From: A circular walk from Tilford's Village Green. Park anywhere around the Green. When we visited, the small car park by the East side was closed, but there is adequate parking on other sides.
Length: 6 miles.
Average Walk Time: Around 3 hours.
Terrain: Undulating. Crooksbury Hill is 'Brutal, but mercifully short'. The rest of the walk is gently up and down.
Suitable for dogs: Yes.
Look out for: Some fantastic views over the Surrey countryside from Crooksbury Hill. If you're lucky, you might spot the unicyclist!
Leave the green by walking over the East Bridge. That's the one where if you stand in the middle of the green and look at the Barley Mow pub, it's on your right. Immediately after the bridge, take the footpath on your left, before any of the houses start. After 350m, the path joins a paved road, and passes Tilhill House. 50m after the house, the path branches, and you need the branch uphill to the right. As you crest the hill, look across the fields to the right and you can see the mosque of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association. This former home of the Jalsa Salana (now at East Woldham) is a relatively unknown monument right in the middle of leafy Surrey.
Anyway, pass Sheephatch Farm and cross the small road you reach (Sheephatch Lane). For anyone curious, apparently, the suffix -hatch is an old word for gate. So you're looking at sheep gates, rather than sheep eggs! This road now goes through a forestry plantation, rounds a right-hand bend and goes down the hill. At the T-junction at the bottom, turn left. As you walk along this track, which can be very puddly, there are glimpses of Waverley Abbey on the left. This makes a marked contrast to the ultra-modern mosque we pointed out before.
At the end of the path, you get to Waverley Lane. Here turn right, but do take care as you walk along the road, as the traffic roars down here. 150m along the road, a track turns off to the left. It is signed, so it's difficult to miss. Follow this until you reach a minor road at the foot of Crooksbury Hill. If you cross straight over, a footpath bends left and follows the minor road until it reaches the Crooksbury Hill car park. Right, tuck in your skirts, check your walking poles and put your head down. This is the climb, and it's brutal. However, the height gained is only around 50 metres, and very quickly the summit comes into view.
Take a moment at the monument at the top, and look at the view. It's time for a slurp of water and catch your breath. The next part of the walk is downhill! Turn your back on the path up, and look for the path down. Route-finding here is not easy, but it doesn't really matter. Basically, keep as straight as you can, heading slightly East of North, and you will soon reach with a barbed wire fence or the road. Should you reach the fence, turn left. If you reach the road, turn right. The path along the fence meets the road eventually, and there you turn right. Now you're back on track, and you follow Botany Hill, until it comes to the junction with Sands Road, where you turn right. You soon pass the Barley Mow pub, but don't get confused. There are two in close proximity. Yes, you did leave one at Tilford, this is the second!
Pass the pub (it's way too early for a pint), and after 100m, look for a major track on the right at Long Hill. This is a private road, but a public footpath. This track continues for almost 1.5 km, in a virtual straight line. It was down here we saw the lad on the unicycle. I've laid on specially that you might see him too, but of course he might be cycling elsewhere! At the end of the track, you reach another main road, Charles Hill. This you cross, once again taking care. Go down the track opposite, past the Donkey pub. Walk in front of the pub (lunch stops are allowed here if you don't want to wait until the end!) Continue along this lane, through some very pretty countryside for a kilometre.
At the confusing junction with roads, turn right and take the right, uphill fork. 100m up the hill, take a footpath on the left. This might get confusing, as the sign for this path is on the RIGHT and is set back from the road, but the path is on the left. There is a small pillar box on a large wooden pole, also on the right-hand side at the place where the path turns off, and this is actually on the side of the road. Between the two (pillar box and path sign), try not to miss it.
OK, path found, 400m of track later and you come to roads again. Continue straight on after a small left right zig zag. 300m more and you're back at Tilford. Now it's lunch time and now time for the pub. I hope you enjoyed this lovely walk around the Surrey Countryside, and I would like to thank Fran and Eunice of the Staines Ramblers for putting up with me on the way round. It was a brilliant trip.