Rail to Trail walks - Central Blackwater Valley routes
Step by Step instructions, map and GPX file can be found here
The full walk was done by the Blackwater Valley Countryside Trust a few years ago as part of their Rail to Trail project. I lead the walk jointly with a member of the Community Rail Partnership. The objective was to increase the use of the North Downs railway line which some of us know as the Blackwater Valley line that connects Reading and stations in the valley area to Guildford, Redhill and Gatwick.
The walk can be as long or short as you want. It is linear so the idea is to start from North Camp, Crowthorne or any other in-between station and walk to another station and catch the train back. It is mainly flat except the Sandhurst to Crowthorne part after leaving the Blackwater Valley Path which is a bit hilly for a while. At North Camp, park for free at Carrington Road Recreation Ground just across the road from the station. Note: it closes at certain times but it has never been at a time to stop me walking in the daytime.
The walks follow the signposted Blackwater Valley path (see on this page for usual signs) from North Camp all the way to Sandhurst station and includes parts of other walks on the website eg Mytchett canal and river walk, Farnborough North, Hawley Meadows and Blackwater Park. It also includes part of one of the walks in the book (Darby Green, Yateley Common, Hawley Common and Shepherd Meadows). Many parts of the walk have information boards with brief nature descriptions.
Farnborough North station is reached by crossing the concrete bridge over the A331 at Frimley Hatches. Cross the old concrete bridge over the river and instead of staying on the Blackwater Valley path through the gate to the left, keep straight on, turn right and go up and over to the station.
Blackwater station is easy to find on the left as you cross the road at The Meadows roundabout.
Sandhurst station is on your right as you emerge from a rather gloomy section of path running parallel to the railway embankment. You reach the main road and turn right and the station is up on your right. Platform 1 for North Camp.
The last un-signposted section from Sandhurst station starts at Scotland Hill opposite the entrance to Platform 1. This is best joined via the pedestrian crossing just around the corner. The instructions from Sandhurst are as follows:
At Scotland Hill go up the road passing the church and the well, climbing all the way up the hill and turn right onto Cock-A-Dobby. Join the footpath going up the steps at the end of Cock-A-Dobby. Then join the road and continue straight on to the top and turn left into Mickle Hill. On the bend look for the public footpath sign pointing you left. Follow this path downhill. Continue onwards into Handcombe Road, an unmade road. At the end turn left, then turn right onto a footpath between the houses. At the road turn left and then immediately right. This road turns left and you go down the footpath on your right between some houses, after the small grassy area with trees. You follow this path now to Crowthorne with the railway always on your left. Do not cross the railway by any bridge. You pass a row of planted broad-leaved lime trees on the left adjacent to Wellington College where you follow a fenced off section around the road to the college grounds, then keeping right. When you reach Crowthorne, the station is on your left as you reach the road, exiting via a metal gate. There are cafes and shops to spend some time in if you are early for the train.
Sandhurst Well in Scotland Hill erected as a memorial to a person who died in 1874