Surrey walk around Tilford
- Credit: Archant
Part of Guildford’s WalkFest, this easy six-mile stroll takes in one of Surrey’s most beautiful and historic attractions
• Start: Car Park by Tilford village green
• Map: OS Explorer Map 145
• Grid reference: SU 873434
• Length of walk: Six miles
• Food/drink: There are a number of great pubs in the area, with The Barley Mow on Tilford village green, The Donkey (with real donkeys in the garden) on the route and the Duke of Cambridge also nearby.
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• While you’re there: Head to Bourne Woods, which have hosted many Hollywood films or the Rural Life Centre for their collection of rural artefacts.
1 Leave the car park at Tilford and cross over the River Wey bridge. Continue along the road for 500m and turn right into Whitmead Lane. After 100m, turn left and then in a few metres turn right onto the track. In 150m, at the footpath sign, take the path to the right of the gatepost. Continue on the enclosed path for 500m to reach a narrow road and turn right. After 300m, at the road hairpin, turn left onto the byway track. Continue on along this until you pass The Donkey pub and reach the road.
2 Take care while crossing the road and head up the bridleway opposite. After 50m, continue on the wide earth path. Eventually, you’ll enter Crooksbury Forest and in turn leave it, reaching the Long Hill sign. Here, fork left on the bridleway to reach a lane in 500m.
3 Cross this and note the warning about Phytophthora ramorum (a fungus-like pathogen of plants that causes extensive damage and mortality to trees and other plants) and follow the advice. After 30m, leave the bridleway and turn left through the barrier and head uphill. At the top of the slope, turn right on the steep path through the trees to reach the summit of Crooksbury Hill. There is a toposcope and seats where you can admire the fine view south.
4 After resting, retrace your steps to the lane where you turn right onto the road. After 150m, the road becomes an earth byway. Follow this and then fork right on the byway. Keep left, going steadily downhill to reach the road. Cross this and follow the bridleway opposite until you reach the busy B3001. This has no footway, so be careful when walking.
5 Head right on the road, being careful of the traffic, until you reach the entrance to Waverley Abbey and its rough car parking area. Follow the signs and in 300m you’ll reach the magical ruins of the abbey. These are well signed, with explanations of what was where.
6 After your visit to the ruins, return to the road and retrace your steps 150m, but then in a further 200m turn right onto the earth byway, which is often muddy in places. After 400m, ignore the bridleway on the left and continue on the byway for 300m to reach the lane.
7 Cross the lane and then continue on the byway for 700m until just after it gets a tarmac surface. Fork right on the bridleway and then after 500m you’ll reach the road again at Tilford. Turn right over the bridge and then head back to the car park.
• Tilford is where the two branches of the River Wey meet and children often play in its waters. There is also the lovely village green with cricket matches and a historic pub, the Barley Mow – ideal for refreshments at the end of the walk.
• Crooksbury Hill is mostly wooded and sandy, and there are extensive views to the South Downs from the top. The area is cared for by Surrey Wildlife Trust.
• Waverley Abbey was the first Cistercian abbey in England, founded in 1128 and dissolved in 1536. Now just extensive ruins remain in beautiful surroundings. The ruins are well labelled so that you can envision what it was like.