BOAT: Whirl Hill Lane

Location: Puttenham Ln, Shackleford, Surrey GU8 6, UK
  • Overall Rating: 2
  • Location: Shackleford, Surrey.
  • OS Explorer Map 145, 'Guildford & Farnham, Godalming & Farnborough'.
  • Starting OS Grid Reference: SU932461
  • Starting GPS Co-ordinates: N51 20' 60" W000 66' 80"
  • Finishing OS Grid Reference: SU929454
  • Finishing GPS Co-ordinates: N51 20' 00" W000 67' 20"
  • To see: not much
  • ALWAYS follow the Greenlane Code!

Update 13/10/2014: Whirl Hill Lane has by all accounts (see comments, below) become even more overgrown and is now bordering on the impassable. It urgently needs a program of repair but when (or if) this will ever happen... who knows. Owners of shiny cars: be warned!

This byway, only for those who don't care about their paintwork, starts life as a farm track leaving Puttenham Lane just south of a pond covered in lilly pads, a little north of Shackleford. This metalled stretch is, to quote Michael Caine, 'the wide part'. Once passing the large farm house of Lydling Farm and a driveway to a cottage that leaves the lane to the left, the vegetation closes right in and stays that way. It is loose enough to get through comfortably with many guaranteed scratches on the paintwork, but any long wheelbase vehicles (e.g. Defender 110 or 130) will have a real job getting around the corner. On one side thick, dense foliage and on the other an ivy-covered wall and bank nearly block the lane where it enters Long Cutts Wood (at the position indicated by a blue placemarker below, or SU927459). Indeed, since we did it in a Defender 90 and found it hard enough, we can't say for absolute certain whether or not the longer models would make it. Use caution, obvs.

As the byway runs along the border of Long Cutts Wood, the foliage remains tight with particularly nasty mature branches sticking out in places. The leaf-mould and bare earth surface is also on a pronounced slant to one side, which unfortunately means that your vehicle will be tilted towards the grasping branches which are now impossible to avoid. On the other side of the lane runs a barbed wire fence demarcating the field boundary, lurking behind relatively soft ferns and brambles which can offer some respite from the worst of it, but believe me it's a very narrow lane!

Bit of a tilt!
After turning sharply to the south where it enters Puckstool Wood the lane opens out as it passes through the conifer plantation. The going is far more easy here, but even so we had to stop in places to move huge fallen branches and trees. On entering Mitchen Hall Plantation and cresting Whirl Hill the again greenlane turns sharply to the east and eventually ends on Lombard Street, just west of Shackleford.

We drove this track in mid-winter when the foliage was at a minimum: in summer the byway may be so dense with fresh growth that it may be hard to even see where one is driving. As such, it's probably best to avoid this byway until a program of clearance has been undertaken, unless you drive a true greenlaning machine!

This is Surrey County Council's Byway Shackleford 527.

View Whirl Hill Lane in a larger map


Unknown said...

Did this scratchy lane 27/3/2013, very tight and muddy still, lots of those "fallen" branches near the farm end !

Dempo said...

Thanks for the update Dom! I'd have thought the council would have cleared it by now, since we drove it years ago! But I guess not...

Unknown said...

Did this BOAT 26/1/14 and its seriously narrow and very scratchy....Now me and my friend are not overly precious of our rides (Jeep Grand Cherokee for me and my mate has a Disco 2) but we both got to the end and vowed never to return! Here is my VR log of the lane|-0.6545876718897716|13

Dempo said...

Thanks for the information Nick, I have updated this entry with your findings as a warning to others. I hope that after your intrepid exploration the damage will 'buff out' ok!

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