Walk which can be extended/shortened from Hydon Heath car park, near Hascombe in Surrey. The walk explores several stretches of nearby mixed woodland (including a bluebell wood), as well as a stretch of the Greensand Way with fabulous views and the village of Hascombe with its beautiful church and pond. If you wish to extend the walk, please see the nearby "Hascombe Hill" route that begins mid-way through this route. This walk is published through a collaboration with the Surrey County Council.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) Standing on the car park entrance track with your back to the road, walk ahead along the track, passing the car park on your left. Pass alongside the vehicle barrier and then simply stay on the main bridleway track climbing steadily through the woodland. At the crossroads (by the small stone pyramid) keep straight ahead. At the top of the slope, turn right onto a side track which leads you uphill towards a green kiosk (actually a plant cabinet for the underground reservoir). At the kiosk, take the path at about 11 o'clock which leads you uphill to the summit of Hydon's Ball, where you will find a large stone seat and a trig point. This makes a great place to pause and appreciate the views. Hydon's Ball was the name given to this site when a signal station was positioned here, used to synchronise time over long distances. You will notice the large stone seat is dedicated to Octavia Hill, one of the founders of the National Trust. She was a tireless campaigner for improving the welfare of city-dwellers, establishing the social housing movement and promoting recreational green spaces, particularly hilltops where people could rise above the city's air pollution.
(1) Standing with your back to the stone seat, walk ahead towards the trig pyramid and you will see a choice of two paths. Bear left to take the path which starts immediately to the left of the brick pyramid. Follow this sandy path leading you downhill, passing a few waymarker posts along the way. Part way down, you will come to a T-junction (with a vehicle barrier up to your right). Turn left and continue downhill for 50 metres to reach a T-junction at the bottom of the slope. Turn right for about 50 paces and then turn left onto a narrow path which leads you through the tree belt, emerging to a T-junction with fenced open pastures ahead. Turn right to follow the path with fenced fields on your left and woodland on your right. The path soon swings left, becoming a grass track leading you between fenced livestock pastures. At the T-junction in the track, turn right to follow another section of track between fenced pastures. After passing a house (behind a hedge) on your right, you will come to a pair of junctions (with fingerposts to your right and left). Turn left at the first junction for a few paces to reach the second fingerpost. At this junction, ignore the path to your right, instead keep ahead on the bridleway vehicle track (part of the Greensand Way).
(2) Follow the vehicle track between banks for just 30 metres, then fork left up the bank to join the bank-top path (a continuation of the Greensand Way). Follow the path as it swings left and you will come to a waymarker post marking a choice of two bridleways. Take the right-hand one (signed GW for the Greensand Way), a narrow path leading you downhill into the trees. Follow this woodland bridleway path, meandering and undulating ahead (some stretches can be very churned). Further along, the trees on your right end and you will be rewarded with far reaching views to the south. The Greensand Way runs for 108 miles from Haslemere in Surrey to Hamstreet in Kent, along the Greensand Ridge. Stay with the bridleway path and eventually, after passing through another stretch of woodland, you will emerge to a junction with a lane, Markwick Lane.
(3) Taking care of any traffic, turn left along the lane for about 100 metres, then turn right to join a public bridleway, a continuation of the Greensand Way. This sunken bridleway leads you uphill to reach an old vehicle gate. Pass through the gap to the left of this and continue directly ahead on the woodland path (which soon merges with the path visible across to your left). This next stretch of sunken bridleway (which can be muddy) continues climbing ahead. At the top of the climb, follow the subtle dog-leg (left then right) to join a more open path leading you directly ahead. At the first two crossroads, keep directly ahead, following the bridleway (the Greensand Way) across the top plateau of the hill (part of The Hurtwood). There are glimpses of beautiful views to the North Downs through the trees to your left. Stay on the Greensand Way and, where you reach a staggered crossroads with a sleeper kerb ahead, go straight on, stepping down this sleeper kerb. Take care following this bridleway leading you steeply downhill, crossing a number of sleeper steps marked with posts and red reflectors. About half-way down the slope, look for a waymarker post on your right (with a yellow GW arrow). Fork right here, climbing up the bank with care, then bear left to join the path running on top of the bank. You will reach a waymarker at a path fork. Take the left-hand branch, taking care on this steep descent and using the handrails for your safety. At the bottom of the slope, you will reach a gate ahead. Pass through this, go down the steps and follow the enclosed path ahead, with a fenced pasture on your left. Pass through the next gate to reach a crossroads and go ahead on the path between pastures. You will emerge to the parking area, directly opposite the White Horse pub in Hascombe.
