Arc 7

Walton to Clandon: Surrey North Downs West
Very Hilly
Ride Conditions
Percent Off-road
14.9 miles



Surrey Downs West and East are Cycle Orbital’s Everest and K2; different but challenging runs involving well over 1000ft of cumulative climbing. This is classic cycling territory, and though the route skirts Box Hill, the famous Zig Zag hill can be included via Headley Church Lane 2 and ZigZig Road 5 on the Box Hill Loop - though it should be cycled anticlockwise to make the classic climb.

From Walton it’s a descent and ascent to Headley 2 (passing under the M25; the Arcs will be outside its orbit now until Enfield Lock). R Slough Lane, Tumber St and Leech Lane, then 2.6 L for a stunning run down Lodge Bottom/Headley Lane to L 4.7 Juniper Hall (where the off-road Spoke 5 var joins from it's intrepid journey on Roman Stane Street). Under the A24 and straight on NCN22 with Spinoff 7 for 500m and R 5.7 into Denbies vineyard.

The original route up to Ranmore Common was to turn R 5.4 on Surrey Cycleway via Boxhill and West Humble, but I heard you could cycle through Denbies wine estate, and following a descent by this route (June 2022), Arc 7 now passes through a vineyard for the first time (maybe not the last?). The bridleway is fully metalled, being used by the vineyard's tourist train. The views towards the top are tremendous. 

This and its counterpart at Shere in 7 miles are the big climbs/descents of the circuit. Climbing to Ranmore Common in particular is steeper and tougher than the Box Hill ZigZag.

Back on Surrey Cycleway 7.5 on a fine ride through Ranmore Common, and then one of the great Cycle Orbital discoveries is a byway, an old drove road, of forest tracks starting L 9.5*, re-joining the road at Coombe Lane 13. When first recced the first half mile was near-impassable, due to a giant puddle and degradation but on revisit in drier conditions (Jun 2022) all was fine. But if inclement be prepared to stay on the road and turn L at Whitedown Lane, regaining the drove road 10.1*.

You now enter the most remote section of Cycle Orbital. It is actively forested country and there may be rough sections to start, but the conditions get steadily better, ending in a metalled surface. On subsequent revisits these three miles were in a much better state than at first recce - good news!

At 11.7 Netley Heath there stood a telegraph station on the Optical Telegraph of 1795 for messages relayed from the Admiralty to Portsmouth. Being close to the scarp edge viewpoints and picnic spots crop up. Once back on the road at Combe Lane there is a carpark 13.1 with a seasonal refreshment van, from which Guildford High Link, the eminently cycle-able drove road follows the scarp edge to Newlands Corner, and on to Guildford.

Before the descent to Clandon, if the visibility is good, make sure you take in the enormous panorama of the London Basin 13.4 – or visit remote Tillingbourne Brewery L. Test your brakes; you will reach 30mph+ once you have got to know the road, its curves and surface. Cross the dual carriageway 14.7 (R for Clandon Park, L for Hatchlands) to arrive in East Clandon.

*If conditions are very unfavourable, or your bike a ‘thoroughbred’, stay on Crocknorth Road, descending towards East Horsley and climbing back on Green Dene. This Surrey Cycleway route is often busy, not particularly rewarding, and involves a steep descent and immediate re-ascent to no great purpose.

The un-drivable drove road: Arc 7 diverted
Above Shere on North Downs Way: Arc 7
Refreshment above Shere: Arc 7