Roman Temple Ride
Starting Point: Farley Heath carpark, GU5 9ER
Length: 6 Km
ROMAN TEMPLE, FARLEY HEATH TO BLACKHEATH
The countryside at Blackheath and Farley Heath offers some of the best riding in the South East. It is criss-crossed by a network of sandy tracks that are fantastic for horses. The area is very popular with dog-walkers too so beware – it can get quite crowded but the scenery is beautiful and the going is brilliant and almost bicycle free because of the thick sand.
This circular ride can be started either from the huge Farley Heath car park or from the small Blackheath car park, which is unsuitable for trailers. It takes roughly 1½ hours.
- Start at the Roman Temple car park on Farley Heath Road, GU5 9ER.
- With the road on your right, take the bridlepath by the large log going past the temple foundations on your left.
- Keep straight on over three sets of crossroads down a hill until at the bottom, the path splits either side of some bushes. Take the narrow right hand OR the wider left followed by a sharp right. You emerge facing a row of cottages called Home Villas.
- Turn left past the houses and take a narrow path beside No 1 (marked with a milkchurn).
- The left side of this track through the trees is better. It comes out on a wide drive. Turn left.
- After about 40m the track splits. Take the right hand path up onto Blackheath, past a wooden barrier.
- This is a major bridleway that leads all the way to Blackheath Village.
- Keep on the main path (it is an old racehorse gallops) with the seat on your right.
- You will come to a huge open junction, and you follow the main broad track as it curves slightly right and then left before becoming dead straight. At the second big clearing and crossroads, turn right.
- The path now weaves through the pine trees and you will come to a cross roads of wide tracks with silver birch trees all round. Bear left, ignoring small side paths.
Continue straight through the tall pine plantation until you come to a junction with an old established jumping ring on the right.
- Enjoy the jumps and then take the wide sandy path across open heathland up the slope to the left passing a bridleway post on the right.
- You will shortly come to the gallops again – a wide open crossroads. (If you turn right up the gallops, the path takes you straight to Blackheath Car Park.
You can start your ride from here, or link up with the St Martha’s Hill Ride, but the car park is small and unsuitable for cars with trailers. This photo shows the car park looking towards the heath.
- Starting the circuit from here, ride down the main bridleway, looking for the second track to the right. Turn right and you have joined the route.) To continue the trail coming from the jumping ring, cross over the gallops down a wide sandy track. At the next cross roads, with a blue bridleway sign and bench on the right, turn left down through the pine trees.
- Keep straight on this inviting sandy track that narrows into a gully through the trees.Stay beside the fence on the right until the path becomes a metalled drive past Candleford Cottage and Heathfield. At the Y junction at the end of the tarmacked stretch bear left onto the sand track following a line of telegraph poles.
- You will shortly come to a junction of several paths.
- Go past the tree and take the lovely yellow sandy path bearing right uphill.
- At a crossroad of tracks go right following the golden sand. Go straight at the next crossroads, past the log and the path takes you all the way back to the Roman Temple Car Park.