Farley Hill

 

The SOUTH LINE subdivides Crooksbury and Newlands lines at 182 degrees, being 50 degrees from each, and passes through the Wey gap where the river Wey passes through Guildford with the start of the Hogs Back to the west and of Pewley Down to the east.  Some distance short of 4 DM it crosses another alignment on the site of Guildford Friary and carries on to the Mesolithic site below St Catherine’s Chapel at 5 DM.  The chapel itself is on another alignment and is just off this one.  The line currently terminates at Farley Hill.

 

Looking south to Farley Hill from above the entrance to St Catherine’s Hill railway tunnel.

I originally visited Farley Hill in 1980 and found it to be sandy with ironstone, beech wood with rhododendrons and laurels. At that time I recorded what appeared to be a platform on the brow, half a metre high by 10 m across, very obscured by mature laurels.  In January 2014 I decided to take another look.

The hill is traversed by a public footpath around the north side and as the land owner is unknown I hopped over a broken fence and did some non-destructive trespassing.  I suspect the land may be in the ownership of Unsted Park House which is Grade 2 listed and dates from 1780.  It sits on the south side of the hill and is now a Priory rehabilitation centre.  The north face of the hill is covered in deciduous trees with the eastern side having bracken ground cover but towards the western side it becomes increasingly overgrown with rhododendrons and some holly.  Unfortunately the nearer one gets to the alignment the thicker the growth and it proved too difficult to reach the desired location.  I found no sign of the platform seen in 1980 and after all this time I cannot recall how it looked.  The hill is criss-crossed with what appear to be eroded landscape features, paths and ditches, possibly associated with Unsted Park House, and the platform may well have been a viewing spot with a bench.  From the public footpath running along the north side of the lower slope there is an excellent view along the alignment, which is obscured higher up.  The photograph below shows a clear sight line north all the way to Whitmoor Common, through the Wey gap with the beginnings of the Hogs Back to the left, and Pewley Down to the right. The tall structure in the far distance is in the centre of Woking.

Looking north through the Wey gap from Farley Hill towards Whitmoor Barrow

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