East Horley

A circular walk taking you on a journey through time where new meets old and built up areas merge with farmland, streams and woodland. Your route passes through the newest housing developments and goes back in time to encounter World War II pillboxes, hints of the tanning industry and further still to Saxon times with the mysterious site of Thunderfield Castle. This walk is part of the Explore Surrey collection, published through a collaboration with the Surrey County Council.

Technical sheet
No. 7552772
A Horley walk posted on 08/04/21 by Aurelie-21. Update : 08/04/21
Calculated time Calculated time: 2h45[?]
Distance Distance : 5.93mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 26ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 26ft
Highest point Highest point : 213ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 174ft
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Horley
Starting point Starting point : N 51.18105° / W 0.15412°
Download : -

Description

(D/A) Standing on Ladbroke Road facing the pub, turn right along the lane (passing the parking lay-by on the right and houses on the left). Ignore the first footpath signed on the right and you will come to a crossroads. Turn left into Lake Lane, signed as a cycleway to Greenwich and Redhill. The Surrey Cycleway is a series of routes for bikes that allow cyclists to travel all over the county with a minimum of traffic. Lake Lane is also one of the north-south droveways for Saxon swine herds which were driven from the parishes in the north of Surrey to feed on the plentiful acorns in the oak woods to the south. Pass the school on the right and continue straight ahead at the crossroads with Brookfield Drive. Beyond the housing development, ignore the footpath to the right and simply keep ahead along the lane. You will pass Great Lake Farm on the left. You may have noticed that both the farm and lane include reference to a lake, but there are only streams in sight. This is because of the track's Saxon origins.

(1) Keep ahead along the lane which crosses Burstow Stream and then leads you under power lines, with a pylon on the left. Shortly after the pylon, where the lane swings right, turn right through a kissing gate to join the signed public footpath. Walk at about 11 o'clock (passing to the left of the tree in the field centre) to cross a stile into a second field. Cross this at 11 o'clock to reach a narrow gateway in the centre of the far hedgerow. Cross the sleeper bridge (it can be very muddy here!) into the third field. Walk straight ahead, heading for the wide gate opposite, where you will find a kissing gate hidden in the hedge to the right of it. Pass through this to enter a fourth field, a large crop field. You will see a pillbox on the left, the first of many on this route which formed part of the invasion defence in World War II. Walk straight ahead across this field heading for the house and telegraph pole opposite. Before you reach the house, you will see a wide gate in the hedge on the right (with a stile alongside). Cross this stile (or the gate may be open) and turn sharp right, crossing the field diagonally right (with your back to the stile you should be walking at about 2 o'clock). Cross another stile and then walk straight across this next pasture, noting another pillbox across to the right. You will come to a stile and footbridge ahead, at the edge of a narrow copse.

(2) Cross the stile and footbridge, pass through the copse (which is filled with bluebells in the spring) and another stile-footbridge combination leads you into the next field. The copse ahead and to the right, Scotchman's Copse, holds a tanning pond where leather was treated in the 1500s. This rare feature is now listed as an Ancient Monument. Nearby there used to be a farm called "Tanyard Farm" again a link to the tanning industry. Walk directly ahead, staying close to the ditch on the right. In the field corner you will see a concrete and metal footbridge. Do NOT cross this, instead turn left and stay close to the right-hand field boundary, with Burstow Stream running to the right. At the end of the field, cross the footbridge via two metal gates and you will see another pillbox ahead. Do NOT walk towards this, instead turn right and follow the line of Burstow Stream to your right. Kingfishers patrol Burstow Stream so keep an eye out for a flash of blue skimming over the water. Follow this waterside path for some distance, crossing three more footbridges along the way (each with stiles or gates at each end). Continue along the right-hand boundary of this next field and you will come to a footbridge with stiles within the right-hand hedge. Cross this fourth bridge and go straight across the smaller field. A fifth footbridge with stiles leads you to a path alongside a Sewage Treatment Works.

(3) Follow the path with the treatment works on the left and Burstow Stream on the right. (This section can also be very muddy). The path swings right to cross another footbridge with stiles and leads you out to the corner of an open area of heath. Turn immediately left, following the line of dense hedgerow on the left. Pass through the gap to the left of a small tree and line of old wooden fencing and then continue ahead, staying close to the hedgerow on the left (passing the old wooden fencing and a pylon to the right). After 250m you will come to a T-junction with a surfaced bridleway. Turn left along this and follow it over a stream. Pass a pylon on the left and, further along, go through a gate to reach a junction with Smallfield Road.

