st martha's hill downs link

st martha's hill downs link

3. With an eye on the clock, I sighed and prepared to leave the trail just before the remnants of Rudgwick station and went in hunt of the village bus stop, and somewhere to shelter until the bus came. Click here for instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser. Rambling Man earns money from qualifying purchases from Amazon, YHA England and Wales, Waterstones, Booksetc, Foyles, and Google Play, if you follow links from this site. I’d like to say it was planned, but that would imply too much credit on my part. Relatively straight, relatively flat. This is the main walking route along the beautiful Downs Link trail. True, many of the lines and stations that closed in the Beeching era were basket-cases that should never have opened in the first place. Which is why I started walking Downs Link, panting for breath, cursing the fact that I was rather out of shape on the hill climbing front. The North Downs Way then climbs to the beautiful St Martha's Hill and St Martha's Church, from where there are excellent views to the South. The route crosses the Surrey Hills and the South Downs through predominantly wood areas with views across adjoining fields, but also includes small meadow areas and wetland features. A network of concrete culverts did, at least, keep the worst of the water off the footpath but such had been the downpour, that they were struggling to cope with the demand. 5 With the church behind you, looking down over the Tillingbourne Valley, you will see a path ahead of you. The Milk Churn specialises in Cheese on Toast made from the Cheese they produce at the same location. As I approached the village of Rudgwick fellow walkers also began to appear again; usually togged up to the nines in waterproofs and wellies whilst a large dog ran around, enthusiastically jumping in puddles. I peered through my rain splattered glasses, trying to work out if the line had been single or double tracked, but there were so many bramble bushes overgrowing everywhere that it was almost impossible to tell. 6 From St Martha's Hill the sandy path descends and crosses the Downs Link, a path linking the North Downs Way with the South Downs Way. Once the church had been an important staging post on a busy route, but when the era of the motorcar arrived, the roads remained at the foot of the hill. the “Downs Link” that runs all the way from St Martha’s to the South Downs Way and ultimately to the sea. Currently you have JavaScript disabled. Downs Link Stage 1: St Martha’s Hill to Rudgwick, Downs Link Stage 3: Henfield to Shoreham-by-Sea. Surrounded mostly by trees, the old railway line felt rather gloom in the rain, with only the odd bridge breaking it all up. From Guildford follow the A281 to shalford, then along the A248. The signals and railway paraphernalia may have gone, and the undergrowth may be creeping in from the sides now that no railway workers were there to crop it back, but the clues were always there. On the original railway plans, Baynards wasn’t even going to get a station. The Downs Link connects with other long-distance routes, such as the North Downs Way, South Downs Way, Wey South Path, Greensand Way, Sussex Border Path and National Cycle Network routes 2 and 22. Again, now a private house, Baynard’s is the only station on the route to have remained pretty much intact. The course is fully marked. Unlike its neighbour, Cranleigh had little to commemorate the railway. With little choice, I heaved my tired legs across the road and stood at the bus stop in the rain. Recent rain had paid its toll on the footpaths as I slipped around on a path that had become a veritable quagmire at parts. You are here: Things to Do > Downs Link off road trail. At the top, I was rewarded with the sight of St Martha's Church (picture 25), and the magnificent views of the Surrey countryside to the south (picture 26). Whilst the tree lined path of the old train line kept sight of the road to a minimum, the noise of cars rushing on their way meant you always knew it was there. You will find a car park about 1.2 km along this road. But putting footpaths through them means maintaining the infrastructure to a higher standard, plus lighting to install, health and safety hazards to assess. Not that there was much to see from the Downs Link, which had been routed away from the station on a side path, but a gap in the fence providing a fleeting glimpse of what once was, perhaps in better condition than it ever was under British Rail; vintage enamal advertisements placed on the platforms under immaculate woodwork. Downs Link - Via St Martha's Hill. “Indeed. Almost all the trail follows the former trackbed of a railway closed in the 1960s as part of the Beeching cuts so it’s pretty flat. British Rail looked in to a few years later, and the Railway Development Society did the same. The canal bed lasted substantially longer, only being filled in in 1972. No one would know. I found only one place; a covered walkway outside of the Co-operative supermarket from which it was impossible to see if the bus was coming or not. Routes on this trail. Whether it was the weather or not, I couldn’t tell, but the Downs Link was now deserted. Post code for finish point: High Street, Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 5DE Why not just fill it with local waste? Enjoy this site? However, the route was designed to link the North Downs Way with the South Downs Way, and this is where it meets its northern brother. That the hamlet got anything can be credited to one Lord Thurlow. Beginning of cycle ride along the Downs Link to Shoreham: psburgess: 16/05/2020: NDW Westhumble to Guildford: jedthehumanoid: 24/01/2020: Day 1 walking the North Downs Way: fosal29: 29/04/2019: Boxing Day walk with John & Simon: ornithopod: 26/12/2018 My boots squelched and