(4) NOTE: If you wish to extend the walk to 8.5 miles, you can follow the other listed walk called "Hascombe Hill" from this parking area, and then pick up the continuation of this walk once you have finished the additional loop. Standing at the entrance to the parking area (with the White Horse ahead and to your left), cross the main road with care diagonally left, to join Church Road (immediately to the left of the pub). Church Road, as the name suggests, leads you past the pretty Church Cottage and then St Peter's Church on your left, before passing the idyllic large village pond on your right. Stay along Church Road as it bends right and then left. Further along, pass Matthew's Place on your right and then, as you reach the gateway for Upper House Farm ahead, turn left (leaving the Greensand Way) to pass Lower House on your right. Ignore a kissing gate into a pasture on your right, instead keep ahead on the main bridleway which soon swings right. At the next junction (with Mill Lane signed to the left), keep ahead on the stone track, passing Forge Cottage on your left. At the T-junction in the path, turn left and follow the grass path between fenced pastures. You will emerge alongside a wide gate to reach a junction with the B2130.
(5) Cross over the road with care and go straight ahead to join the track signed as a public bridleway. This track leads you uphill, passing a number of properties on your left. Where the track bends left into the last property, keep ahead on the sunken bridleway path leading you into woodland. Towards the top of the climb, you will pass two properties (High Winkworth and The Orangery) both on your left. These two properties were once part of the Winkworth Farm complex, the home of Dr Wilfrid Fox. Dr Fox was a leading dermatologist in London but also a passionate horticulturist. From 1938 he created nearby Winkworth Arboretum (now in the care of the National Trust) and in 1948 was awarded the highest honour of the Royal Horticultural Society, the Victoria Medal of Honour. 50 metres later, you will reach a junction with the access drive (with the property Sullingstead on your right). Turn left here and follow the access lane down to a T-junction. Turn right and follow the tarmac access road to reach a junction with B2130. Turn sharp left, to join another property access lane (signed as a public bridleway), passing the sign for High Barn on your left.
(6) Where the access lane swings left into the property High Barn, keep ahead on the unmade bridleway path, passing a pretty bluebell wood on your right. Further along the bridleway leads you downhill, before bending right and climbing to continue with fenced pastures across to your left. Stay with the bridleway ahead, leading you downhill again. At the bottom of the slope the fence on your left ends. Keep ahead on the woodland path for just over 100 metres to reach a T-junction with a stone vehicle track. Turn left and follow the grass and stone track climbing gently. At the top of the slope, where the track bends right, you will see a waymarker with yellow arrow on your left. Turn left onto this short path which leads to the road. Cross over with care and go ahead on the continuation of the footpath ahead. This will lead you directly into the Hydon Heath car park where the walk began. (D/A)
D/A : km 0 - alt. 128m - Car park entrance
1 : km 0.81 - alt. 175m - Stone seat
2 : km 1.79 - alt. 134m - Vehicle track between banks
3 : km 3.23 - alt. 141m - Markwick Lane
4 : km 4.82 - alt. 113m - White Horse pub
5 : km 5.96 - alt. 95m - B2130
6 : km 6.95 - alt. 141m - High Barn
D/A : km 8.63 - alt. 128m - Car park entrance
The walk includes several climbs and descents throughout, some of which are long or fairly steep. Most of the paths are unmade bridleways and these can be churned and muddy at times, so good boots are a must (or wellies with grips in the winter months). There are no stiles on route, but you will need to negotiate several steps and gates along the way. You will not be sharing any of the paths with livestock, as any livestock is held behind fences to the sides of the paths. The only road walking is a 100-metre stretch along a country lane and then a stretch through the village of Hascombe. Allow 2.5 hours.
If you are looking for refreshments, you will find The White Horse in Hascombe village, about halfway round the walk. Ordnance Survey Maps: Explorer OL33 Haslemere and Petersfield and Explorer 145 Guildford and Farnham. This walk follows public footpaths and bridleways which cross private and public land. Information is included for your interest, but please respect people's privacy, keep dogs under control and remember the Countryside Code.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
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