A circular walk from the beautiful village of Chiddingfold, taking in the surrounding woodland and rolling fields with chance to visit a donkey sanctuary if you time it right. This walk is published through a collaboration with the Surrey County Council.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) To begin your walk, make your way to the southern end of the village green, by The Crown Inn. Cross over the main A283 road with care to reach the church directly opposite. Turn right along the pavement and follow this as it swings left into the side road, Coxcombe Lane (signed to Grayswood and the Village Hall). Follow the lane passing the village pond on your right and then swinging left. Just before the road bends right, turn left onto the stone track signed as a public footpath. When you come to the churchyard ahead, fork right to join the narrow tarmac path with the fenced churchyard running on your left. Simply stay with the main narrow tarmac path leading you steeply uphill and, as you reach the top, take time to enjoy the views that have opened up to your left. Pass alongside a large oak tree and an old kissing gate to reach a residential access lane. Keep directly ahead along this, passing between properties. Further along, where the tarmac lane swings right, keep ahead to join the narrow stone footpath (just to the right of the entrance gate for The Downs). Follow this path downhill between fences and on to reach a stile. Cross the stile to enter the large field (which is likely to be holding horses). Keep ahead, following the path closest to the top field boundary on your right. Ignore the first stile on your right, instead continue ahead along the right-hand edge of the field. Where the field boundary steps away to the right, continue on the path across the paddock (at about 1 o'clock) to reach a stile within the hedgerow. Cross this, follow the path ahead, passing through a kissing gate along the way. Bear right at the T-junction with a fence ahead and follow the fence line on your left. Cross over the entrance drive and go through the kissing gate ahead to enter the pasture (likely to be holding sheep). Follow the path, staying with the fence line on your right. At the top, bear left to follow the path along the top of the field, with the fence still running on your right. At the far end, pass through the kissing gate and go down the steps to reach a junction with Pook Hill.
(1) NOTE: The next stretch follows quiet country lanes so take care of any traffic. Turn right, following the lane uphill, passing Langhurst Manor on the left. Soon afterwards, ignore the footpath on the left, simply follow the lane steadily downhill, passing the impressive Langhurst House on your left. Turn right at the T-junction and follow this lane into a small hamlet of houses, including a beautiful example of a tile-hung property on the right.
Opposite the property Hatchbolt (on your right) and just before a give way sign, turn sharp left onto a signed footpath. Follow the grass track between hedgerows, passing through the small metal gate, a relic of the old Combe Court estate (more of that later). Continue on the grass track, passing through the remains of an old avenue of oak trees. Directly ahead in the distance, you may be able to see the ornate turret of Combe Court Farm. Just before the grass track reaches the tarmac drive, bear right, staying with the grass track between fences.
The grass track leads you past a pretty pond on your left and then climbs steadily. Beyond the evergreen hedge to your right is Combe Court (you might get a glimpse through the sparse sections of hedgerow). Combe Court was built in 1850 by Rev John Storer, in the Tudor Gothic style. Later it was owned by the Pinckard family, founders of the life insurance firm Clerical Medical. In 1911 Pinckard founded a depot for the army remount service at Combe Court, and nearly 200 wild horses were in training here at any one time, ready for use by the army. Today Combe Court is made up of luxury apartments.
Eventually you will come to a stile ahead. Cross this to enter a horse paddock and walk ahead, following the fence on your right. Stay in the same direction, passing through a gate and crossing a stile to enter a belt of woodland. Follow the obvious woodland path leading you steeply downhill (take care as it can be muddy and slippery). At the bottom you will come to a beautiful brick bridge spanning a small river. Take a moment to glance over the side to get a view of the beautiful brick abutments and paved base which guide the water through the bridge.
(2) Cross the bridge and keep ahead as the public footpath leads you back up the hill (take care again if it is muddy). As you emerge from the trees, cross the stile in front of you and keep ahead passing fenced horse paddocks on your left. Cross the next two stiles ahead to reach the railway crossing. NOTE: This is an official footpath rail crossing point but is unsignalled so please take time to look and listen carefully for trains before you cross.
At the far side, go down the steps and cross the stile to reach the edge of a crop field. Go straight ahead and, at the far side of the field, keep ahead over the sleeper bridge to join the narrow path leading you into a large woodland. Further along, the path widens and swings left to reach a T-junction with a bridleway. Turn right along this and then turn left to cross the stream via a bridge.
Bear left, following the main bridleway track climbing through the woodland (again this can get very muddy). At the top of the hill, ignore the footpath to your left, simply keep ahead on the main bridleway track. The track soon becomes a stone access lane, leading you past a series of fenced paddocks and stable buildings on your right.
These paddocks and stables are the facilities of the RSPCA Lockwood Donkey and Horse Sanctuary, an equine centre that rehabilitates and rehomes horses, ponies and donkeys. The centre also has a resident herd of donkeys who remain in the centre for permanent care. The centre is open to general visitors between the months of April and October every Wednesday or Sunday between 11.30am and 4pm. You can enjoy Donkey Treat Time or Donkey Grooming Time, take a picnic in the gardens or buy drinks and ice creams from the small shop.
(3) Beyond the sanctuary, keep directly ahead on the stone lane, passing between houses. At the top of the lane you will come to a crossroads within Sandhills. Turn right along the road (taking care of traffic) passing Nut Tree Cottage on your left (with its perfectly trimmed globe-shape yew tree). Just after passing Redlands on your right, fork right onto the stone vehicle track and stay with this as it dwindles to a woodland path, part of the Greensand Way.
