Tea and cake at Compton Watts Gallery
Starting at Farncombe Station and quickly reaching open farmland of the Loseley estate before turning on to the North Downs Way, passing through sun dappled woodland with views of the Chalk escarpments, finishing at the historic Watts Gallery and cafe. Return via the quiet lanes of Compton and Binscombe.
Exit Farncombe Station on the northbound side with the large car park, and turn right along Station Road. Turn left into Green Lane, past the White Hart pub and then right into Furze Lane. Farncombe village ends at a new development and the road ends in a junction. Take care here as often busy, so turn right and then sharp left into Stakescorner Road and breathe a sigh of relief as you cycle through the pretty fields of the Loseley estate. If you look left at the top of the slight incline you might see the historic 16th Century Loseley House and Park. After a downhill into the pretty village of Littleton (1) the most challenging climb of the ride – its not too long – comes as you approach the North Downs Way. At a tight right turn continue on to a dirt car park and immediately take a bridleway left (2) which climbs gently along the North Downs Way through the Loseley nature reserve. The path narrows as it winds down, opening up into a small sandy patch, and then up and then down to a crossroads of paths, marked by a wooden sign for Compton (4) Turning left is the return home, so carry straight on, which is another well earned, if a bit rooty, and in winter muddy, downhill which opens out to wide vistas of the North Downs. See how many horses you can count on the farm on the right!
The sandy track winds uphill (3), and then down into the village of Compton. You’ll see the impressive Watts Gallery Artists Village on the right where you should sample the Welsh Rarebit and cake and view the other artisan workshops. If you have time you can follow the signs for the Watts Chapel to the left which is also worth a view.
Retrace the route up the sandy path and North Downs Way back to the bridleway crossroads (4) and turn right down an ancient sunken path. This narrows somewhat (and can be overgrown) but exits on to the small metalled Polstead Lane. You’ll see another entrance to Loseley House on your left, but continue south. At the Allotments bear left on to Withies Lane. You will soon pass The Withies Inn pub, which has lovely shaded booths in the garden for al fresco drinks and food. Cross the busy B3000 almost directly opposite onto another quiet lane called The Avenue that will take you into Binscombe. (5) Turn right on to Binscombe lane, pass some shops on the left hand side, and then at a cross roads turn left into Elizabeth Road. This will take you gently downhill back to Farncombe Station.