Starting Point: Chilworth (TQ021471)
Length: 8 Km
DIfficulty Level: 4
This 8 kilometre walk takes you up to the historic St Martha’s Church where you will enjoy a fantastic vista of the Surrey Hills.
- With the Percy Arms behind you go right alongside the A248 for a few yards and pass an infant school. Turn immediately right on a narrow path that runs alongside it. Soon go between fields and cross a footbridge over a leat from the Tillingbourne to meet a T-junction. Turn left here and pass reminders that at one time this peaceful woodland employed around 400 people in the production of gunpowder. Finally this pleasant track ends at a wrought iron gate, once the works entrance. Turn right along the road and cross the Tillingbourne to meet Halfpenny Lane.
- Turn left here on a drive for 5 metres and then bear right on a sign posted steep and rocky footpath. At the end of this path turn left and enter a field by a post box and Public Footpath sign. Press on along the left hand side of this lovely undulating field and when passing old farm buildings in a dip maintain direction ahead along the hedged track. Ignore paths to left and right until Manor Farm is reached where the track ends abruptly.
- Go right over a stile and then follow the hedge on your left to maintain your original direction. Press on ahead along the well-defined path at a second field where soon you will catch a glimpse of Guildford Cathedral across the fields. Finally the path meets a stile, which you should cross to reach a quiet residential road. Turn right here and walk along the road for 12 metres. Then turn right up the track by a Public Footpath sign. Ignore side paths into Chantry Wood and continue until Chantry Cottage is reached on your right.
- Immediately after passing the cottage turn right on the broad track and keep to this as the route skirts dense woodland. At the crest of a fairly long rise you will be treated to a wonderful vista of Pewley Down. The track now goes downhill to meet the entrance to South Warren Farm. Ignore a path into woodland and press on ahead along the track that soon passes between attractive fields. At the far side of these fields we leave the track where it bends sharply left and we continue ahead up a path signposted ‘North Downs Way’. This paths leads through majestic woodland to meet a road.
- Turn left along the road for 10 metres and then turn right by Southernways Cottage onto the North Downs Way again. Keep to this sandy path and follow the NDW signs up hill to finally reach St Martha’s church. Circumnavigate the graveyard rightwards to reach a few welcome seats with distant views making your exertions well worthwhile.
- From these seats and with your back to the church, the route is downhill on a narrow path through the trees. Go straight ahead at path crossroads down a very steep path with some deep gullies caused by many pairs of feet and rainwater. Watch out for exposed tree roots as they conspire to trip you as the path descends to Chilworth Manor below. As the path levels out we meet a T-junction with a field gate ahead of you. Turn left along the narrow path that brings us gradually to the valley floor and maintain direction ahead when a farm track is met. Cross the Tillingbourne and continue ahead to a second bridge. Turn right just before this bridge and pass an information board explaining the gunpowder production process. Pass the ruins of the mill buildings and continue on this path with a mill leat on your left. At a clearing go left and cross the wooden footbridge over the water and retrace your steps back to the Percy Arms and the end of the walk.