sploshed in the puddles, whilst every now and then the path descended into a muddy morass. The Downs Link follows a disused railway line forming part of the long-distance route linking St Martha's Hill, near Guildford, to near Shoreham on the south coast. :). Not surprisingly the bus appeared right on time. Following old railway lines, the Downs Link connects the North Downs Way with its southern equivalent. Which is a shame as it can be an enticing and dramatic experience as anyone who has ever walked through the Monsal tunnels in the Peak District can testify. The only commemoration seemed to come a short way on at a sports ground. Only a narrow ledge of grass on the side of the path provided any safety at all, and I gently manoeuvred as best I could in order to prevent myself from falling in it head first. But the first four miles instead meander around lanes and tracks, starting from St Martha’s Hill. Only whilst doing my research on the trip did I find out the “happy” coincidence. 22.St Martha’s Church. Well why not? At the end of the platforms, where the line one crossed the road, the level crossing gates lay across the former track bed; waiting to be opened once more for a train that would never come. The Downs Link footpath and bridleway links the North Downs Way at St Martha’s Hill, Surrey with the South Downs Way near Steyning, West Sussex and on via the Coastal Link to Shoreham-by-Sea. The hill summit stands at 574 feet (175 m) and commands wonderful views of the surrounding area. I’d been keeping my eye open for a bench – there’d been plenty earlier in the day, but no sooner had I wanted to sit on one and they’d all disappeared. It was underground. The former station had been demolished, replaced by a shopping and housing development, with a large car park next to it. A large, modern white sign – the kind you expect on a road as you ever a town – made sure walkers knew there were in Cranleigh. St Martha on the Hill and the Silent Pool A Pilgrimage ... fingerpost, avoid a left fork, marked as the Downs Link, and continue, always uphill. Left to its own devices, an old railway line can soon be reclaimed by nature. That didn’t stop the station also serving as a post office though, but even if the Cranleigh line had remained open, it’s hard to imagine the station would have survived with its splattering of houses and a closed pub. The notion of starting a walking trail at the top of a hill is – on paper – an appealing one view. Turn right here, just before another bridge, on a clear path. At the end, turn left on a broad track. Far more peaceful were the remnants of the old canal along with Cranleigh Waters, a narrow, shallow looking river. Well it was as good a reason as any to head to St Matha’s Hill, the start of the trail, on a rather soggy Saturday in April. The small village of Rudgwick would be the last place where I knew I’d be able to get a bus; an hourly service connecting to either Guildford or Horsham. Alternatively, the more accessible option (DLA) bypasses this in favour of a more relaxed walk, free from obstacles and sharp climbs. The Downs Link follows two historic railway lines through the beautiful and ancient wooded countryside of Surrey to the golden coastline of West Sussex. Shortly after, the North Downs Way (NDW) joins you from ... St Martha’s was built in 1850 on the site of a much older Saxon church. For 37 miles it steams down the south of England, from St Martha's Hill near Guildford, to Shoreham-by-Sea on the south coast. Linking the North Downs Way at St. Martha's Hill in Surrey with the South Down's Way near Steyning, the Downs Link route itself follows the course of two dismantled railway lines - the Cranleigh Line & the Steyning Line - both of which were closed in the 1960's as a result of the Beeching Axe. The residents, stuck in their traffic jams, are still waiting. I had fond memories, especially of the South Downs, and I was intrigued to see how the landscape would change as I travelled between the two. The path continues past the famous beauty sport of Newlands Corner and then continues through Woodland to Hackhurst Downs where there is a path into the pretty village of Gomshall. The reality is that Beeching closed some railway lines that he really shouldn’t. As you walk along, you can take … (3) The Downs Link climbs St Martha's Hill (4) Albury Downs Before heading back towards St Martha's Hill where I would rejoin the North Downs Way, I spent some time exploring the little village of Blackheath, with its Villagers Inn (picture 1), where I'd spent the night, some picture postcard houses and a street sign that I'd love to have outside my house (picture 2). The resulting car growth over the decades was paying its toll on the area, and a report in 1994 for Surrey County Council concluded that partly re-opening the line down from Guildford, through Bramley and Wonersh and on to the town of Cranleigh, would take 500 car users off the road each day. The path then descends to the road and runs next to the road for a while, passing White Lane Farm. The houses and streets sat clustered close to the former railway tracks. The Downs Link, which is managed by West Sussex County Council, Surrey County Council and Waverley Borough Council. But in the 1960s the attitude was that the car would solve all our problems!” I replied with perhaps a hint of regret that can come from someone who has never owned a car, and who relies on public transport to get around. The bridleway climbs to the church on the hill’s summit (175m). The beautiful St Martha’s Church (also known as St Martha-on-the-Hill) is a listed grade II Historic building. By 2009 the Association of Train Operating Companies even got in the act, suggesting the line could be re-opened in five to ten years. From there, the path led to sparse woodland on Rosemary Hill, before heading to the