Section 31 Return
The Sands to Shackleford
|OS Explorer 145 Guildford & Farnham
|5 miles/ 3 hours
|The Barley Mow, Shackleford
|An easy return half along the North Downs Way, then down Puttenham Common with excellent views. Care is needed here as there are several unofficial paths. The final section passes historic Lydling Farm with its prize herd of cattle.
With The Barley Mow pub on your left, continue on along the road ignoring side roads by the pub. Soon reach another crossroads and go straight across. Keep on to a Y-fork by a golf club house. Here turn right and follow the road along the edge of a golf course for ¼ mile to reach a footpath going off right over a footbridge.
Follow this path along between a hedge and a fence. This is part of the North Downs Way (NDW) and the route follows this for two miles. In ¼ mile reach a road. Cross over to continue on the NDW in the same direction. Walk along with a garden wall and fence on your left. Just after this finishes, fork right then left, still on the NDW. Follow a long stretch along the top edge of a field.
At the end reach a road. Cross, slightly right, to a path into woods, still NDW. Continue on an easy path. On a slightly downhill stretch reach a junction. Do not go straight ahead, but turn sharp left uphill with the NDW by a fence on your left.
Soon go through a wooden kissing gate and turn right along the top edge of a large sloping pasture. Eventually leave the field and continue through a wood. Cross a wide vehicle drive and continue through woods. At a junction of tracks swing right then left on a sunken track down through woods (NDW).
At a cottage at Toxford Hatch go a few paces left along a road, passing the front of the cottage, then turn right between fences. Soon cross a stream and in 10 metres turn right on a bridleway between wooden posts, finally leaving the NDW.
In a short distance the path rises to a Y-fork. Turn right here, downhill. Keep on the main sandy track ignoring paths off left and right. Soon the path is going uphill. Cross a cross track and go on uphill. At the top cross another cross track and go forward to a viewpoint. Continue on now steeply downhill on an eroded sandy path.
Near the bottom ignore a path coming in on your right. Go forward a few paces to a cross path. Here turn right on a wide muddy track. Keep on down through silver birches. After some way a narrow bridleway crosses. Turn left on this (there is a wooden post with a blue waymark).
Stay on this path for ¼ mile through woods. Cross three cross paths. After the third crossing the path becomes rather feint and begins to climb. Eventually emerge onto a road by a new sandstone house. Turn left on the road for 200 metres. Cross a side road and keep on up the road. At the top opposite the entrance to a car park, turn right off the road onto a footpath.
Skirt a cottage and drop steeply down steps to a sunken bridleway. Turn left on this for a few paces then turn right off it on a footpath up the bank. This continues in a straight and easy fashion for ¾ mile. Eventually cross two stiles to emerge onto a road.
Turn right on the road. Immediately after passing a large duckpond turn right on a byway. This curves around Lydling Farm. Where the high garden wall on your right drops down, turn left up a vehicle track passing cottages. Where the track ends by a house on your left, go on to cross a stile into a field.
Go down the field with a hedge and fence on your left. At the bottom corner cross a stile by a fieldgate into a further field and keep on with the hedge on your left. On reaching another stile, cross into an enclosed path which soon emerges onto a road.
Turn left up the road to a T-junction. Turn right to a second junction by the village shop. Turn right to soon return to The Cyder Inn and the start of the section.