This is a very pleasant and fairly short walk which goes through some lovely, peaceful countryside at the foot of the Hog’s Back. It then doubles back through the grounds of Loseley Park before meeting the river Wey for a brief final stroll along the towpath. I walked it in early February 2016 and happily it was not at all muddy. It is also dog friendly as is the pub at the end of the walk, which is reputedly Guildford’s oldest.
1. From the off-street parking on Sandy Lane, walk back down towards the A3100 until you see a signed footpath, the North Downs Way, on your left just past Manor Cottage. Passing Piccards Manor, you soon enter countryside with a green field on your right with houses beyond. Continue into light woodland and the houses soon give way to the ridge of the Hog’s Back on your right.
2. You soon reach the farm buildings for Piccard’s Farm and continue ahead on the lane past the farmhouse. Follow the lane round a left-hand bend and shortly after, turn right through a pair of open gates, still on the North Downs Way. This track is the driveway to Conduit Farm, so please keep an eye on any off-lead dogs. Keep straight on following the line of the Hog’s Back until you reach a sharp right bend to the farmhouse. Leave the track and fork left and then right onto a narrow sandy path, maintaining the original direction.
3. This sunken footpath goes past the Loseley Estate Nature Reserve on your left and soon you will reach a 4-way signpost. Turn left here and do downhill on another sunken footpath. Pass (and ignore) a footpath on your right up stairs and you will come to the end of a lane by Little Polsted. Turn left here and go past a closed metal gate, keeping ahead past Polsted Lodge on your left. When you come to a closed wooden gate into the Loseley Estate, follow the footpath left and then right. You will have a fine view of Loseley House on your right.
Loseley House was built between 1562 and 1568. The new house replaced a smaller one which Elizabeth I declared was not ‘adequate’ for her to visit and requested something larger be built. As was common, much of the stone was reclaimed from earlier buildings, in Loseley’s case from the Cistercian Abbey of Waverley ten miles away at Farnham where ruins can still be seen. The great hall is the principal room containing panelling from Henry VIII’s Nonsuch Palace, a minstrel’s gallery, carvings by Grinling Gibbons, panels from Henry VIII’s banqueting tents and a collection of royal and family portraits.
4. Keep ahead over a stile and you will see a picturesque lake ahead. You can take a small detour here through a swing gate and take advantage of the picnic tables conveniently sited around it. Keep ahead skirting past the lake through an open gateway and through the middle of a large field. There is a lovely view ahead of the small hamlet of Littleton with the majestic North Downs in the distance. Go through another open gateway and head towards a charming half-timbered cottage. Go through a swing gate past the cottage to meet a lane.
5. Cross straight ahead and join a footpath just past the driveway to Orange Grove. Keep on the footpath, which passes the Surrey Police headquarters at Mount Browne on your left, until it ends. Keep ahead until you meet the A3100. Turn left along the pavement for 50 yards and then cross to follow a signed track which goes under a railway bridge to reach St Catherine’s Lock on the River Wey. Turn left on the towpath and follow the river past the foothill of St Catherine’s Chapel.
6. Go under a footbridge over the river and shortly afterwards, turn left alongside a spring and meet Ferry lane which meets the A3100 at the top. Turn right here and shortly you will reach Ye Olde Ship Inn. Cross the road and rejoin Sandy Lane and the end of the walk.
DISTANCE: 4.5 miles
OS MAPS: Explorer 145 Guildford & Farnham, Godalming & Farnborough
STARTING POINT: Sandy Lane, Guildford which is off the A3100 and opposite Ye Old Ship Inn just next to the University of Law.
There is (limited) off-street parking along Sandy Lane.
Ye Olde Ship Inn, Portsmouth Road, Guildford GU2 4EB.
T: 01483 575731