Weekend Walk: Puttenham to Compton (4 miles)

This walk takes you on an adventurous excursion from Puttenham, a delightful village with a church, cottages and a good pub. The other big attraction is the Watts Gallery and Artists’ Village in Compton where you can also visit the Studio via a woodland walk and enjoy good food in the licensed café/restaurant. Your dog could come too, provided you have a short lead for the crossing of the A3 junction. There is one section across the golf course at Puttenham but it is short and easy. 

1. Beginning your walk near the village of Puttenham, on the main road, opposite the Jolly Farmer, cross straight over on a track signposted as the North Downs Way (NDW), avoiding the tarmac lane that forks right towards the golf club. This is also part of the Pilgrims Way, that historic route used by pilgrims from Winchester to the shrine of Thomas Becket at Canterbury. Your track goes between the clubhouse and the practice links. Just after Rare Breeds farm avoid a private right fork; at a junction avoid a track left and a footpath right, always staying on the main track. After the last golf tee, your track goes past cottages: here ignore a bridleway on the right, a footpath on the left and a
track that forks right. Eventually you reach the last house on your left, called Questors. Soon your track enters woodland. As before, stay on the NDW straight through the woods, avoiding three bridleways leading off.

2. You are now in a woodland of mainly red oaks with, on your right, a nature reserve belonging to Loseley Park. Your track joins a tarmac drive, takes you under the A3 road and under an arch below a slip road. The crosses mark the Pilgrims Way running underneath. Straight ahead will lead to Down Lane and the Watts Gallery, but first there is an interesting diversion. In 50m or so, turn left on a track leading through a gate to an overflow car park used for Gallery visitors. Immediately turn right up a new zigzag path into the trees and rhododendrons. Note the decorated tree and the kaleidoscopes. In a short distance, you come to a Celtic Cross and a carved seat. The cross was built at Watts’ request, depicting pilgrims, rich and poor. The seat was donated to Mrs Mary Watts in 1934 by the Potters Arts Guild. The path on your left is a series of hairpins leading up to the Watts Studio, in the Watts’s original home, Limnerslease, displaying many unfinished canvases and letters, including several of Mrs Watts. Now retrace your steps and turn left back to the road. (There is a short cut through the rhododendrons.) Your route now continues right along the road. But first turn left to arrive in 50m at the Watts Gallery with its photo studio, resident artist(s), shop, loo and café/restaurant.

3. After your visit, double back along Down Lane the way you came, passing a round knoll and Coneycroft Farm on your left. Soon you reach a spreading cedar and a gate on the left leading to the Watts Chapel and Cemetery. The chapel is unique and different from anything you may have seen before and absolutely worth the small climb. Continue along the road, finally reaching the main road, and turn left into the village of Compton. In just over 200m, as the road bends left, turn right on Eastbury Lane, signposted as a bridleway.

4. Soon on your left is an arch, giving you an unmissable chance for a quick excursion to visit the Church of St Nicholas. Continue along the lane beside the wall of Eastbury Manor and stay on the
lane as it veers right in front of the gates to Westbury Manor. Follow the grassy track as it curves left to a fingerpost. Take the right fork, uphill towards some pines. The path leads you up to the top of the slope where there is a field on your right. Veer right here over a stile close to the righthand side of the field. Your path takes you between metal gates and barbed wire fences. The open path then narrows as it crosses a rough meadow. At the end, go past an unnecessary stile and down (slippery) steps to a road. Turn right on the road, crossing to the pavement on the other side, to reach a roundabout. Keep left, crossing over the slip road for Portsmouth, across the main A3 road, go over another slip road and turn left on Puttenham Heath Road. Cross carefully to the other side and, just after a contractor’s work shed, fork right through a wooden barrier on a signposted footpath.

5. The footpath runs between garden fences, beside a paling fence and out onto the links of Puttenham Golf Club. Keep straight ahead between a fence to your left and a line of trees to your right, watching out for golf balls. Head for a marker post with a yellow arrow visible ahead in a gap. When you reach it, cross straight over the next green to another yellow-arrowed marker post beside some trees. Continue in exactly the same direction by skirting the copse of trees, either to the right (at a marker post) or left, until you come to a large open space with a cricket pitch. Keep ahead just to the left of the cricket pitch, aiming to the left of some picnic benches and go up a small hill ahead, heading for a flagpole at the top. This is Frowsbury Hill, a Bronze Age burial site. Here
Queen Victoria and Albert reviewed the mounted troops in 1858.

6. Skirt around the left of Frowsbury Hill and head for the clubhouse which soon comes into view (unbooted walkers are welcomed for drinks and
nibbles). Pass to the left of it, joining a driveway. Note on your left a water jet boot cleaner, free for use by golfers, walkers tolerated. Continue to meet the road again opposite the Jolly Farmer. and thence to the car park where the walk began.

DISTANCE: 4 miles
MAP: OS Explorer 145 (Guildford)
START: The walk begins in the village of Puttenham Surrey, postcode GU3 1AJ. Park in the car park opposite the Jolly Farmer inn.

Taken with permission from www.fancyfreewalks.org

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