Horsley Jubilee Trail
This walk around the Horsleys covers part of Surrey's North Downs, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). About 9 miles (15 kms) in length, it is a gentle stroll along bridleways, footpaths and a few short stretches of road. The trail gets its name from Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee, 2002, when the final missing link (in "The Forest") of this circular walk was designated as a new right of way. The walk has been documented on a locally available brochure, "Horsley Jubilee Trail, published by the Countryside Agency, Guildford Borough, Horsley Countryside Preservation Society, Surrey County Council and the Surrey Hills. It is well waymarked with black and gold plastic roundels on many posts along the way but a detailed map, like the OS 25K sheet or the "Map of the Horsleys", is advisable - especially in Oldlands Wood where there is a dense network of paths, many unmarked.
Let's start at St Mary the Virgin Church, on the A246 Epsom Road between the two Horsley villages - for no reason other than there being a large car park in the woods just south of the church. St Mary's has a pre-Domesday pedigree and was recorded ca 1030. Nowadays, it is more noted for perhaps housing Sir Walter Raleigh's head, and his son (Carew), in a vault below its South Chapel.
Cross the busy Epsom Road by the old Church House and head north-westwards along the grassy footpath. You will glimpse West Horsley Place through the trees on your right. This was occupied by, amongst others, Sir James Berners (lost his head on Tower Hill in 1388), Marquis of Exeter (also lost his head on Tower Hill in 1538), Carew Raleigh in 1643, and Earl of Surrey.
After about 1 kilometre, reach West Horsley village. To the left, along The Street, is the Barley Mow for good food and drink. It is a venerable inn, dating back to the 1500s but today's building is mainly 1700s. However, we turn right, walk northwards past the delightful half-timbered "Old Cottage" which has its groundings in ca 1380 and is also reputed to have a priest hole.
Go below the railway bridge which carries the "New Line" between Guildford & Surbiton and, after 400 metres, turn right into Lollesworth Lane at the road junction. This leads past the old Lollesworth Farm, then crosses over the same railway line. Turn left and follow the path parallel to the railway for 1 kilometre till you reach East Horsley village centre at Ockham Road South. Here are the local shops, lining the road beside the station.
Turn left, under the railway bridge the road becomes Ockham Road North. You will pass East Horsley Evangelical Church, a "tastefully converted" barn, on your right. This is one of the many "Lovelace Buildings" in the Horsleys. These are a riot of ornate brick- & flintwork and were funded by the local lord of the manor. He was William King, first Earl of Lovelace who bought nearby Horsley Towers in 1840 before having it redesigned.
Half a kilometre beyond the railway bridge, turn right at the road junction with The Drift. The footpath leads into The Forest. Follow the way north-eastwards for another kilometre through the dense woodland, noting the many fallen trees which were blown down in the "Surrey Hurricane" of October 1987. Emerge onto Forest Road, Effingham and turn right, re-crossing the "New Line". To the left you will see Effingham Junction station, a commuter halt.
Over the bridge, by Lovelace's Forest Farm, turn left into Heath Way, then turn right and head onto Effingham Common. Three kilometres south, past the Common and through Great Ridings Wood (with its Anglo-Saxon earthen Hundred Bank) and Parrott's Copse, the trail follows the former drove road ("Old London Lane") and leads into Dirtham Lane. Follow this for another half a kilometre till you are back at the A246.
Cross the busy road and take the signposted bridleway southwards into Oldlands Wood. A kilometre later (after passing remnants of Pine Grove Bridge) you arrive at Stony Dene Bridge. This is one of the 10 remaining "Lovelace Bridges" which the Earl paid for to carry his horse-drawn logging carts. Go right, under the bridge, then turn left, following the way past disused pits in Kiln Field Coppice. After a kilometre you will reach Lovelace's remodelled Crocknorth Farm on Crocknorth Road.
Go over Crocknorth Road, following the bridleway westwards for half a kilometre to the Green Dene / Honeysuckle bottom fork. This way takes the walker below three more "Lovelace Bridges" - Briary Hill East, Briary Hill West and Raven Arch. The going beneath the bridges can be very muddy in wet weather due to horses hooves churning up the surface.
Over the road, the bridleway leads uphill for 1 kilometre into The Sheepleas, more woods. Turn right, soon right again, leads to Angel Clump and a "Millennium Viewpoint" - another 1 km stretch. The final kilometre leg brings the walker through Weston Wood and back to the car park by St Mary's church.