A circular walk from Godalming Station in Surrey, taking in the woodlands, lakes and old lanes to the south of the town, including a climb to the top of Hydon's Ball where you will be rewarded with magnificent views. This walk is published through collaboration with 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) Leave Godalming rail station via the main exit (on Platform 2), cross the road and turn right along the pavement, heading downhill and swinging left. Continue past the Old Mill on your right and, towards the top of the hill, turn left into Mint Street. At the crossroads go straight ahead to continue along Mint Street. You will come to a T-junction with Church Street (with a black and white half-timbered property ahead). Turn right for just a short distance to reach the Pepperpot (the 1814 octagonal town hall) and then turn left along the High Street. After passing the pretty arched courtyard for Crown Court on the left (and just before you reach The King's Arms), turn right into Queen Street. At the end of the road, enter the brick shelter ahead, exit left from this and use the pedestrian crossing to cross the main road. Keep directly ahead into Upper Queen Street and follow this to the T-junction at the top. Turn right and then turn left into Latimer Road. At the top of the hill, fork right to join the tarmac footpath leading you steeply uphill. Take a moment to turn round here to enjoy the expansive views that have opened up behind you. Stay with the main steep tarmac path, which swings right and takes you up a flight of steps to reach the edge of a recreation ground.
(1) Turn right on the tarmac path, following the line of hedges and fences on your right. At the junction with the road, turn left along Busbridge Lane (using the right-hand pavement) with the recreation ground on your left. Stay with this road for some distance, taking particular care for the stretches where there is no pavement. At the crossroads, keep straight ahead to continue along the second stretch of Busbridge Lane. At the end of the lane, turn right along Quartermile Road for a few paces and then turn left onto the signed public bridleway. Follow the main bridleway ahead, staying with the line of the fence on the left. Eventually, the bridleway leads you downhill and then continues between two beautiful moss-covered old stone walls. At the junction of paths, go straight ahead and follow the stretch of fenced bridleway which leads you between Busbridge Lakes.
(2) Beyond the lakes, stay with the obvious path which climbs steadily and then begins to level off. Further along, the path leads you between the buildings of Clock Barn Farm with stables on the right and the function and wedding venue on the left. Continue directly ahead on the tarmac access drive, all the way out to a junction with the road. Cross over with care and go straight ahead into the entrance driveway for Homewood House. About 30 metres before you reach the white house, fork left (leaving the driveway) to join the public bridleway signed with a blue arrow. Follow this unmade path under the tunnel of holly trees and on through the woodland. Eventually you will emerge out to a junction with a quiet country lane, turn right along this, taking care of any occasional traffic. Continue all the way to the end of the road where you will find a T-junction. Turn left (signed to Hascombe) and then immediately right into the entrance track for the Hydon Heath car park. Keep straight ahead (passing the parking area on the left), pass alongside the vehicle barrier and then simply stay on the main bridleway track climbing steadily through the woodland. At the crossroads (by the small stone pyramid) keep straight ahead. At the top of the slope, turn right onto a side track which leads you uphill towards a green kiosk (actually a plant cabinet for the underground reservoir). At the kiosk, take the path at about 11 o'clock which leads you uphill to the summit of Hydon's Ball, where you will find a large stone seat and a trig point.
(3) This makes a great place to pause, appreciate the views and to enjoy a picnic. Hydon's Ball was the name given to this site when a signal station was positioned here, used to synchronise time over long distances. You will notice the large stone seat is dedicated to Octavia Hill, one of the founders of the National Trust. She was a tireless campaigner for improving the welfare of city-dwellers, establishing the social housing movement and promoting recreational green spaces, particularly hilltops where people could rise above the city's air pollution. Standing with your back to the stone seat, take the path at about 2 o'clock. At the fork (with green reservoir vents each side), take the right-hand branch and follow this winding downhill to a T-junction. Turn right, following the line of the dense hedge and wire fence on your left. Stay with this path (taking care as it is deeply rutted in part and the makeshift steps are a little unstable) all the way until the fence on the left ends. Turn left, with the tall wire fence now once again running on your left. Stay with the sunken (and often muddy) path as it leads you downhill. Beyond the woodland, the path leads you ahead between hedgerows with large open crop fields each side. You will emerge out to a junction with a lane. Turn right and then immediately left, onto the vehicle track signed as a public bridleway (passing the tile-clad house, Horsehatches, on the left). Stay ahead on the main vehicle track, which leads you past a line of cottages on your right. (NOTE: This next section of path crosses two golf fairways so please show respect for the golfers by allowing them to play their shots before you cross and keeping your eyes peeled for any stray flying balls.) Immediately beyond the cottages, fork left (passing to the left of an old barn) and then keep directly ahead across the first fairway. Continue through the next belt of trees, across a second fairway and then on between fences. Further along, the path crosses a stream and emerges out to a quiet lane, Water Lane.
(4) Turn left along the lane, taking care of any occasional traffic. At a sharp left-hand bend, you will see a fingerpost. Turn right here onto the stone track (signed as a bridleway), passing a post box on your right. Just before Chenton Cottage, you will see another fingerpost marking a junction. Turn left here onto the access drive which leads you past a converted barn on your left.
