10 top winter walks in Surrey from iFootpath.com
PUBLISHED: 10:27 03 January 2017 | UPDATED: 10:27 03 January 2017
If there’s ever a time of year when a brisk, bracing walk is needed, then the lead-up to the festive season and its ensuing mayhem is surely it. Here, the founders of ifootpath, a specialist walking app that’s seen much of its success in Surrey, picks out their 10 most popular winter walks
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2016
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Norbury Park Western Loop
The low-down: A fairly easy circular walk of approximately four¬and¬a¬half miles around Norbury Park, near Leatherhead, you’ll find an enchanting mix of woodland, chalk grassland and farmed fields. The park is managed by Surrey Wildlife Trust, on behalf of Surrey County Council, and you are sure to see plenty of wildlife, a few sculptures created at the resident sawmill and beautiful views across the Mole Valley.
Start/finish: Fetcham Car Park accessed from the A246 Young Street.
Post-walk refresher: The Bell (tel: 01372 372624) is a large, contemporary gastropub off Bell Lane in Fetcham.
Tilford Birds and Bridges
The low-down: This picturesque circular walk of seven¬and¬a¬half miles takes in the Frensham Great and Little Ponds and the River Wey, discovering the medieval bridges at Tilford and enjoying an abundance of birds and wildlife along the way.
Start/finish: The main car park at Frensham Great Pond in Bacon Lane, Churt (parking is free during the week; however, parking charges of £4 per day apply on Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays from Easter to the end of September).
Post-walk refresher: At around the half¬way point, you pass The Barley Mow (tel: 01252 792205) overlooking Tilford village green.
The low-down: An enjoyable circular walk of three-and-a-half miles around Woldingham, the village sits in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is surrounded by steep hills and sweeping valleys. The walk follows quiet residential roads and passes through woodland and farmland.
Start/finish: The walk starts and finishes at Woldingham train station. If you are arriving by car, there is a pay-and-display car park at the station and a district council pay-and-display car park on Woldingham Road.
Post-walk refresher: If you’ve got the car, then Botley Hill Farmhouse (tel: 01959 577154) is well worth the detour on Limpsfield Road. Otherwise, stop for tea at The Dene Coffee Shop (tel: 01883 652712) at Knights Garden Centre in Woldingham.
The low-down: This two-mile circular walk takes you around the National Trust-managed half of Gatton Park, near Reigate, overlooking a beautiful area of parkland designed by Lancelot Capability Brown and giving you a glimpse into its diverse history. Along the way, you will enjoy spectacular views, rolling parkland and a modern stone circle that commemorates the last millennium.
Start/finish: The free Wray Lane countryside car park.
Post-walk refresher: The Yew Tree (tel: 01737 244944), a traditional inn and eating house part way up Reigate Hill.
Puttenham Common and the North Downs Way
The low-down: A three¬and¬a¬half mile circular walk around Puttenham Common, between Farnham and Guildford, this lovely area comprises mixed woodland, grassland and heathland and is home to lots of birds (and in warmer months butterflies, reptiles and dragonflies) that reside among the ponds, heather, grasses, silver birch, oaks and pines.
Start/finish: Puttenham Common’s Middle Car Park (not the Top Car Park) on Suffield Lane.
Post-walk refresher: A good old¬fashioned pub¬goer’s pub, The Good Intent (tel: 01483 810387) is found on The Street, Puttenham.
Inspiring Views Trail
The low-down: A brand-new five-and-a-half mile circular walk within the Surrey Hills, this route celebrates the Inspiring Views art project, visiting a number of beautiful viewpoints and discovering the sculptural benches and poetry inspired by these (read more at surreylife.co.uk). You will be taken on a peaceful journey through the densely-wooded rolling hills, interspersed with the breathtaking views and stunning artwork.
Start/finish: Car Park 5 (managed by the Friends of the Hurtwood), which is accessed from Winterfold Heath Road.
Post-walk refresher: The Hurtwood Inn pub and restaurant (tel: 01306 731769) in the nearby cycling haven of Peaslake village.
Horsley Woodland Trail
The low-down: This seven¬and¬a¬half mile circular walk explores the woodlands and open spaces of East and West Horsley and Effingham, including Great Ridings Wood, Oldlands Wood and the Sheepleas. The route also takes you past a number of the beautiful and mysterious flint bridges built by Lord Lovelace in the 1800s (read more about those at surreylife.co.uk).
Start/finish: The walk starts and finishes at Horsley train station in East Horsley. If you are arriving by car, the station has its own car park, which costs £2 per day, Monday to Friday off¬peak (after 10.30am), but is free at the weekends.
Post-walk refresher: A detour to the Duke of Wellington (tel: 01483 282312) on Guildford Road is well worth the effort.
The low-down: A four-and-a-half mile circular walk from Dormans Station, this trail crosses Lingfield Park racecourse and golf course, passing through the Dormans Park estate and the Cook’s Pond Viaduct along the way.
Start/finish: The walk starts from Dormans train station. If you are arriving by bus or car, you will need to adjust the walk to start and finish at St John’s Church on the High Street in Dormansland village.
Post-walk refresher: Head to nearby pub The Plough (tel: 01342 832933) on Plough Road for a warming tipple.
The low-down: A six¬mile circular walk from Cobham, this route will take you through the beautiful countryside around Downside, discovering the local history and wildlife en route. Along the way, you will also visit Chatley Semaphore Tower, one of 15 semaphores once used to relay messages between the Admiralty in London and Portsmouth Dockyard.
Start/finish: Hollyhedge Road pay¬and¬display car park (just off Downside Bridge Road). Fees are £2.80 for three hours or £3.80 for four.
Post-walk refresher: With the Plough Inn (tel: 01932 589790), Running Mare (tel: 01932 862007), Old Plough Inn (tel: 01932 862244) and Cricketers (tel: 01932 862105) all only a short drive away, you’re spoiled for choice.
Leith Hill Place and Tower
The low-down: A two¬and¬a¬half mile circular woodland walk through the Surrey Hills, this route takes you to the highest point in south¬east England – Leith Hill. The walk also passes through the former grounds of Leith Hill Place, a country house dating back to 1600 with its rhododendron woods, planted woodland and walled ruins.
Start/finish: The free Windy Gap car parks at Leith Hill on Abinger Road. You can park in either car park – north or south of the road.
Post-walk refresher: The excellent Plough Inn (tel: 01306 711793) in Coldharbour village, which has its own brewery.
If you’re planning on tackling any of these walks via public transport, then you’ll find plenty of help with your planning at journeys.travelsmartsurrey.info
For all of these walks, a digitally-guided walking route, with step-by-step instructions, is available at iFootpath.com. Created by husband-and-wife team, Richard Jemmett and Claire Sharp, iFootpath’s website and app are home to hundreds of GPS-powered modern walking guides, from town trails to riverside rambles and countryside adventures. The guides consist of fully-written turn-by-turn directions, historical notes, photos, audio-snippets and a live GPS route map. The live map even shows walkers their own position on the walking route. There are also more than 100 walks to enjoy in Surrey alone.
• The iFootpath app is available for download for just £1.49 from iTunes or Google Play. For more information, see the website at iFootpath.com