Surrey walk around St Martha’s Hill

PUBLISHED: 17:03 05 October 2015 | UPDATED: 16:38 03 July 2018

The iconic St-Martha-on-the-Hill Church

The iconic St-Martha-on-the-Hill Church


In the first of a new walking series in collaboration with the Surrey Hills Society, we join the group to discover the county’s industrial history at the old gunpowder factory at Chilworth, and to enjoy the expansive views from the North Downs Way


Start: Chilworth train station, which is just outside Guildford.

Length of walk: Three miles but very steep in places and muddy in the valley at times. Will take about two hours.

Food/drink: The Percy Arms on the A248, opposite Chilworth train station. This is a relaxed, modern pub with great food that has a South African twist.

Whilst you are there: Just a 10-minute drive from Chilworth is another famous view from Newlands Corner. Why not call in, stop in the large car park and enjoy an ice cream at the café.


The route

1 Easily accessible by train from Chilworth station, start by following the narrow path to the left of Chilworth C of E Infant School, signposted as a footpath. Originally, this path was a tramway where gunpowder produced at the nearby mill was hauled up to the train station to be sent around the world. Cross the wooden bridge and turn right past the picnic tables. Ignore the trail to the left, but continue on until you reach the impressive remains of some of the mill buildings, then on to the interpretation board.

2 Turn left here and go over the ancient bridge, crossing the stile ahead of you to enter a field. Continue through this field and two others, with more recent evidence of gunpowder works through the trees on your left. The path then narrows as you pass by the rear of some gardens, before you meet a road. Turn left over the bridge and continue along a tarmac road with houses on your left and a lake on your right. This was the site of a Victorian paper mill, but now converted into attractive houses. Continue along the road. When it bends sharply left, ignore the footpath ahead of you but continue until you reach Millstream Cottage.

3 At this cottage, turn left beside the garden and then continue along the ascending path away from the valley and up into broadleaf woodland. When you come to an open field, keep right on the main path and, when nearly at the top of the hill, ignore a path off to your right and look for a directional signpost by a clearing.

4 Turn left onto the bridleway. Keep to the bridleway and you will pass a World War Two pillbox. Pass by the Downs Link path on your left. When the track divides, leave the bridleway and go on down a public footpath that will eventually bring you out at St Martha-on-the-Hill church.

5 With the church behind you, looking down over the Tillingbourne Valley, you will see a path ahead of you. Take this path down the steep hill until you reach a T-junction, with a field beyond. Turn right to join the drive of Chilworth Manor and follow it to reach a road – Halfpenny Lane.

6 Follow this road for a short distance, which turns left and then over another bridge and some houses, before you come upon the disused lodge gate that was once the entrance to the gunpowder mills site.

7 Turn left at the lodge and continue with the river on your left. Pass more ruins, buildings associated with the gunpowder works, hidden now by trees and undergrowth. Eventually, you will come upon the original bridge you crossed at the start of the walk, where you can retrace your steps back to Chilworth station.



• Enjoy looking up at the iconic view of St Martha-on-the-Hill church, on the North Downs Way, reported to be a stopping-off point for pilgrims during the Middle Ages, on their way to Canterbury Cathedral.

• While on the valley floor, take time to discover the ruins of the once-famous Chilworth Gunpowder Mills. This factory site was in use from Tudor times until just after World War One.

• Once you have reached St Martha-on-the-Hill church, you will enjoy magnificent views over towards Guildford and down the Tillingbourne Valley over the villages of Chilworth and Albury.

• Quite close to the church is the family plot of the Freyburg family. This includes Major-General Bernard Freyburg VC, who commanded the ANZAC troops in World War Two and is remembered each year in a ceremony attended by both local and passing Antipodeans.

• If you are lucky enough to find the church open (most Wednesday afternoons and Saturdays), you will be able to see the World War Two memorial designed by the illustrator of Winnie the Pooh, created in memory of his son whom he sadly lost during the war.

More from Surrey Life


At Sir William Perkins’s School (SWPS) the aim is to build confidence, integrity and excellence in a caring, innovative and happy community so that each student leaves with the best possible chance of achieving her full potential and ready to take on the world.

Read more

If the colder weather is making you feel like escaping to somewhere snug and cosy, you might be surprised to find some perfect rural retreats right on your doorstep. Here’s our pick of the best to discover in Surrey…

Read more

Get ready to laugh, boo and hiss, and cheer on your favourite childhood heroes in the array of pantomimes coming to Surrey theatres this Christmas

Read more

Whether you're looking for fine dining, pub grub or exotic dishes, eating out in Surrey has something for everyone. Here's our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Yesterday, 16:01

Actress, singer and entertainer, Anita Harris has travelled the world in an illustrious career that spans over five decades. From her home in Chertsey, she talks to Tinx Newton about the people she has worked with, her tour and life in Surrey

Read more
Yesterday, 14:13

If there's ever a time of year when a brisk, bracing walk is needed, then winter and the lead-up to the festive season is surely it. Here we round up a few of our Surrey favourites

Read more
Yesterday, 13:01

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend (14, 15 and 16 December): art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Surrey is a county full of festive delights. Think cosy pubs, frosty views and long winter walks. We pick 22 wonderful reasons to spend Christmas in Surrey.

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Surrey this month

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

With beautiful countryside, stunning villages and plenty of bluebells during spring, Surrey is an amazing place for a stroll

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Pupils at The Hawthorns School in Bletchingley collected over 5,800 items of food for the Loveworks foodbanks in Reigate and Merstham

Read more
Friday, November 30, 2018

We’ve teamed up with Grand Illusions to give one lucky reader the opportunity to win a £250 gift card with the stylish homeware brand

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Celebrating its 25 anniversary, Kinghams restaurant is found at the heart of one of Surrey’s most iconic villages. Matthew Williams visits to discover the secrets of its longevity

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

This edition of Surrey Life features all the local ingredients to make this month special

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search