An undulating circular walk from Tilford village passing close to The Sands village and the historic ruins of Waverley Abbey. From the top of Crooksbury Hill there are good views to the South Downs on a clear day. 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) From the village green, walk over to the north-east corner where you will find East Tilford Bridge, a bridge over the River Wey. This bridge was one of a series of medieval bridges spanning the river between Farnham and Guildford. The bridges all have a similar design and were probably built for the monks of nearby Waverley Abbey. Cross East Tilford Bridge using the left-hand pavement, heading towards the village shop. A few paces later, just before you reach the shop/post office, turn left onto the signed bridleway. Follow this path for approximately 540m, all the way to the top where you will reach a T-junction with Squires Hill Lane.
(1) Turn left along the lane and pass Tilhill House on the right. Keep straight ahead on the sandy track which leads you into the woods. Soon you will come to a fork at a waymarker post. Take the right-hand branch here, signed with a red arrow, a public byway. Follow this sandy track heading uphill which leads you past the property Ebernoe on the left and then Sheephatch Farm on the right. Hatch means a gate and probably refers to a gate in the boundary here of the 521 acres of Waverley Abbey lands. At the staggered T-junction, bear right and follow the drive to reach the road, Sheephatch Lane.
(2) Cross over the road with care and take the track opposite (signed as a public byway). Follow this track between conifer plantations for about 400m. At the bottom of the slope you will come to a T-junction. Turn left and follow the track which later swings right. The ruins of Waverley Abbey can be seen through the trees to your left (assuming the vegetation is not too dense), and the 18th century Waverley Abbey House stands on the hill beyond them. Continue ahead to reach a T-junction with the road, Waverley Lane, where you have the choice of taking an optional detour to the abbey ruins.
(3) NOTE: The detour to Waverley Abbey ruins involves a stretch of road walking along the edge of a busy road, including a blind corner and so probably isn't suitable for children. If you do decide to take the detour please do take extreme care. To visit Waverley Abbey ruins, turn left down the road. Turn left at the T-junction (this is the BLIND CORNER, so TAKE GREAT CARE). Cross the river and turn left into the Abbey entrance. Here you will find information boards and the track which leads you to the ruins themselves. The road bridge over the River Wey has been rebuilt and widened on the site of a medieval bridge. By the entrance to the abbey there has been a succession of water mills. Waverley Abbey, the first Cistercian monastery in England, was founded in 1128 by Bishop Gifford of Winchester. The Abbey was built over a period of 150 years. Following the dissolution in 1536 much of the building stone was sold. Some of it was used to build Loseley House near Guildford. When you have finished exploring, return back to the main route, where the byway track emerges onto Waverley Lane.
(4) For the main route, turn right heading uphill along the road edge for 230m (taking care of the traffic which can be fast moving). You will pass the entrance to Keepers Cottage Stud Farm on the left. Immediately afterwards, turn left onto the track signed as a bridleway to Yew Tree Cottage. Follow the track steadily uphill, passing Yew Tree Cottage on the left and continuing into woodland. At the top of the slope you will pass the blue-trimmed Waverley Cottages on the left and emerge out to a T-junction with Crooksbury Road. Cross over the road with care and take the signed bridleway opposite, which swings sharp left to run parallel with the road on the left. Keep left at the first fork and then left again at the second fork and the path will lead you into the back of Crooksbury Hill car park. Turn right within the car park, passing between a pair of benches (and passing the information board on the left), to join the waymarked footpath (marked with a yellow arrow). The path leads you up the hill via a series of wooden steps. At the very top (well done!) you will reach benches and the white trig point marking the summit of Crooksbury Hill. Take time to catch your breath and enjoy the extensive views to the South Downs. Set into the top of the trig point you will find a bronze relief which shows the landmarks and distances in various directions. On the back of the trig point is a plaque to Theodore Vincent Scott Durrant, a former Surrey Planning Officer, in recognition of his distinguished service to the countryside. In medieval times much of the area around here was part of the manorial waste of the Manor of Farnham which was held by successive Bishops of Winchester. Bishop Henry de Blois granted the monks of Waverley the right to pasture swine and cattle on the waste.
