BOAT: Smugglers Way

Location: Tilford Rd, Tilford, Surrey GU10 2, UK
  • Overall Rating: 5
  • Location: Tilford, Hampshire.
  • OS Explorer Map 145, 'Guildford & Farnham, Godalming & Farnborough'.
  • Starting OS Grid Reference: SU874430
  • Starting GPS Co-ordinates: N51 17' 90" W000 75' 10"
  • Finishing OS Grid Reference: SU858419
  • Finishing GPS Co-ordinates: N51 17' 00" W000 77' 40"
  • To see: Frensham PondsTilford with it's two medieval bridges and historical oak trees, and the River Wey: great for a paddle with the kids.
  • ALWAYS follow the Greenlane Code!
This greenlane is a really treat, partly because of its length, but mainly due to the awesomely beautiful terrain it passes through. But first! a quick note on the lane itself. We started from Tilford Road. The lane actually runs both east and west from each side of Tilford road, but in-keeping with the format of this site, this article does not deal with the short eastern as it is a dead end and therefore pointless to drive. We will only mention the western section of the lane.

That said, the lane leaves Tilford Road just south of the iconic village of Tilford itself, famous for its medieval bridges, its fabulous, almost stereotypical village green (obviously with cricket pitch) and its famous oaks, one over 800 years old and others planted to mark the reigns of various monarchs.

On a surface of sand interspersed with section of forest floor and gravel, and with the foliage never closing in at all, this undulating lane (quite markedly so towards its western end, and apparently renowned for it) passes through an epically beautiful Scots Pine plantation (see photograph, left). The lane itself is not very well signposted, and you will need to proceed to the left when given the obvious choice (when driving it westbound), as straight ahead is a private driveway down to Meadow End Farm and is not open to the public.

Proceeding on a remarkably straight track, Tilford Common passes by on the south and lush equestrian pasture and dense woodland passes to the north. Otherwise unremarkable, but no worse for it, the lane eventually reaches a seasonal ford as the lane crosses a small tributary of the River Wey. As you can see from the video from the trail-biker I've embedded at the bottom of this post, he found it really quite tough! However in the middle of a heatwave in early October 2011 we found it bone dry. The ford has a hard enough surface for a base as someone has laid some bricks along it, but be warned: proceed slowly over it. We once hit the ford at a paltry 15mph and gave Prometheus' suspension such a jolt it actually hurt us, and I could have sworn I'd broken him!

On rounding the gentle corner after the ford, the lane (as previously mentioned) crosses some pronounced undulations and then ends where it meets Grange Road. A great lane, which is awesome even in isolation, but the fact that it is 500m from the start of the epic Sandy Lane makes it better still. The entire area is popular with families and others pursuing leisure, so take more care than usual on this greenlane. Even so, full marks.



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