Riverside Nature Reserve
- Free parking (1.9m height restriction)
- Disabled parking bays
- Benches and picnic tables
- Green Flag Award
- Interesting boardwalks
- Meadows beside the River Wey
- Beautiful lake
- 3km circular walk with options to extend along the river
Where you’ll find it…
N.B. We’ve given the nearest postcode, but recommend using the links to look up the exact location. The centre of a postcode may be up to half a mile from your destination.
What you’ll find there…
Green Flag Award-winning meadows close to Guildford, in walking distance of Guildford Spectrum and Stoke Park. Right beside the River Wey, with possibilities for longer walks. At the far end you’ll find pretty Stoke Lock, where you can cross a footbridge to pickup the towpath that’ll take you all the way to Dapdune Wharf and into Guildford.
Don’t be put off by the pylon and the narrow entrance at the Bowers Lane car park, it’s well worth exploring further. There’s an enormous lake, picnic tables and beautifully carved benches. There are boardwalk routes to explore, with an observation hide tucked away in the reeds. And the River Wey has endless interest. Along this stretch you’ll find ancient, gnarled willow trees, in need of support to keep them upright. The branches of these trees were once harvested (pollarded) for ‘powder wood’, and sent to the gunpower mills at nearby Chilworth in the First World war, over a 100 years ago!
Plenty of wildlife makes its home here too, including the cutest of all mammals, the Harvest Mouse. The only British mammal with a prehensile tail, meaning it can grasp plant stems as it moves through long vegetation.
NOTE: Dog owners may find it useful to know that Riverside is sometimes grazed.
A nice extension to a walk at Riverside Nature Reserve, is a wander along the River Wey Navigation westward from Stoke Lock towards Guildford. You have to cross the very busy A320, but there’s a safe crossing point. On this route, you walk beside land called Parsonage Watermeadows. There are three gates into the meadows, but there are no signs or footpaths and it’s very wet. However, a there-and-back walk using the towpath is still very pleasant.