Keep directly ahead on the main bridleway track. Further along the bridleway leads you under the arch of a railway bridge and then past Enton Mill (on your right) and the mill pond (on your left). It is believed Enton Mill was built in the 1400s. It was closed in 1899 and was later converted into a house. As part of the conversion, the millstream was diverted to create fishing lakes.
(5) Continue along the main vehicle access lane, swinging right and then left and eventually passing a social club on the right. Immediately after this, turn right to join the signed public footpath which runs just to the left of the social club and its garden. At the end of this narrow footpath you will emerge to the corner of an access drive with horse paddocks directly ahead.
Go straight on, passing Lakes Cottage on your right and with the horse paddocks running on your left. Stay on this main vehicle track, passing a horse dressage ring on the left, Lower Enton Lake across to your right and then some allotments on the left. Beyond this point the path narrows, leads you over a pretty stream and then swings left to run parallel with the railway (running on your right). You will emerge out to the road alongside Milford Station. (Should you wish to end the walk at this point, you can catch the train back to Godalming Station).
(6) Cross over the road and turn right over the level crossing. Turn left into the small parking area and follow the vehicle track directly ahead (with the rail line running on the left). Simply follow this track for some distance, passing a large plant nursery on the right and Milford Golf Course on the left. After passing a single house on the left, keep straight ahead on the narrow woodland footpath. Further up, the path leads you past a new housing development on your right (the site of the former Milford Hospital). Simply follow the path with the housing site on the right and the woodland fence on your left. The path dog-legs left and right (ignore the gate into the woodland here) just continue on the path between the houses and the woodland. Eventually you will come to a T-junction with another path. Turn right and follow this all the way out to a junction with the road at the edge of Tuesley.
(7) Turn sharp left, following the lane steeply downhill and swinging right (taking great care of traffic on this bend). At the bottom of the slope, just beyond the row of old quarry cottages, turn left onto the signed public footpath. Follow this path downhill (taking care as it is extremely rutted from water erosion).
The path crosses a stream and then begins to climb, leading you up a steep flight of steps. Simply stay on the fenced path with large hillside paddocks on the left and the land surrounding Ladywell Convent on your right. Eventually you will emerge out to a road. Cross over and turn right along the pavement (ignoring the side road, Admiral Way). Just after the entrance drive for Ladywell Convent on your right, turn left through the staggered barrier to join the signed public footpath between fences.
Stay with this enclosed path, zig-zagging ahead, with another new housing development on the left. Eventually the path leads you out to the entrance drive at Godalming College. Cross over, passing the Performing Arts Centre on your left, and follow the fenced path (with the driveway running on your right). At the end of the driveway you will come to a road junction with Shackstead Lane.
(8) Use the central island to cross Shackstead Lane and then keep straight ahead into Tuesley Lane. Take the first road on the right, Oakdene Road and, when this road swings right, keep straight ahead to join the narrow tarmac footpath between fences. At the first road junction, cross over and keep directly ahead on the continuation of the tarmac path. You will emerge out to a road junction at the corner of the recreation ground (which you should recognise from the outward leg).
Cross over the road and go straight ahead along Summerhouse Road. Where this road bends left, keep straight ahead to join the footpath called Butts Lane, heading steeply downhill. Part way down the slope, take the path on the left which swings right and leads you down a steep flight of steps called St Edmunds Steps. At the bottom, turn right and then take the first left into South Street.
At the bottom of the slope, turn right onto the path which leads you to a pedestrian crossing. Cross this, take the short slope just to your left into a small side road. Follow this narrow road, Lower South Street, downhill to reach a T-junction with the High Street. There are plenty of options for refreshments at this stage.
Turn left and then turn right by the Pepperpot into Church Street. Follow Church Street all the way round to pass the Church of St Peter and St Paul on your right. Beyond the church keep straight ahead, ignoring Borough Road to the right. Where the main road bends left, cross over with care to continue in the same direction up the tarmac footpath. This footpath leads you directly back to the rail station where the walk began.(D/A)
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 138ft - Godalming rail station
1 : mi 0.67 - alt. 289ft - Tarmac path
2 : mi 1.74 - alt. 249ft - Busbridges Lakes
3 : mi 3.51 - alt. 574ft - Hydon's Ball
4 : mi 4.94 - alt. 240ft - Water Lane
5 : mi 5.45 - alt. 226ft - Main vehicle access lane
6 : mi 6.52 - alt. 203ft - Godalming Station
7 : mi 7.38 - alt. 236ft - Tuesley Lane
8 : mi 8.18 - alt. 289ft - Shackstead Lane
D/A : mi 8.95 - alt. 138ft - Godalming rail station
The walk has several climbs and descents including a couple of very steep sections. There are no stiles or gates on route but there are several flights of steps. All of the paths are enclosed, so you will not encounter any livestock. The bridleways and paths are very rutted and uneven in many places and can also get very muddy, so good boots are a must (or wellingtons with grips in the wet winter months). There are a couple of sections of walking along country lanes so take care of traffic at these points. The route also crosses a golf course, so please show respect for the golfers by allowing them to take their shots before crossing and watch out for any stray golf balls. The walk can be shortened to 7 miles by finishing at Milford Station and then returning to Godalming by train.
Godalming itself has many options for refreshments at the start or end of the walk, but there are no facilities along the rest of the route. Ordnance Survey Map: Explorer 145 Guildford & Farnham. This walk follows public footpaths and bridleways which cross private and public land. Information is included, 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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