BOAT: Madgehole Lane/Ride Lane

Location: Madgehole Ln, Surrey GU5, UK
  • Overall Rating: 4
  • Location: Shamley Green, Surrey.
  • OS Explorer Map 145, 'Guildford & Farnham, Godalming & Farnborough'.
  • Starting OS Grid Reference: TQ048435
  • Starting GPS Co-ordinates: N51 18' 10" W000 50' 20"
  • Finishing OS Grid Reference: TQ059453
  • Finishing GPS Co-ordinates: N51 19' 70" W000 48' 60"
  • To see: Red Lion Inn in Shamley GreenWinterfold HeathAlbury Park stately home, the course of a Roman road, although there's nothing at all to see above ground.
  • ALWAYS follow the Greenlane Code!
UPDATE 11/11/14: The surface of this byway has become even worse than before, and there is fair a chance that a vehicle without a suspension lift will not make it through. Do not drive this green lane unless you have the kit and are confident in your ability. I am sure an inevitable TRO will soon become extant. (See Mr Kelly's experience in the comment section, below.)

For the sake of convenience this page deals with Ride Lane and Madgehole Lane as one and the same.

Madgehole Lane plies its easterly course from the delightful village of Shamley Green, beginning where the the tarmac ends near some very expensive-looking Surrey 'mansions' (MTV Cribs it most certainly is!). Initially fairly innocuous, the green lane soon enters a cutting and with high earthen banks on each side it becomes pretty narrow in places. It is most certainly not made any easier with the dramatically undulating surface, potholes, 'bomb-craters', encroaching undergrowth and ruts. Even the trail-biker in the videos below has quite a time of it! The worst of it can be found whilst driving through a pine plantation, up a very steep incline towards the end of the lane.

The 'cliff' at the end of Madgehole Lane: worse than it looks.
If you make it to the end of Madgehole Lane, the hardest part is still to come. Madgehole Lane merges with Ride Lane at TQ060435 via a really dramatic, steep slope descending from one to the other (see picture, right) combined with a relatively tight turn through 90 degrees. If conditions are very wet, and you get this slope even slightly wrong or enter a skid, you will hit the earthen bank on the far side of Ride Lane and ruin your day. Take great care here. Incidentally, if you turn south instead of north here, the lane turns into a RUPP where it meets Winterfold Heath and is such a dead end for motorised traffic. Avoid.

Ride Lane strikes out northwards, but is even harder work than Madgehole Lane, and considerably so. It is extremely tight in places, as the undulating surface makes your vehicle assume some really quite alarming attitudes. We found ourselves lurching violently from side to side even as we drove at a maximum of walking pace! At times there can be quite literally millimetres to spare, as the large trees that encroach down the earthen banks either side of the byway make all this harder still, since with your vehicle at an angle and with no option to avoid due to the ruts, contact is quite likely. 

The northern end of Ride Lane, in Farley Green.
Around a third of the way up another BOAT leaves the lane to the west, but it too is a dead end as it only leads to Mayor House Farm. The lane continues in this vein and doesn't get any easier until it breaks out into the open yard of Farley Hall just south of Farley Green where the lane ends. It is certainly a relief to get to the end, and if you survived the challenge unscathed you get a pat on the back from us! This lane scores a 4 since it is pretty awesome to drive, but misses out on a 5 since it is certainly not for those new to our chosen leisure pursuit or those even slightly worried about damaging their vehicle: easier days out can be found elsewhere.

A Roman road crosses Ride Lane from south-east to north-wet, although not a trace of it can be seen these days. Interestingly, there is an area of woodland called Helmet Copse just to the east of the lane at this point, and I can't help wondering if it has taken it's name from some archaeological discovery. But for a much easier day out we can thoroughly recommend stopping for a meal at the (slightly pricey, but worthwhile) Red Lion Inn in Shamley Green. The food is awesome.

View Madgehole Lane/Ride Lane in a larger map


Unknown said...

Did this last week, a floor-pan dragging experience indeed, and that drop behind you in the picture has a couple off offset bomb holes in it now, exhilarating :-)

Dempo said...

Exhilarating indeed! But it also seems like this lane getting worse! Lets try to keep access at a sensible level to avoid a TRO like the one imposed on the nearby Ponds Lane (

Anonymous said...

Drove this lane and Ride Lane on the morning of the 09/11/14. I was alone and without a winch so had to be careful. I was driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee with 4 inches of lift and 32" mud terrain tyres, so about 5.5" over standard clearance.
I drove the lane without incident but I have had some offroad training and experience.
There was water flowing down most of Madgehole lane and parts of the lane were deeply rutted.
I would not advise driving this lane in a standard vehicle and I would not drive it again alone.
The end of Madgehole could cause difficulty where there is a hill and tree routes, the water flow and vehicles seem to have caused deep rutting here.
After you get onto ride lane parts of it are hard to read and should be taken at no more than a slow walking pace, there is also an area with deep rutting that is sure to ground some vehicles.

Dempo said...

Thank you Chris! I shall update this entry with your information.

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