more dense trees of Wonersh Common. Find out more here. Welcome to the Itinerary Planner. The Downslink Ultra is a 38-mile point to point race from St Martha’s Hill, Surrey to Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex using the Downslink footpath and bridleway. There’s something about the moody dramatic lighting; the water dripping down the brick walls. And less rain. There’d been light rain for at least an hour, and it was slowly but surely getting worse. “It would have taken a lot of this traffic off the road, for a start,” she carried on, pointing to the car-filled road nearby, where the local traffic was barely moving. The Downs Link is a 36.7 miles (59.1 km) footpath and bridleway linking the North Downs Way at St. Martha's Hill in Surrey with the South Downs Way near Steyning in West Sussex and on via the Coastal Link to Shoreham-by-Sea Thankfully the path led to a distinctly easier section of tarmac, through the village of Stonebridge before finally the Downs Link arrived at the main event – the trackbed of the Cranleigh railway line. St Martha's Hill is a landmark in St Martha in Surrey, England between the town of Guildford and village of Chilworth.It is the 18th highest hill in the county and on the Greensand Ridge, in this case at the closest point to the North Downs, commencing to the immediate north at the Guildown-Merrow Down in the parishes of Guildford and Merrow. The course is mainly flat after the first section. That and the fact that St Martha’s Hill is a bit of a local landmark, thanks to its isolated church, parts of which date from the 12th century. It’s a shame.”. The route is a straightforward "double" that can be completed in a day, following the Down's Link route from St Martha's Hill, near Guildford, to Shoreham. The route was opened in 1984 to link the North Downs Way and the South Downs Way. Paths along old railway lines tend to share similar features. I’d just been attracted by the fact that it linked the North Downs Way and South Downs Ways, two trails I’d walked already. Use this tool to build your own journey or choose from an exciting range of specially selected tours. Perched on the top of the hill on the North Downs Way National Trail, the building is accessible only by foot.It is the only church in Surrey to be on the Pilgrims’ Way and featured briefly in the 1944 film A Canterbury Tale. To provide you with the best experience, cookies are used on this site. It wasn’t hard to imagine that the Downs Link needed a fair amount of pruning on an annual basis to get the brambles away. “Aye,” she nodded, looking at the platform a little wistfully. First Published: 12 February 2014. All morning I’d been overtaken by fluorescent lycra-clad cylists, joggers and even the odd walker. The Downs Link is a waymarked route open to walkers, horseriders and cyclists, linking the North Downs Way at St Martha's Hill, Surrey with the South Downs Way near Steyning, West Sussex via … 4 The track soon crosses a bridge over the Tillingbourne stream. The trail crosses the Low Weald and mostly follows two former railway lines. Sat a short distance from the trail, with a slight platform effect in front of it, it almost looked like the Thurlow Arms had been a station, but the former Baynard’s station stood opposite. I knew I’d made a mistake not putting my waterproof trousers on. Not that Downs Link actually starts at the church. Now I seemed to have the Downs Link to myself as the path headed straight along. If I stopped, I’d end up having to spend two more days walking the trail. Despite that, an active band of volunteers have been hard at work, attempting to re-open the canal so it can be navigated once more. The Cranleigh Line was one of those. Now the church sits alone, accessible only by foot. I’d got to the top of St Martha’s Hill having set off from Chilworth station in the valley below,, and now I was heading back to it. A twin arch bridge spanned the old tracked, with the first arch originally going over the Wey and Arun canal. As the Downs Link rejoined the old line, I glanced at the tunnel entrance through the rain, pondering a detour before decided that really, heading off down a muddy track just to see a padlocked wooden door, probably wasn’t worth it. I walked on, passed a mysterious building with a “CLOSED” sign above the front door. Last Updated: 4 January 2019. Quite why Downs Link starts at the top of St Martha’s Hill isn’t particularly clear. It also passes the Surrey heathland of Blackheath, with its impressive War Memorial atop Rosemary Hill. They certainly had their work cut out for them. Grid Ref: TQ 032 484 to TQ 031 420 St Martha’s Hill – Bramley – Run Common – 10.5km (6.5 miles) St Martha’s Hill. The walk starts from the St Martha's Hill, Guildford Lane Car Park, just east of the hill. Downs Link - Stage 1. Please consider supporting what I do by buying me a coffee (n.b. My original plan had been to walk on another six miles to Christ’s Hospital – a total of nineteen miles or so – but even by the time I’d got to Cranleigh it was obvious I’d never make it. Suggested joining points:  Guildford, Bramley or Cranleigh. may actually be a beer...). When the track divides, leave the bridleway and go on down a public footpath that will eventually bring you out at St Martha-on-the-Hill church. It’s true that I knew 2013 would mark fifty years after the publication of Beeching’s now infamous report on “reshaping” Britain’s railways. She bade me farewell, leaving me on the original railway plans Baynards! To it first I ’ d like to say it was planned, but water streaming. A rubbish tip here: Things to Do > Downs Link actually starts at top! Had their work cut out for them weather had, at least an hour, and avoids sandy! Sandy ground around St. Martha 's Hill, before heading to the golden of. 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