Surrey walk around Compton
PUBLISHED: 20:40 20 November 2014 | UPDATED: 16:42 03 July 2018
Indulge your cultural side and stimulate your senses with a walk through the famous artists’ village of Compton...
Start: Compton Cemetery in Down Lane, Compton GU3 1DN
Map: Explorer map 145
Length of walk: A three-mile easy walk with only a few gentle inclines and three stiles. Enjoy some great views, buildings, and animals. At an easy pace, this walk should take one-and-a-half hours.
Food/drink: The Withies Inn is a much-loved, cosy 16th century tavern with a smartly civilised, upmarket restaurant and stunning garden. It is ideally situated on the edge of Loseley Park and close to Watts Gallery.
While you’re there: Look out for the many connections to the Victorian artist GF Watts in the village itself; plus, the historic Loseley Park and its stunning walled gardens are just on the doorstep too.
Recommended by: Bob Hayward on behalf of Surrey Ramblers: surreyramblers.org.uk
1 From the small car park outside Compton Cemetery, first visit the stunning Watts Cemetery Chapel (pictured below). Go through the lychgate and up the paved sloping path to the chapel, then around and up to see the cloister walkway, before descending down the path to the lychgate passing the terracotta well head.
2 Now go right along Down Lane, heading towards Coneycroft Farm. As the lane starts to bend left before the farm, go right through a gate that takes you left between a hedge and the horse fields.
3 Soon there are chickens on your left. Pass through another gate and onward with the barn on your left to reach a fingerpost ahead and go right, with woods now on your left. At the next gate and footpath junction, go right, with the horse fields still on your right. Continue on this path, as it turns right and left and onwards through Bummoor Copse, to emerge into Polsted Lane.
4 Go slightly left and then right down Withies Lane past the cottages with Compton Parish Allotments and common on your right and then pass the Withies Inn on your left – an alternative place to start the walk if you want to finish at the pub. Continue to reach the main road, the B3000 New Pond Road.
5 Cross over the road and go down the Avenue opposite. After 100 yards or so, go right into the woods on a footpath and at the cross paths continue ahead past The Grange to a path with fields on your right and a hedge on your left. The field edge bears left but you go right and then through a small copse, emerging on the path with a large grass field on your right as it climbs slightly towards the Fox Hanger woods ahead.
6 At the top of the incline, go right at the footpath junction (do not go ahead up the steps) following the field edge path with woods on your left. Continue to the next field corner and then go right again through a kissing gate, and signed footpath, keeping to the left as you walk along the field edge as it goes up and down a bit, with cows often in the field, and great views to your right.
7 When arriving at a pair of metal gates with a stile between them, cross over the stile and head leftish towards the left-hand side of the distant barns and with impressive Field Place House to your right. Reaching another metal gate with a stile, you cross over the stile and continue ahead to the far left-hand corner of the field and cross a stile with a concrete top.
8 Walk ahead as the path bends right and along a gravel drive to reach the main B3000 again beside the Harrow pub. Go left along the main road past the 10th century St Nicholas Church, on past White Hart Cottage (a 16th century building of historic and scientific interest), and onward past the old post office, Dairy Cottage and Moors Cottage. Go past the entrance to Eastbury Manor (now a Nursing Home) and then turn right along Down Lane back to the car park and Compton Cemetery.
• “It is no exaggeration to say that the Watts Cemetery Chapel is one of the most beautiful, one of the most extraordinary, original, marvellous and magical buildings in the whole of the British Isles!” says leading architectural writer and broadcaster, Lucinda Lambton. Yes, it’s definitely worth a visit!
• Compton was one of the villages that pilgrims travelled through on their way to Canterbury, and the Norman pillars and arches (carved from chalk from the Hogs Back) of St Nicholas Church was the reason why.
• There are 31 listed buildings in Compton, including an ancient 10th century church (St Nicholas) and an English Heritage cemetery (Compton Cemetery). The village is also home to the must-visit Watts Gallery dedicated to the celebrated Victorian artist GF Watts. The team at the gallery are also working on restoring the artist’s former home, Limnerslease.