(4) Cross over the road with care and take the signed public byway directly ahead. Follow this long straight path between trees and hedgerows for some distance. The byway emerges out to a corner of a small road, Peeks Brook Lane. Go straight ahead along this lane, taking care of any occasional traffic. Keep ahead along the road passing between properties. You are now heading towards Gatwick and moving ever closer to the M23 which is running across to the left. You will notice that the trees lining the first stretch of track are predominantly willow, often an indicator of damp ground. Slowly they will give way to oak, hazel, elder and hawthorn which prefer drier ground. Hazel was widely coppiced even into the 1900s and was often grown interspersed with "standards" of oak, two woods used for very different purposes. The track narrows between post and continues straight ahead. See how many species of tree, bird and mammal you can see or hear on this long straight stretch, you might be surprised that such woodland havens for wildlife can be found this close to a major motorway. At the end of the woodland stretch, keep ahead between a couple of properties and follow the lane left over a stream. Pass Peeks Rough Farm on the right and, about 50m before the motorway bridge overhead, turn right onto the public footpath signed to Balcombe Road (this is just after the gates for a goods yard). Follow this narrow path with the fence for the goods yard on the right. The path leads you over a footbridge and up some steps to continue with open fields visible to the right. You will reach a signed junction with a stile ahead. Turn right here, signed to Horley, and follow this fenced path between pastures. At the end of the first long field, keep straight ahead at the junction and you will emerge via a kissing gate to reach a T-junction with Haroldslea Drive.

(5) At this point, stop a moment and consider that this may have been the very path taken by King Harold on his way to the Battle of Hastings in 1066, walking to rest for the night at Thunderfield Castle which was situated across to the right. With this in mind, turn right along the road, taking care of any occasional traffic. Further along, the lane will lead you back over Burstow Stream. Follow the lane ahead, which then bends sharp right and you will see the double moat of the old castle site in the trees to the left. The name Thunderfield Castle originates from Thor, god of thunder. The unusual 12th century double moat is an Ancient Monument, however there is no trace of the actual castle. Due to the moat's designation it is not possible to excavate the site to look for evidence of a castle and so the mystery of Thunderfield continues. Some historians suggest that the castle took the form of a timber-framed manor house, the remains of which long since rotted into the soil. The mystery of the site is further enlivened by ghost stories of a bell that tolls the arrival of a small ghostly army heading for the castle. Could this be Harold? Follow the road swinging left around the castle site until you reach Coldlands Farm directly ahead. If you glance to the left here you will see a fingerpost marking a footpath junction (just after the three garages). Turn left here onto the public bridleway with a fence running on the right. After 100m, at the signed junction, ignore the lure of the footbridges ahead and left. Instead, turn right and follow this path through the pretty woodland corridor. You will emerge out alongside the buildings of Harrowsley Green Farm. Follow the signed bridleway, keeping ahead past the barn on the right, turning right along the concrete track and then turning left along the farm's tarmac drive. At the end of the drive you will come to a T-junction with Smallfield Road. Cross over with care but do NOT take the bridlegate ahead. Instead, turn left along the pavement for a few paces and then turn right onto the tarmac track (Langshott Lane), signed as a bridleway.

(6) Cross the concrete bridge and keep ahead on the tarmac track which is lined by oak, hazel, holly and rhododendrons with big houses either side. Take care here as some local traffic uses this route. After passing the last property on the right, Keeper's Cottage, keep ahead as the bridleway becomes a byway and you will pass Brook Wood on the right. Beyond the woodland the lane leads you into the eastern end of the new housing development. Just before the road bends left you will see Langshott Manor through the railings on the left, an Elizabethan building with a moat. A Roman Road ran past this site (Roman coins have been found here) and it is possible that a much earlier Roman building once stood here. The current building dates from the 1600s and is now a luxury hotel, spa and restaurant. Stay on the main lane which swings left and then continues ahead until you emerge to the crossroads with Lake Lane that you passed through on your outward leg. Keep straight ahead here and you will reach the end of the walk, the parking lay-by on the left and The Farmhouse pub a little further along on the right.(D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 187ft - Ladbroke Road
1 : mi 0.42 - alt. 177ft - Burstow Stream
2 : mi 1.3 - alt. 187ft - Footbridge
3 : mi 2 - alt. 200ft - Treatment works
4 : mi 2.36 - alt. 200ft - Smallfield Road
5 : mi 4.21 - alt. 200ft - Haroldslea Drive
6 : mi 5.06 - alt. 197ft - Concrete bridge
D/A : mi 5.93 - alt. 187ft - Ladbroke Road

Useful Information

The walk is almost entirely flat. The ground is however very rough and after wet periods some of the clay soils on the route can become waterlogged and deep with mud. Stout boots are essential and wellingtons recommended in the wetter months. You will need to negotiate several steps and gates plus 15 stiles (all of which have open fence surrounds which should be suitable for most dogs to pass through). There are a number of grazing pastures to cross on this walk, sometimes holding cattle, so please take particular care with dogs. Allow 3 hours.

There are no toilets or picnic spots on the route itself. Refreshments are only available at the start and end of the walk, at The Farmhouse pub. Ordnance Survey Map: Explorer 146 Dorking, Box Hill and Reigate. 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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