(5) When you have finished enjoying the views, stand with your back to the view (and to the Durrant plaque) and join the path directly ahead. After just a few metres, bear right on the narrow path to begin your descent. Further down, at the fork, bear right again. Continue through the staggered barrier, straight over the crossroads and past a vehicle barrier towards the road. Do NOT continue to the road, instead turn left immediately after the barrier to join a footpath which runs parallel with the road on the right. At the fork, turn right out to the road and then turn left along the grass verge passing between houses. Follow the road down to the crossroads at The Sands.
(6) Turn right past the Barley Mow pub on the right and follow this road (taking care of traffic) for 230m, passing the village boundary signs. Turn right onto the long straight track, Long Hill. The lane climbs steadily between properties and then leads you down past a vehicle gate to enter Crooksbury Common. Keep ahead on the sandy track, a public bridleway, across Crooksbury Common for 720m. At the common edge, continue ahead on the track past the houses. Eventually, the track leads you out to a T-junction with the road, Farnham Road.
(7) Cross over the road with care and turn right down the entrance lane leading to The Donkey pub. Continue on the track which leads you past the pub on the left and then begins to climb. You will pass Riversleigh Farm on the left. Just beyond this you will come to a staggered crossroads. Turn left (passing Ravenswing on the left) and stay on this track for 1.1km to emerge out to a junction with the road, Whitmead Lane.
(8) Turn right and follow the road uphill. After 300m, just after passing a house on the left (and by a post box on the right), turn left to join a narrow fenced path between gardens. Stay on this path, following the fence line on the right, and it will lead you between horse paddocks and then along a ridge. At the end of the path, keep ahead to merge with the residential access drive. Keep ahead along this drive to reach a junction. Turn left and then immediately right (taking care of traffic) and this lane will lead you out to a T-junction with the main road. Taking extreme care at this junction, cross the main road and then turn left along the pavement. The pavement will lead you past the village stores and back over the river bridge to reach the village green in Tilford where the walk began.(D/A)
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 171ft - Village green
1 : mi 0.45 - alt. 210ft - Squires Hill Lane
2 : mi 0.9 - alt. 269ft - Sheephatch Lane
3 : mi 1.47 - alt. 256ft - Abbey Detour
4 : mi 1.91 - alt. 259ft - Waverley Lane
5 : mi 2.63 - alt. 509ft - Crooksbury Hill
6 : mi 3.02 - alt. 358ft - The Sands
7 : mi 4.52 - alt. 210ft - Farnham Road
8 : mi 5.29 - alt. 213ft - Whitmead Lane
D/A : mi 6.23 - alt. 171ft - Village green
Note: As of October 17, 2020 Tilford East Bridge on Tilford Street is closed to traffic, but open to pedestrians, although you'll be able to use the main (new) bridge in a couple of days. It's due to re-open mid-November.
The walk involves several steady gradients plus one steeper climb to the top of Crooksbury Hill. The paths and tracks through the commons and woodlands are all unmade and can get quite muddy so good boots are recommended (or wellingtons in the winter). There are some sections of road walking so take care of traffic on these stretches. You will need to negotiate a long flight of steps but there are no kissing gates or stiles on route. Allow 3 hours, with an extra hour for the detour to Waverley Abbey.
There are public toilets at the start of the walk, on Tilford Green by the school. If you are looking for refreshments there are several options. Tilford has a post office and tea room and there are three pubs along the route. The Barley Mow on Tilford Green is at the start/end of the walk, the Barley Mow at The Sands is at Waypoint 6 and The Donkey is at Waypoint 7.
Ordnance Survey Map: Explorer 145 Guildford & Farnham. This walk follows public rights of way 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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