Beyond the woodland, you will join an access drive with Pinewood Lodge on your left. Keep ahead along the vehicle track and follow it to the T-junction. Turn right, heading downhill on the track passing Inglewood on your left. The track narrows to become a tarmac footpath and swings left to join the platform of Witley rail station. Walk along the platform and use the footbridge across the rail line to reach Platform 2.
(4) Leave the station via the exit on Platform 2 and turn right passing through the car park with the train line running on your right. Pass the industrial unit on your left and then turn left to join the footpath (signed with a yellow arrow) alongside the gate for Lilac Cottage. Pass Lilac Cottage on your left and keep straight ahead on the footpath which leads you through a section of coppiced woodland and then passes a small housing development on your left.
At the end of this path you will come to a junction with the access lane for an industrial complex. Cross over and take the footpath which continues ahead (you may need to skirt round the red gates of the complex to do this). This next stretch of path leads you to a stile. Cross the stile to enter the paddock (likely to be holding horses) and walk at about 10 o'clock, passing just to the left of the tennis court. At the far side, a stile leads you to a junction with Combe Lane.
(5) NOTE: You may come across livestock in any of the fields from this point so take particular care with dogs. Cross the road with care and take the stile ahead into the first pasture. Walk ahead, following the left-hand fence and cross the next stile to enter a belt of woodland. Follow the woodland path ahead and at the far side a stile leads you into the second pasture. Cross this field at about 11 o'clock and a combination of two stiles and a footbridge lead you into the third pasture. Walk ahead (with a fence on the left for the first few metres) and, when the fence ends, cross the remainder of the field between 10 and 11 o'clock. Cross the stile to reach the grass track alongside Noddings Farm. Turn left along the grass track for about 60 metres and then turn right over a stile into the fourth pasture. Cross the field at about 11 o'clock, heading over the brow of the hill and then down to reach a wide metal gate. Pass through the gate and cross the narrow fifth pasture ahead to reach the stile alongside a river. Cross this stile and the bridge to enter the woodland.
(6) Follow the path ahead and keep ahead at the crossroads with a vehicle track, following the narrow path which leads you over a stream. The path bears left, with holly bushes on your left, before becoming a sunken track leading you under arches of holly. At the top of the hill, a kissing gate leads you into the corner of a field, the sixth pasture.
Walk ahead, following the line of fenced woodland on your right. Pass through the next kissing gate and stay along the right-hand edge of this seventh and final pasture. At the far end, a kissing gate leads you into a path between hedgerows and fences (passing through another gate along the way). At the end you will emerge to Woodside Road.
Turn left along the road, joining the right-hand pavement as soon as you are able to. Follow the road as it swings sharp right and then crossing the side roads Yewens and Woodside Close. Stay with the main road and you will pass the Baptist church on your right and The Villagers, a function and events centre, on your left. Take the next road on the right, Coxcombe Lane. Follow this for some distance, leading you steadily downhill and passing the village hall and scout hut on your right.
The lane will lead you all the way back to the centre of Chiddingfold opposite The Green where the walk began. Take time to explore the village should you wish. Most of the properties around The Green date from the 1300s to 1500s. The village is famous for its impressive bonfire and torch-lit procession held every November. If you are looking for refreshments you will find The Crown Inn pub or Treacles Tea Shop alongside The Green. It is recorded that King Edward IV and 4000 men camped on The Green on 21 July 1552 and probably enjoyed hospitality at The Crown (said to date to the 1200s) so you will be in good company!(D/A)
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 177ft - The Crown Inn
1 : mi 1.08 - alt. 302ft - Pook Hill
2 : mi 1.97 - alt. 246ft - River Bridge
3 : mi 2.79 - alt. 292ft - Donkey Sanctuary
4 : mi 3.63 - alt. 289ft - Witley Station
5 : mi 4.06 - alt. 249ft - Combe Lane
6 : mi 4.6 - alt. 184ft - Riverside Stile
D/A : mi 5.66 - alt. 177ft - The Crown Inn
The walk has several climbs and descents throughout, some of which are fairly steep in part. The paths across fields and through woodland can get very muddy and slippery so good boots are a must (or wellingtons with grips in the winter months). You will need to negotiate several kissing gates and steps plus 18 stiles. Some of the stiles are very tall (so humans will need to be fairly agile) and, whilst many have open fence surrounds, at least 5 stiles are fully enclosed and so dogs would need a lift over these. You will be sharing many of the fields with livestock (horses, sheep and sometimes cattle). Some of the paths are narrow and so could be overgrown at times. The walk crosses a railway line at an unsignalled crossing so take great care at this point. There are a couple of sections walking along quiet country lanes so be careful of traffic on these stretches. If you wish to visit the Donkey Sanctuary, this is open April to October on Wednesdays and Sundays, between 11.30am and 4pm. Approximate time 3 hours, plus extra if visiting the sanctuary. There are toilets at Witley rail station, about half way round. If you are looking for refreshments, you will find The Crown Inn pub and Treacles Tea Shop on Chiddingfold Green at the start or end of the walk. Ordnance Survey Map: Explorer OL33 Haslemere and Petersfield. This walk follows public footpaths and bridleways which cross private and public land. Information is included for your interest, but please respect people's privacy, keep dogs under control and remember the Countryside Code.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
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