Surrey’s best walks: Two-mile circular at Brookwood Cemetery in Woking

PUBLISHED: 10:46 07 July 2020 | UPDATED: 10:52 07 July 2020

Large wellentonias and gothic mausoleums at Brookwood Cemetery by C Howard

Large wellentonias and gothic mausoleums at Brookwood Cemetery by C Howard

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Enjoy this easy, short family wheelchair accessible walk, discovering Europe’s largest cemetery | Words and pictures: Chris Howard

Walk originally published in the May 2020 issue - please check all local information before heading out on your walk

1) Start from the entrance to the car park, with the car park on your left and wide open Remembrance Gardens and lake on your right. Take the large path to your left which runs parallel to the car park, marked St Barnabas’s Ave.

2) At the first group of large Redwood trees on the right, just opposite the middle of the car park is the grave of Dennis Yeats Wheatley (b. 08-01-97 to d. 10-11-77) – Prince of Thriller writers. Enjoy the water features here too.

Brookwood Cemetery entrance sign by C HowardBrookwood Cemetery entrance sign by C Howard

Return to St Barnabas’s Ave and continue on along the path, ignoring any small side paths. You will pass St Philip’s Ave on your right before you reach a T- junction with St Cyprian’s Ave.

3) Turn right onto the tarmacked St Cyprian’s Ave and continue to follow this road. At the junction with St George’s Ave, take the left fork. Along this route, just before St Martha’s Avenue on your right, you will see a Gold Mosaic listed monument to Venitian glass maker, Giulio Salviati.

Colquhoun Chapel in the woods at Brookwood Cemetery by C HowardColquhoun Chapel in the woods at Brookwood Cemetery by C Howard

A little further on to your left you will see the Bronze listed monument to Victorian Liberal politician Lieutenant-Colonel Pelham Clinton. Ahead you will see the orthodox church of St Edward Brotherhood.

4) Turn right into St David’s Ave, pass the Columbaria and then almost immediately left into St Margaret’s Ave. The signpost marking St Margaret’s Ave is highlighting the path on the right, however you need to turn to the left. After 50 yards it will be marked St Margaret’s Ave. You will also come across a fading gothic memorial to the Bent family.

Dennis Yeats -Wheatley memorial at Brookwood Cemetery  by Chris HowardDennis Yeats -Wheatley memorial at Brookwood Cemetery by Chris Howard

5) At the Bent memorial, turn right and almost immediately you are in the heart of the cemetery in the circular road named All Saint’s Ave. Composer John Singer Sargent’s memorial is here.

It is a tall headstone in the middle of the circle. It is best accessed from the other side of the circular path where it meets St Marks’ Ave. At the junction, by a large, beige granite grave, walk left and the gravestone is then in the line of graves behind.

St Edward Brotherhood Orthodox Church, Brookwood by Chris HowardSt Edward Brotherhood Orthodox Church, Brookwood by Chris Howard

6) Take St Marks Ave on your right and follow this long wide path straight ahead. Cross over St George’s Ave, ignoring any paths to the left and right.

At the sign to the Old Woking Clay Pigeon Club on your left, keep ahead on St Marks’ Ave. [If you are in a wheelchair or have a child’s buggy you need to turn right into St Philip’s Ave and return to the car park via St Barnaba’s Ave.] The road becomes an unmade path ahead which can become muddy in wet weather.

Brookwood Cemetery - established 1852

7) The recently renovated, attractive Victorian Colquhoun Mausoleum appears through the trees to the right. Make a detour to explore this highly decorative, historic gothic chapel, renovated in 2019.

8) Continue back on to St Mark’s Ave until you reach The Moat. Cross over the waterway. Turn right and follow The Moat back to The Glades Remembrance Garden, keeping the waterway on your right.

The walk mapThe walk map

9) At the T-junction with the pond, turn left and make your way back to the car park. u

Local facts

- Brookwood Cemetery is a fascinating Grade 1 Listed site in the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. It is the largest cemetery in Western Europe and has been serving the community since 1854. The cemetery has recently come under the care of Woking Borough Council.

- The Cemetery covers 220 acres of picturesque woodlands and heathland trails and vistas. A fascinating arboretum was created here by our Victorian forebears, with an impressive range of giant Californian Redwoods (Wellingtonias) – one of the largest collections in the country. The area is a haven for wildlife.

- It was conceived by the London Necropolis Company (LNC) in 1849 to house London’s deceased, at a time when the capital was struggling with a massive population growth.

-Established through an Act of Parliament in 1852, Brookwood Cemetery, (apart from its northern section) was consecrated by Charles Sumner, Bishop of Winchester, on 7 November 1854.

- Brookwood Cemetery was originally accessible by rail from a dedicated station – The London Necropolis Railway Station – next to Waterloo Station in Central London. There were two stations in the cemetery itself, one serving the non-conformist side (North) and one serving the Anglican side (South). The southern platform still exists and is in the ownership of the St Edward Brotherhood. There is a small exhibition where the Brotherhood welcome visitors at this location.

- There are 18 listed memorials, over 50 notable persons buried at the cemetery, including naval hero, Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson’s granddaughter, Horatia Nelson, several Victoria Cross holders and composer John Singer Sargent.

- The Colquhoun Mausoleum is a Gothic Revival building designed by architect John Johnson. -

- The intricate sculptures were created by W Boulton. James Colquhoun was a British diplomat, as was his son. Several other members of the family are also interred here. The building was renovated in 2019.

- Dogs are not permitted on this site.

For more details visit brookwoodcemetery.com or contact 01483 472222

Start: The Glades Cemetery office car park. No dogs allowed.

Postcode for Sat Nav: GU24 0BL

Parking: Free car park

Public Toilets: On left hand side of Friends of Brookwood Cemetery office in car park.

Grid ref: SU956567

Length of walk: 2 miles (3.2 kms) Allow 1 hour

Public Transport: By rail London Waterloo line to Brookwood Station.

Food and Drink: The Cricketers on the Green or The White Hart both in nearby Pirbright

While you are there: Visit the Brookwood American Cemetery and Peace Garden at the Muslim Burial Ground

Free guided walk: Join Chris Howard on one of her free guided walks on first Sunday of the month– see surreyhillssociety.org for details.

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