BOAT: Boxalls Hill

Location: Whitmore Vale Rd, Grayshott, Hampshire GU26, UK
  • Overall Rating: 3
  • Location: Beacon Hill, Surrey.
  • OS Explorer Map 133, 'Haslemere & Petersfield'.
  • Starting OS Grid Reference: SU870365
  • Starting GPS Co-ordinates: N51 12' 10" W000 75' 80"
  • Finishing OS Grid Reference:  SU866358
  • Finishing GPS Co-ordinates:  N51 11' 50" W000 76' 60"
  • To see: Waggoner's Wells, ford.
  • ALWAYS follow the Greenlane Code!
NB: this byway (as of 05/05/2014) has had a lot of work done on it, and is now (apparently) a very relaxed and easy-going drive! The original article, although now out-of-date, is still included below for reference. 

NB: this is an extremely challenging lane and you may well not be able to complete it. Avoid unless you really do know what you are doing! If you elect to drive it, please use this lane sparingly to avoid further damage to the surface.

Bad picture, worse surface.
This byway is also featured in Land Rover Owner International magazine's November 2012 issue as byway number 7. We travelled southbound. Due to damage this relatively short green lane was recently subject to a TRO, but this appears to have been lifted after the worst of the damage was repaired (apparently. I dread to think what it was like before!). Starting from the northern end, then, this byway heads downhill from the A287 (Churt Road). It's pretty easy going, on a decent surface of compacted earth that was no doubt improved by the works. The lane flows through aesthetically-pleasing pine woodland and follows the edge of some back gardens, which are fenced off. At the lane's low point can be found a very shallow ford; I'd be hard pressed to think of any challenge it would face even if the area was in flood.

From the ford, however, things change. I'm not sure if the budget ran out but this section of the track has most certainly not been repaired! Heading uphill for a short distance out of the ford, the surface changes to rutted, soft mud, which continues until the hill levels off and follows a field boundary with a pleasant view to the north. On resuming a descent the lane appears to have dried out as the surface changes to one that looks, at face value anyway, to contain more sand than the mud before. Due to this the surface from this point is incredibly bumpy and rutted, and the going is extremely hard with a high chance of becoming cross-axled. This is not helped at this by having to negotiate your way around a mature oak tree (which we managed, barely). After passing the tree the lane bears to the right and here the worst of it can be found. A steep hill descent counts in your favour due to the assistance of gravity (the main reason we got through unscathed!) and here the surface has some literally vehicle-swallowing pot holes, at times one or more wheels may not be on the ground and becoming cross-axled is even more likely. Once this stretch has been negotiated the byway ends on Whitmore Vale Road, which also acts as the Hampshire/Surrey border.

Although the 'hard bit' is only a few yards long it is extremely hard to negotiate it successfully without either damage to the lane or your vehicle (or both). Talking to a fellow green-laner (who owned a pretty swish V8 Discovery with a suspension lift and winch: clearly a 4x4 not short of capability) who watched our descent said that in his vehicle he was unable to get up the lane at all and had given up! Be warned: even with all the 'kit' this lane might just be too much for your vehicle. We would be interested to hear from anyone else who tried to navigate its perils, or, even better, from people with a spade and pick-axe who would be willing to 'iron out the bumps' for the future enjoyment of all.

If, for some mad reason, you are up for a further challenge, cross the road and head for a hill climb on another byway called Whitmore Hanger, or relax and head for a picnic and a stroll at Waggoner's Wells: two large ponds, possibly created to serve a mill of iron foundry that was never built, that offer some decent, child-friendly walks around a scenic wooded valley.

This is Surrey County Council's Haslemere Byway 5.

The, uh..., 'ford'.

View Boxalls Hill in a larger map

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Drove this today 5/5/14 and it's had a lot of work done. I hardly recognised it. It's had drainage put in and all sections have been flattened. The usually rutted section exiting onto Whitmore Vale is now concrete. You could get a road based car up it now.

James Brown said...

Awesome! Thanks so much for the update.

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Please keep it clean!