Heathland, Horsell Common and a Rhododendron Walkway

Longcross to Woking

Longcross to Woking Station 8.55 miles / 13.8 km

HIGHLIGHTS

Longcross | Chobham Common| Rhododendron Walkway | Horsell Common | Peace Garden | Basingstoke Canal

Introduction

This is a wonderfully peaceful route that seems far way away from the city. Longcross lies literally on the edge of Chobham Common, the largest National Nature Reserve in the South East and a wonderful example of lowland heath. The route then dives through cool woodland to a secluded fishing lake, before passing across sandy Horsell Common, made famous in H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds.

A highlight of the walk is the Peace Garden near Woking which lives up to its name and is surrounded by towering pine trees. The final section is along the pretty Basingstoke Canal which brings you right into the heart of Woking.

Directions overview

Leaving isolated Longcross station, take the narrow path next to the film studios and cross Chobham Common on a mainly flat gravel track. There are many alternative paths but it isn’t too hard to keep to the track and after a while you will hear the M3 to your left, which is where you are headed.  There is a foot tunnel under the motorway then more heathland and a winding woodland walk which follows the edge of the Longcross Estate fence. After the fishing pond, the path doubles back inself and follows a bridleway for a while and then heads to Horsell Common, through the Peace Garden and across a canal bridge and onwards to Woking. The route finishes in the pedestrianised town centre which has many retail opportunities.

Route details

Start  Longcross Station southwesternrailway
End Woking Station southwesternrailway
OS Route  WALKING POST Longcross to Woking Loop
Difficulty Easy
Length 8.55 miles (13.75 km)
Average time 3 – 4 hours
Total ascent 331ft

Chobham Common

Rhododendron Walkway

Horsell Common

Peace Garden

Basingstoke Canal

War of the Worlds Sculpture, Woking

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ALONG THE WAY

Longcross Film Studios
Once an important M.O.D site where armoured vehicles were designed and tested in WW2 , this site was transformed into film studios in the 1990s. Recently, Netflix has invested in the studios and it has been used for many production such as Doctor Strange, Death on the Nile, Skyfall, The Marvels, War Horse and TV series such as Call the Midwife.

Longcross Estate &  Sheikh Mohammed

The Longcross Estate is valued at around £75m and is currently owned by  Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It was the scene of a dramatic escape bid in 2000 when the Sheikh’s daughter, Princess Shamsa, tried to flee from her family. She was later abducted in Cambridge and flown back to Dubai — she hasn’t been seen in public since.

Horsell Common & H. G. Wells

Sand and gravel have been extracted from the common for many centuries and were used to build houses in the Horsell area. H. G. Wells who lived around Woking, used the sandpit as the landing site for Martian spacecraft in his novel War of the Worlds.  The martian tripod sculpture in Woking also commemorates his work.

In his autobiography, he wrote of his pleasure of riding a bicycle around the area and imagining the destruction of specific cottages and houses caused by the Martians’ heat-rays.

TRANSPORT

Longcross is the least used station in Surrey. It has no public road access and is sandwiched between Longcross Film Studios and Wentworth Golf course, but its close proximity to Chobham Common makes it ideal for walkers. Trains are generally two per hour, running Waterloo to Reading. No facilities at the station at all.

In contrast, Woking Station is very busy and has frequent services running on the line from Waterloo to Basingstoke, Alton and the West Country. The station boasts a Cafe, toilets, ticket office, the lot!

It is advisable to buy single tickets for this walk as Longcross and Woking are on different train lines.

TOILET OPPORTUNITIES

Very limited. None at Longcross. The route is entirely rural until you reach Woking. There are public toilets at Locke Way,  39 Chertsey Rd, Woking GU21 5AJ and at Woking Station.

FOOD & DRINK

Nothing at all until you get to Woking and then every chain and independent choice of eatery, cafe and bar you can think of, all ideally situated very close to Woking Station.