Polesden Lacey to Denbies Hillside ramble
This is a gentle circular route following rough tracks from Polesden Lacey across Ranmore Common to Denbies Hillside. NB: This trail is not signposted on the estate.
You will travel through some beautiful ancient woodland and enjoy stunning views at Denbies Hillside.
Polesden Lacey, Dorking, grid ref: TQ136522
Leave the Polesden Lacey car park heading west. Exit the car park and turn left, follow the track south. Continue along the track going downhill, under two bridges. Keep straight, follow the bridleway downslope and onto the causeway.
As you travel back uphill you will reach a T-junction; turn right here. Keep to this track passing Yew Tree Farm cottages, where the path forks keep left. To your left will be Yew Tree Orchard.
Yew Tree orchard is a really great spot to take a short break. The long grasses and wildflowers in the orchard mean that you are likely to spot lots of butterflies fluttering about in the summer months; look out for the Meadow Brown and the Common Blue. There is a beautiful view of the Polesden Lacey house from the top of the orchard.
Continue along the track heading south for some distance. Eventually you will pass a field entrance and bridleway to your right, the bridleway will be marked by a blue arrow, keep heading south on the track. Now look out for a path heading off at a slight angle to your right, take this track and follow it until you emerge onto a grassy verge beside Ranmore Common Road.
You are now on Ranmore Common, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The common would have been used by the commoners to graze livestock. Access would have been regulated through the hatches which were dotted around the edge of the common. As you walk through this part of the woodland the tracks can become muddy, it provides a great opportunity to look for animal tracks - especially Roe Deer. If you are quiet enough you may even spot a white tail in the distance.
Cross over the Ranmore Common Road and take the track in front of you, marked by a Forestry Commission sign. Follow this path downhill until it meets the North Downs Way, take the North Downs Way track to the left and then go through the field gate and into the field.
What a View
You will be rewarded by a magnificent view of the Surrey Hills looking over to Leith Hill and the tower; the highest point in the south of England reaching 1000ft above sea level. The chalk grassland here is really rich, it means that there are plenty of opportunities for you to spot wildlife. On warmer days, especially in the summer, you may spot the Adonis Blue butterfly. Also watch where you tread, if you are very lucky you might spot an adder basking in the sunshine.
Look out for the pedestrian gate on the path heading back into the woods and gently up the slope. Exit the wood into Steers Field keeping on the left fork towards the picnic area and car park. This is the mid point on the walk.
Great views can once again be enjoyed from this point. Please be aware that there may be livestock grazing in the field, please keep dogs under close control.
Now head north, crossing over the Ranmore Common road. Then turn left following the path alongside the road, look out for the bridleway on the right next to Rose Tree Cottage. Take this path heading north-east into the woods on Ranmore Common.
You are now back in the Ancient woodland of Ranmore Common. The wide woodland rides are a great place to spot butterflies; look out for the speckled wood and the silver-wash fritillary.
Keep following the track heading in a northerly direction and where the path forks, keep to the left. Keep looking out for the blue butterfly waymarks.
Go through a gate and into Bagden field, head north-west through the field towards Bagden Farm then north, keeping to the field edge.
In the summer months this field can be a patchwork of colour; from yellow to red. Look out for bird's foot trefoil and germander speedwell; these flowers are common in this field. Thanks to the flowers, there are plenty of butterflies too. This is also a great place to spot bird's of prey soaring above; listen out for the screech of a buzzard, or watch for a kestrel hovering.
Go through the gate and turn left on to Bagden drive. Keep to this track crossing over the Italianate bridge.
Once over the bridge look out for a gate to the right heading into the field. Once in the field turn left and follow the field edge. You will pass through two gates, close to one another, and into Golf Course Field. Head north-west through Golf Course field, then keep to the field edge heading west (keep to the blue butterfly waymarks). This will take you back to the car park and the facilities at Polesden Lacey.
'This is a delicious house...' remarked Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother on her honeymoon at Polesden Lacey. It was home to famous Edwardian hostess Mrs Greville, who entertained royalty and the celebrities of her time. Explore the house and garden if you have the time or enjoy a cup of tea in our café.
Polesden Lacey, Dorking, RH5 6BD
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