Norbury Park Western

A fairly easy walk around Norbury Park, a mix of woodland, chalk grassland and farmed fields. This walk is published through a collaboration with the Surrey County Council. The walk includes several long, but very gentle gradients. Most of the paths are firm stone tracks, but a few sections in the second half of the walk can get very muddy at times.

Technical sheet
No. 7789958
A Surrey walk posted on 15/04/21 by Explore Surrey's Countryside. Update : 15/04/21
Calculated time Calculated time: 2h05[?]
Distance Distance : 6.31km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 90m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 92m
Highest point Highest point : 149m
Lowest point Lowest point : 84m
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Surrey Hills
Location Location : Surrey
Starting point Starting point : N 51.28143° / W 0.35003°
Download : -

Description

(D/A) Leave the car park via the pedestrian gap between wooden posts and ahead you will see an information board about Norbury Park and its working landscape. Standing facing this board, turn right along the access track (leaving the Bocketts Farm access lane behind you). At the first fork take the left-hand branch (the main public bridleway).

Norbury Park was the first area of countryside purchased by Surrey County Council (in 1931) to protect it against development and is now managed by Surrey Wildlife Trust. The woodland to the right is called The Hazels and in the past has been coppiced regularly, cut down just above ground level and allowed to re-grow to provide bean and pea sticks. In springtime the woodland floor is covered with primroses, which attract numerous feeding insects. The woodland in the distance on the left is known as Fetcham Downs. Some 60 to 100 years ago much of this area was open grassland but, left unmanaged, it has gradually reverted to woodland.

Continue until you reach a marked crossroads in the track, with Longcut Barn on the left (which was once used as a holding pen for the sheep that grazed the downland).

(1) Keep straight ahead, keeping to the same main stone track, which climbs and swings steadily left. The woodland to your right is a mixture of softwoods (pine) and hardwoods (beech and oak). Where the woodland on the right ends, continue on the main track which swings left passing an open area of chalk grassland on the right. Across to the right you will be able to see the former gamekeeper's cottage. The trees in the middle of the grassland attract green woodpeckers which feed on ants and insects. Look out for their undulating flight and listen for their loud, laughing cries. Stay on the track which leads you to the saw mill on the right. Norbury Park Wood Products (part of Surrey Wildlife Trust) is a thriving saw mill specialising in oak furniture.

(2) Immediately after the saw mill, turn right to join Back Drive, passing a small picnic area on the left. The sculptures within the picnic area were created at the saw mill. Pass the saw mill entrance gates on the right and keep ahead alongside the vehicle barrier on the track between fences. This route was the tradesmen's entrance for Norbury House so they were not seen using the front drive. Some way along on the left, you will come to a "Viewpoint" fingerpost on the left. It is worth taking a short detour to the left here to enjoy this spectacular view of the Mole Valley. There are several benches/picnic tables here, making it an ideal spot to pause, reflect and catch your breath. You will be able to see three large manor houses on the other side of the valley. Directly ahead is Mickleham Hall, across to the right is Juniper Hall and to the left is Cherkley Court. When you have finished enjoying the view, return to the viewpoint fingerpost and turn left to continue your journey along Back Drive. Continue steadily downhill until you reach a signed fork. Take the right-hand branch, an unmade path heading uphill (signed as a public bridleway). This area was badly affected by the storm of 1987 and the beech trees that were lost are being replaced by natural regeneration of ash and sycamore. Eventually the bridleway leads you out to the car park alongside Crabtree Lane.

(3) Leave the car park via the vehicle entrance and turn right along Crabtree Lane, heading uphill (taking care of any traffic). Continue along the road all the way to the end where you will find a handful of cottages. If you glance to the left here you will be rewarded with superb views across towards Ranmore Church.

Turn right, passing alongside a vehicle barrier, to join the bridleway track signed to Bookham. (Note: this track can get quite muddy in parts). Follow this path for some distance, passing through small sections of woodland and between large crop fields and pastures.

Eventually you will pass alongside another vehicle barrier to reach a large fork within the track. Take the right-hand branch. After passing alongside the next vehicle barrier you will come to Roaringhouse Farm on the left.

(4) Roaringhouse Farm takes its name because of its position in this windy valley. Note the old granary on the right which is set on saddle stones (mushroom-shaped stone pillars). This was done to allow air to circulate and to prevent mice and rats from stealing the grain stored inside.

Keep straight ahead passing between the farmhouse on the left and the old granary on the right. The track will lead you down to the crossroads by Longcut Barn that you passed through earlier. From this point you will be retracing your steps back to the start. To do so turn left along the track and eventually you will come to the car park on the left.(D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 86m - Car park
1 : km 0.62 - alt. 87m - Main stone track
2 : km 1.55 - alt. 128m - Back Drive
3 : km 3.24 - alt. 123m - Cabtree Lane
4 : km 5.46 - alt. 94m - Roaringhouse Farm
D/A : km 6.31 - alt. 86m - Car park

Useful Information

There are no steps, stiles or gates on route. You will be sharing the bridleways with cyclists and horse riders and you may also come across timber lorries on some of the tracks.

There is one section along a quiet public lane so take care of any traffic here. Temporary electric fencing is used to create pastures for conservation grazing at the sides of some of the paths, so take care with children and dogs. After periods of dry weather, the route would be suitable for the more rugged types of off-road pushchairs or disabled buggies. The walk is waymarked by posts with a cycle symbol. Allow 2 hours.

If you are looking for refreshments, there are cafe and toilet facilities at Bocketts Farm near to the start of the trail. Alternatively there are a couple of picnic sites along the route should you wish to bring your own food. 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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