keep ahead through a small clearing in the undergrowth, dotted with pine trees. The path now goes alongside rhododendron bushes and a chainlink fence on the left, guarding a large private property.
    3. As the path descends you should be able to see a lake ahead. At the corner of the property turn left to stay alongside the fence, soon with a view of Lakewood House in the grounds. Follow the path as it drops down to the right and goes alongside the tip of the attractive Middle Pond?.
    4. On the far side follow the path as it curves round to the left and then back to the right. Ignore a couple of bridleways off to the right to stay on a (slightly awkward) path through the wood, with an old boundary ditch on your left; you might be able to see the first of two footbridges across the A3 (West Bridge) 300m ahead.
    5. In 50m there is a narrow path on the left which goes through the middle of the partly-cleared area between the wood and the A3 directly towards this bridge, but the traffic noise is less intrusive if you stay on the woodland path. Either way, you come to a T-junction where you turn left onto a broad path leading directly to West Bridge.
  12. West Bridge to Sandy Lane (2½ km)
    • For the suggested route, cross West Bridge and turn left. Loop around Black Pond and head east across Esher Common. Turn right onto a horse ride and follow it across East Bridge to Sandy Lane at the north-west corner of Oxshott Heath. For a more direct route, do not cross West Bridge but simply follow the signposted horse ride to Oxshott Heath.
    1. Unless you want to take a short cut to Oxshott Heath, cross the footbridge over the A3.
      • For a more direct route you can follow the waymarked horse ride to Oxshott Heath: going down the other broad path on this side of the bridge and turning left at the bottom. In 600m you would turn right at a T-junction to rejoin the main route. If you take this short cut (saving 1½ km), resume the directions at [?].
    2. For the main route, turn left on the other side of the footbridge onto a cycleway, going down a slope. Near the bottom the suggested route is to bear right onto a clear path through the trees, which runs close to the cycleway for about 200m and then merges with a broad path from the left, heading N.
      • If you choose to stay on the cycleway, fork right onto this broad path where the cycleway bends left.
    3. The path soon goes between wooden horse barriers onto a causeway along the western edge of Black Pond?, a picturesque spot. At the far end of the causeway go between another set of barriers, then in about 50m turn right onto a narrow path through the heather.
      • If you miss this turning you can simply turn right at a signposted path crossing a little further ahead: the two paths merge at the top of a small slope.
    4. Continue in the same direction on a long straight path through a pine wood. After passing more barriers bear right at a signpost to come to an information panel by a four-way signpost (but named “Five Ways”). There are several possible continuations and the suggested route is not to take any of the horse rides but to bear left in a direction midway between the signposted rides to Longy Down and Esher Common, heading E.
    5. You soon pick up a clear sandy path through the heathland – the Fifth Way? – with woodland sloping up to your left. The simplest route is to follow this path for about 400m to a major junction with a broad sandy horse ride.
      • You could also veer left onto one of the narrow paths leading up to the woodland and take in the view from one of the wooden benches there; there is an alternative path along the edge of the woodland.
    6. Either way, turn right when you reach the horse ride to head S. This leads directly to the second footbridge (East Bridge) where you cross back over the A3. On the far side simply continue on the long straight ride, which the short cut route joins from the right after 500m.
    7. From the path junction head S on the main horse ride for 250m to reach a road (Sandy Lane). Cross the road carefully onto the wooded Oxshott Heath?.
  13. Sandy Lane to Oxshott Station (¾ km)
    • Cross Sandy Lane onto Oxshott Heath and follow a woodland path heading south-east for 500m to reach the escarpment by the War Memorial. Go down the slope and along a short path through the trees to reach Oxshott station.
    1. You will be following a long straight path through the wooded common to the War Memorial. This path leaves Sandy Lane 30m off to the right (just beyond Roundhill Way), but you can bear right onto a narrow side path going up the slope ahead; in 60m this swings right and you turn left onto the main path.
    2. Follow this path for 400m, heading SE and with occasional “Trail 2000” marker posts pointing ahead at path crossings. As you approach the edge of the wood it curves left past a gnarled oak tree (which you might recognise from the outward route of the Main Walk) and comes out onto the escarpment.
    3. A short distance around the escarpment brings you to the War Memorial?, with fine views over the heath. The surfaced path which you can see below leads directly to the station (250m away), so for the most direct route take one of the sandy paths down the slope towards it.
    4. At the bottom veer left onto the surfaced path and keep ahead
        Walk Notes
      • Oxshott Heath is managed by a group of honorary Conservators, an arrangement established by an Act of Parliament in 1904.
      • The prominent War Memorial on Oxshott Heath was erected after World WarⅠ by Sir Robert MacAlpine (‘concrete Bob’), founder of the MacAlpine construction company.
      • Littleheath Common (or Little Heath) is managed for nature conservation, amenity and access. The pond – large enough to be called a lake – was originally a gravel pit.
      • The Cobham Park Estate has been owned by the Combe family since 1806, with the present mansion (not visible) being completed in 1873. The family sold the house in the late 20thC and it has been converted into luxury retirement apartments.
      • St Michael's Chapel (in the parish of Ockham) still has regular Church of England services, even though it is not much bigger than a garden shed.
      • The water pump was erected in 1858 by Harvey Combe, owner of Cobham Park, for the benefit of the cottagers on Downside Common.
      • St Andrew, Cobham dates from the 12thC but was much altered and extended in the 19thC. It contains a unique brass depicting the nativity.
      • The Cobham Community Garden is part of a local initiative “to create a greener and more sustainable Cobham”.
      • The Diggers were a group of Protestant radicals who attempted to farm on common land in the disorderly period following the execution of CharlesⅠ in 1649. They issued pamphlets and established communal settlements near Cobham (on St George's Hill and then Little Heath), but in each case were driven off by local landowners.
      • Cobham Mill was built in the late 18thC and was in use until 1928. Other buildings on the site were demolished in 1953 to relieve traffic congestion on Mill Road but this small mill survived and has been restored to full working order.
      • Esher Commons is the name given to a group of predominantly wooded commons south-west of Esher: Fairmile, Esher, Arbrook and West End Commons, plus Oxshott Heath.
      • The woodland around Middle Pond was added to Esher Commons in 1974, as compensation when this Site of Special Scientific Interest was cut in two by the A3.
      • Black Pond is the largest of the ponds on Esher Commons. It was created to supply water to Claremont Landscape Garden (NT), 1 km to the north.

    » Last updated: July 24, 2020

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