Weekend Walk: Dunsfold to Cranleigh or vice versa (9.75 miles)

This is a flat walk through attractive countryside which offers some splendid views. The walk was submitted by Guildford Rambling Club (see guildfordramblingclub.org.uk).

From Dunsfold – from the parking, go along the far side of the road, right, until reaching a lane going left, along the side of a tiny Dunsfold Free Baptist Church. (If Dunsfold was your lunch stop, the Sun pub is more or less opposite.) This lane begins as a tarred drive running along the right-hand side of the church. Follow it around by an old barn and past the picturesque Pound Farm. At the corner of the farm buildings, turn right onto a track between two fields, as indicated by another bridleway sign. It’s in a reasonable, if bumpy, state, but could be slippery in wet weather, particularly on the slope down into the woods. Cross the footbridge over the stream at the bottom of the slope.

The track now runs beside the airfield fence (there is an annual air and motor show here, typically held in late August, but this is no longer a regular aerodrome. It gets more use from Top Gear) until it comes to a deserted lane, one of the old roads blocked off when the airfield was built. In spring the profusion and variety of wildflowers along the side of this road is delightful. Turn left along the lane until, about 100 yards past the turning to High Billinghurst Farm, going through the gate on the right, by the bridleway sign. This leads into a field from which there are views towards Hascombe Hill, away to the left. Stay on the right-hand side of the field until, towards the far side, the path swings half-left to a gate into the woods about 100 yards in from the right-hand edge of the field. Go through the gate and turn right onto the concrete track on the other side.

After a very short distance, the concrete track turns away to the left but you continue straight ahead up a path through the pine trees. This area was once part of the airfield and old concrete manholes and other remains are scattered along the way, so take care. At the edge of the woods the path comes out into another field. Keep to the right-hand edge and then go through a gate and past a pond to the yard of High Stovold Farm. From there the concrete farm road running straight ahead will take you down to the original Guildford-Horsham road which was bypassed when the airfield was built. Cross this road, heading slightly to the right, and turn left into the drive of Hall Place (another bridleway). Follow the drive to pass various properties and Hall Place Farm. Continue to a road (the A281) and cross into the drive to Mill Farm. Go up to the farm and between two barns and then turn right at the back. Immediately go through a metal gate onto a wide grassy track and, again immediately, left through a wooden gate. You now walk along the towpath of the (very dry) Wey and Arun Canal.

Walk along here looking for a footbridge on your right. It is about 20 yards away from the towpath, across in the corner of a field. On the other side of the footbridge, turn left to walk clockwise around the field edge until reaching some buildings and a gate out onto the drive of Utworth Manor (a Grade 2 listed building). Walk, right, along the drive to a road where you turn left. Now walk about a ¼ mile until, just before warehouses and greenhouses (on your left) taking a footpath right, into a field. Stay on the right-hand side of this and the next two fields and reach a road. Cross and go through a gap into the edge of a park. Turn left and walk along parallel to the road and continue into the field beyond. Emerge onto the road (you could turn right on the road and walk 100 yards up to Cranleigh’s High Street) opposite a gap allowing you through onto a path that runs parallel to the High Street. Reach a gap, right, into Stocklund car park. You can then walk through to the shops, pubs, cafes etc:, emerging by Sainsbury’s, and you could picnic on the green opposite the shops.

From Cranleigh – start from Stocklund car park. Go out of the back onto the path running parallel to the High Street. Turn right and walk for over ¾ mile, passing under a road bridge and, at a 3 way finger-post, going left (the only direction with no ‘finger’). Climb over a stile and follow the path through a field and trees heading towards and then passing (on your left) a telecomms tower. Pass a sewage farm (also on your left). Look for a footbridge left, over a stream. On the other side, after about 100 yards, the path swings sharp left. After another 100 yards break off right, along a track that then becomes a path running along a corridor. After about ½ mile, emerge from the corridor into a field and head half-right to its far corner. Cross a tiny footbridge and follow another corridor through to emerge on a busy road by some houses. (The map shows a non-existent pub.)

Turn left and walk down the road to ‘Tillings’. Here, cross and take a bridleway heading south-south-west to join Nore Drive. If this is closed, either:
a) cross and walk along a footpath at right-angles to the road. Follow this past the buildings and along a track, continuing straight ahead along the edge of a field when the track swings right. At the far side of the field, if you can, turn into the next field. The footpath continues half-left across it to the far left corner and there emerges on Nore Drive, where you turn right. However, if the second field is in crop, instead turn left and walk along the far edge of the first field to reach Nore Drive and turn right. Or,
b) continue down the road until, just beyond the Smithbrook Kiln and the Smithbrook Barns, crossing to go right, along a lane (Nore Drive) signposted to Nore. Continue along here for under ¾ mile.

Continue along Nore Drive until, just past ‘The Pheasantry’, you fork right, up a wide dirt track. Reach a bend where you swing sharp left. Ignore two paths off right and continue on with a tennis court on your right. The path later emerges from trees onto a wide grassy slope and gives you excellent views to your left. You pass (on your left) a stone circle – a modern folly. Keep going and, just beyond it, reach a barn. Go through a gate onto a drive (Lodge House is up on the right). Turn left and head down the drive.

At a T junction go right for 20 yards and then left over a stile into a field. Head straight out, keeping three ponds to your left. Go over a stile onto Godalming Road and cross straight over into another field. The path heads slightly left (south) straight across a very large field, crosses a farm drive and reaches Dunsfold Road. On the road, turn right to walk down about ¾ mile to the cars and, beyond them, the Sun Inn public house.

DISTANCE: 9.75 miles
OS MAPS: Explorer 134 Crawley & Horsham, Cranleigh & Billingshurst
STARTING POINT: Either the green at Dunsfold (free) or the Stocklund car park (charges) – the first car park on entering Cranleigh from the west – turn right just before Sainsbury’s
GRID REFERENCE: 5 006 1 363 if starting from Dunsfold. 5 054 1 392 if starting from Cranleigh
REFRESHMENTS: The Sun Inn, Dunsfold or a wide selection in Cranleigh

Image above: Dunsfold Green by Colin Smith

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