Walk This Wey

Guildford to Godalming

Walk This Wey > Guildford to Godalming

Introduction

This walk covers the southern part of the River Wey from the busy centre of Guildford the path soon takes on a rural nature. Near Shalford the path comes to the junction of the Wey and Arun Canal where you can take the Wey South Path or climb Chinthurst Hill where there is a tower. Continuing south the path passes through Farncombe and Catteshall to finish at the pretty town of Godalming. This walk is 5 miles staying on the River Wey towpath or around 7.5 miles if you choose to climb Chinthurst Hill

Getting to the Start

Guildford has good road access with the A3 (London to Portsmouth) road passing near to the town centre, as well as the A322 ,A320 and A25 roads passing through or near the town. Parking in Guildford is limited and can be expensive, especially on week days, however park and ride services do operate.

Guildford also has good public transport links, being on the main line from London to Portsmouth, with frequent fast trains from London Waterloo to Guildford taking around 35 minutes. These trains also normally call at Woking, Haslemere, Petersfield, Havant and Portsmouth and some also call at other local stations, including Godalming. Guildford also has frequent local rail services from London Waterloo (via Epsom and Effingham Junction and via Chobham) from Ascot (via Camberley and Aldershot) and from Reading and Gatwick Airport. Local buses link Guildford with many local towns and villages.

The Walk

The River Wey flows through the centre of Guildford. From the town centre head down to the bottom of the High Street and cross the road, then follow the small road past Debenhams (next to the river), passing a few riverside pubs. On the left, across the river is The Mill Studio, an old watermill that is now part of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.

The Mill Studio
The Mill Studio

Soon the path comes out into a lovely open area, with lots of open grass land and seats, with narrow boats lining the banks of the Wey, a surprisingly rural scene considering the distance from the centre of Guildford. Soon the path leaves this open area and becomes more of a tow path, with trees and buildings lining the bank next to the path.

The River Wey near Guildford The River Wey near Guildford
The River Wey near Guildford The River Wey near Guildford

Soon you come to the wooden footbridge crossing the river. This carries the North Downs Way across the Wey. This bridge also acts as a marker for the point where the river now leaves Guildford.

The North Downs Way crosses the Wey
The North Downs Way crosses the Wey

Beyond the bridge the towpath briefly becomes very sandy, although part of the path was under repair. Soon you come to St. Catherine's Lock, the deepest lock on the river.

St. Catherine's Lock
St. Catherine's Lock

Beyond the lock you can see the large railway bridge ahead, carrying the North Downs Line from Guildford to Reigate. To the left, the river is passing close to the town of Shalford. To the right the path passes an old Pill Box.

The railway bridge
The Railway Bridge near Shalford

Shortly after the railway bridge the path comes towards Broadford.

Near Broadford
The River Wey approaching Broadford

At Broadford there are now two paths, the Wey South Path which follows the old Wey and Arun Canal (currently under restoration), and the river Wey towpath which continues south to Godalming. Here I chose to take the Wey South Path then onto the Downs Link path to the top of Chinthurst Hill. To continue on the Wey tow path scroll down. Cross the bridge at Broadford and follow the path on the right as soon as you cross the bridge, in front of the modern office buildings to Stone Bridge. Here you emerge onto the main road which you need to cross, joining the old railway line. Soon you come to the junction of the Downs Link and Wey South Path, where you join the Downs Link path. This path rounds the bottom of the hill and as you get towards the car park follow the path up onto the top of the hill. As you get near the top of the hill you start to get good views of the North Downs behind. Once at the top of the hill there is an open grassy area where you get excellent views over the North Downs and surrounding hills, and back towards Guildford. On the top of the hill is a the remains of a tower.

View from Chinthurst Hill View from Chinthurst Hill
View from Chinthurst Hill View from Chinthurst Hill towards Shalford
The tower on Chinthurst Hill View from Chinthurst Hill
The tower on Chinthurst Hill View from Chinthurst Hill

From Chinthurst Hill retrace your steps back to the river Wey and cross back over Broadford bridge to rejoin the tow path towards Godalming.

Broadford Bridge The River Wey near Broadford
Broadford Bridge The River Wey near Broadford

Soon you come to Unstead Lock at Peasmarsh. Beyond the Lock the path has water meadows on the other side of the river.

Near Peasmarsh Near Peasmarsh
Near Peasmarsh Near Peasmarsh

You cross a small road bridge by Tiltham's Farm then through pleasant countryside to Trowers Footbridge, a lovely brick bridge.

Trowers Footbridge
Trowers Footbridge

Beyond the bridge the path comes into Catteshall. Here there is the large Farncombe Boat House and lots of boats moored by the river.

Approaching Catteshall Farncombe Boat House
Approaching Catteshall Farncombe Boat House

At Farncombe Boat House I saw the boat Iona which is a horse-drawn narrow boat running boat trips on the Wey from Godalming, as can be seen in the picture above. Boat trips on the Iona normally run daily during the summer from Godalming Wharf. At Catteshall you have to cross the road bridge to continue on the tow path. Beyond the boat house and across the road is Catteshall Lock.

Catteshall Lock
Catteshall Lock

Not long after passing Catteshall Lock you pass Godalming Wharf then finally come to Godalming Bridge, the end of the navigable part of the river.

Godalming Bridge
Godalming Bridge

Beyond Godalming Bridge the path does still continue next to the river passing through a park and the Phillips Memorial Cloister at the end of the park. Godalming Town centre is very historic and well worth visiting.

Godalming Godalming
Godalming Godalming
Godalming
Godalming

Getting Back

There is a station in Godalming which can be reached from the end of the High Street continuing down the hill past the mill. From Godalming station South West Trains run two trains per hour back to Guildford (hourly on Sundays), taking a little under 10 minutes. Godalming also has trains to Woking, London, Haslemere, Petersfield, Havant and Portsmouth.

Links

The following web sites provide information on the area.


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