Best for Surrey Churches and North Downs Views
Guildford to Chilworth
9.3 miles / 15 km
Old St Peter & St Pauls Church, Albury
This is a stunning Surrey Hills walk featuring some wonderful churches – most notably St Martha’s Church standing on a hill 175 metres (573 feet) above sea-level with sweeping views over the North Downs and Old St Peter & St Paul’s, a Grade I listed Saxon church set in its own parkland. There’s also some great panoramic views over the surrounding countryside and varying Surrey scenery from heathland to rolling fields and dense forest.
If you have the time, detours can also be made to Silent Pool Gin Distillery, Albury Vineyard and Chilworth Gunpowder Mills.
The route starts near the busy centre of Guildford, follows and crosses the River Wey and after the castle ascends steeply out of Guildford suburbs to Pewley Down. The paths from then on are well used and generally clear to follow. The route joins the North Downs Way for 1.5 km approx and then descends steeply to Albury. After the village the route is much flatter and continues through heathland and forest towards Chilworth.
Guildford Castle & Gardens
St Martha's Church
Sandy path after St Martha's Church
Signpost in Albury
Old St Peter & St Paul's Church
WHY NOT TRY
Guildford to Chilworth via Gunpowder Mills
4 miles / 6.4 km
Follow the route up to St Martha’s Church and then take the footpath directly downhill in front of the church descending steeply. After passing Chilworth Manor, turn left on the track, cross a stream and just before the second stream turn right at a sign for Chilworth Gunpowder Mills. Past the Mills and there is a track to your left which takes you to the road and Chilworth station is along to the left past Percy Arms pub.
Guildford station has a privately run car park with fees. Chilworth station has no car park.
St Martha’s Hill
There are two car parks Guildford Lane GU5 9BQ and Halfpenny Lane GU4 8PZ both less than 600 metres from St Martha’s Church.
Blackheath Car park GU4 8RB
This is a great alternative place to start the walk and also a good location for a visit to Blackheath Forest and Common.
Guildford Main station is very well served with trains from London Waterloo, Reading, Redhill and Portsmouth. There is a second station in Guildford – London road which is on the Waterloo to Guildford line so please don’t confuse the two.
Chilworth station is on the North Downs line and is very scenic. Trains run from Reading and Guildford to Redhill and there are no direct trains to London. Trains are hourly at best, however the Percy Arms is a great place to while away time waiting for your train.
There are plenty of public toilets in Guildford – including at the station, but once you leave the town, the options become much more limited. Both Albury and Chilworth have pubs with toilets for customers (see below). There are no facilities at all at Chilworth station.
ALONG THE WAY
Up a fairly steep road running out of Guildford, Pewley Down commands breathtaking views over the surrounding area. It was privately owned until 1920, when it was gifted to the town on the condition that it would be “preserved for time immemorial as a playground for the people of Guildford. Pewley Down is now a local nature reserve and home to several rare species of flowers along with butterflies, birds and 119 species of wasps, ants & bees.
Albury is a village of two halves – the original village was nestled around the wonderful Saxon church of St Peter & St Paul but from around 1780 onwards, successive owners of the adjacent mansion wanted to extend their grounds and cajoled/ threatened the villagers to move west. The “new” village features a lot of lovely Neo-Gothic Victorian architecture with timbered houses and ornate chimneys. There’s also a “new” St Peter & St Paul Church, completed in 1840.
Blackheath Common/ Forest
Blackheath Common is in the heart of the Surrey Hills. It features large open sandy areas and dramatic woodland. The Blackheath War Memorial stands on Rosemary Hill, overlooking the surrounding heathland.
FOOD AND DRINK
Guildford has many chains and independent restaurants, cafes and pubs clustered around the high street and town centre, too many for us to mention, you are spoilt for choice.
The Drummond at Albury
A gastropub with rooms in the Surrey Hills. It has friendly bar and elegant dining room, plus a pretty pub garden by the stream . Breakfasts Lunch and Dinner, not cheap but looks good.
Slightly off the route this Gin Distillery has terrace bar overlooking the blue waters of the Silent Pool and is quite a special spot. There is no indoor seating, plenty of gin, cocktails, wine but no food. Booking recommended. Tours of the distillery can also be arranged.
Percy Arms , Chilworth
This large pub very close to Chilworth station offers traditional pub grub, with outdoor seating and a good range of beers. The pub also has bedrooms if you want to stay overnight.