This is the second section of our walk along the North Downs Way, from Guildford to Dorking. You can find the other sections here. This time we decided to walk on a cloudy day, which turned out to be quite soggy. However this was still a lovely walk, even if we did spend most of the day jumping over puddles and hiding in our raincoats! This section is a bit longer than the previous one, but has lots of beautiful views and really varied countryside. I’d love to come back and walk the same way on a sunny day!!
Stage 2: Guildford to Dorking Map
Stage 2: Guildford to Dorking – the basics
Elevation Gain: 293m
How to get there: Guildford station (start), Dorking Station (end)
Guildford and Dorking are on completely different train lines, so plan your route carefully if you’re coming by trains.
We started in Guildford, watching boat clubs zoom along the river Wey. Then we turned off onto the main route by crossing a pretty bridge.
Once we’d gone through Shalford park (and crossed the A281) we joined onto the pilgrims way walking first past some houses, and then through Chantry wood. This section was very muddy with huge puddles, so if you are planning to walk on this route, bring wellies or walking boots! You’ll get lots of glimpses of Guildford through the trees.
As you walk through the woods you slowly climb higher and higher. Finally you’ll reach the top by the church at the top of St Martha’s Hill. From there, you’ll be able to see down into the valley below. Well…at least you should be able to see the views if it is not too cloudy and rainy.
After this, you follow the path down through the woods.
Our map made it look like after leaving the woods, you must walk along a road. But actually there is a small path just to the left of the road, so watch out for the entrance to it. Soon you turn off the road to walk up to Albury Downs. This was easily the busiest part of our walk. There were lots of other runners, kite-flyers and dog walkers. We took the highest path, but it looked like any of the lower paths would reach the same endpoint.
The view from Albury Downs must be amazing on a day with better weather! This is the view towards the South Downs. You walk along this ridge until you get to Newlands Corner.
We found it quite difficult to cross the busy road after Newlands corner, so please be careful as there was some fast moving traffic. The next section is pretty easy going as it is quite level ground surrounded by woods. The road was very very muddy and slippy in January, but we still managed quite a fast pace.
After walking along the West Hanger you’ll reach a car park that at the weekend has a friendly lady who sells tasty cakes accompanied by a sweet, happy doggy. For some reason we thought it would be a good idea to bring salads with us…Unfortunately they were completely squished in our bags! I don’t recommend doing that!
After wandering past Netley farm, the path goes through Netley park for several kilometres. This means you’ll walk through lots of varied woodland with amazing trees (and quite a few really cool mushrooms!)
Some of the trees make Marc and I look teeny:
Netley Park was the training ground for Canadian servicemen during the Second World War while they prepared for the Normandy landings. They didn’t leave much trace of their time in these woods, apart from these huge concrete water tanks.
Another remnant of the Second World War are the pillboxes. There are about 6000 dotted around the UK (over 28000 were erected at strategic locations during the war.) Lots of them are falling down or overgrown, but you can climb in and explore the first one you see walking in this direction.
Next, you keep walking along the ridge of the White Down, so every time there is a break in the trees, you’ll get to see beautiful views.
At the end of the ridge there are nice views down to Dorking. Instead of heading towards the town, you turn off to the left and bear right along the Ranmore common road, passing St Barnabus Church and the Denbies estate.
The next section of the walk has fantastic views over the Denbies’ wine estate and over to Box hill. Apparently this is the largest vineyard in the UK. It looked a little desolate in winter, but it must be stunning in the summertime.
You are meant follow the ridge around the vineyard, slowly descend through the woods, and then walk along the A24 into Dorking. We didn’t fancy walking along the main road, so we took the ‘mole gap trail’ through the vineyard to walk back to Dorking station that way.
You can find the links to all my walks along the North Downs Way here.