With gentle paths and scenic views across ponds and the Basingstoke Canal, Brookwood Country Park is a delightful place for a wheelchair walk or picnic. The land was part of the grounds of Brookwood Hospital: while much of the site was developed for housing after the hospital’s closure, this green and pleasant area between Knaphill village and the Basingstoke Canal was skilfully converted by Woking Borough Council into a lovely mixture of woodland and meadowland, with four picturesque ponds.
Woking Borough Council has developed a detailed landscape management plan which benefits a wide variety of flora and fauna, as well as making the Park very picturesque, diverse and interesting for its human visitors. And they’ve made it an ideal destination for wheelchair walks!
There are many mature trees, particularly alongside the canal and at the western end of the site, while new trees have been planted strategically for decorative effect. Pleasant views across the Park have been preserved and even created. Much of the site is “long grass” in which wildflowers and seed heads are allowed to develop; these are cut just twice a year (June and end-September). Areas of meadowland have been seeded with colourful wildflower species.
The walks described below use paths constructed within the Park for access by the disabled. The hard surface on the Basingstoke Canal towpath was provided as part of the creation of Woking’s extensive cycleway network.
The Park has many other maintained paths, formed by regular mowing of strips across grass and meadowland; some of these green paths may also be suitable for wheelchairs.
Click HERE to view the map.
We’ve walked this circuit in both directions. I’m describing it in the anti-clockwise direction because it has only a gentle incline to the highest point; on the clockwise circuit there is a shorter and steeper uphill stretch.
From the car park, ignore the obvious entrance path at point A (see map) and take the footpath alongside the access road (towards the houses) to point F. Turn left onto the footpath with a crushed stone surface.
The path immediately passes through a “wildflower meadow” area. It includes an assortment of very colourful summer flowers, obviously sown as part of landscape management. The path winds through the centre of the Park, providing very pleasant views over ponds, trees and grassland.
The path ascends gently, before a steeper descent. You reach a T junction (point E on the map).
Turn left. The path passes between two ponds. The view over the pond to your right is especially scenic.
You reach a junction marked by “cycle trail” signs (point C on the map), with the canal visible through the trees beyond. The direct route to the canal towpath is to the left, but this involves a descent then an ascent. To avoid this, take the right-hand path, which joins the canal path a little further along.
Here you can turn right alongside the canal for a very pleasant walk to the Brookwood road bridge at point D on the map, then return to this point, a round trip of about 900m. Alternatively, for the short walk, turn left along the canalside path.
The woodland on the opposite side of the canal is part of Brookwood Lye, an area of protected common land.
Follow the canal path and you will see a wooden mooring deck. Continue along the canal path for another 50m and take the hard surfaced path (marked by a “cycle route sign”) which leaves the canal path to your left.
Follow this path back to the car park.
Note: Woking Borough Council plans to construct an additional wheelchair-accessible path between points E and G on the map. This will replace the existing informal path, which is not suitable for disabled visitors.
Knaphill, Woking. The access road is in Redding Way, a short distance from the roundabout junction with Hermitage Road (A324).
Click HERE to view location on Streetmap.
The Park can be reached by bus routes 34 and 35 (operated by Arriva): alight in Lower Guildford Road (at the Northwood Avenue stop) and go south to the roundabout junction with Redding Way (which is on your right). Cross Redding Way: a footpath links to the car park at the Park entrance.
Click HERE for my map of Brookwood Country Park showing accessible paths.
Access to the public car park serving Brookwood Country Park is via an access road from Redding Way (see Streetmap link above). The car park (together with the Pavilion and football pitches) are owned and operated by Woking Borough Council. A small overflow car park (north of the main car park) is opened during events such as football matches. I advise you to avoid this because, during one visit, we noticed the barrier to this area was open when we arrived, but had been locked shut when we left.
Both the car park and use of Brookwood Country Park are free of charge.
Updated 29 October 2011 (circular route reversed)
Please leave a comment below if you find these pages useful.
To report errors or make suggestions please use the contact form by clicking HERE.