Life of Ley Hunting
Ferry Lane ley
The riverside town of Chertsey is a very ancient settlement, its main claim to fame being the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter founded there in 666. It was twice raided by the Danes, but was refounded by monks from Abingdon and became a very powerful monastic centre, its monks being renowned as artist-craftsmen. The town grew round the Abbey from about the end of the ninth century, and by 1085 the Domesday Book records that it owned twenty eight manors and other lands. In 1300 the parish church was built, first dedicated to All Saints but at the dissolution in 1537 it took on the abbey's dedication to St.Peter, which it still retains.
Almost nothing remains of the Abbey today - even in the time of Stukeley so little was left that he says of those who demolished it that they had "so inveterate a rage against even the least appearance of it, as if they meant to defeat even the inherent sanctity of the ground". However, what does remain in Chertsey is another remarkable aligned track, called Ferry Lane. To walk it, begin at Guildford Street, which is also in line with the ley for part of its length. Walk towards the town centre and you will come to St. Peters Church opposite at the junction. The ley does not pass through the church, but just beside it, along the line of a public footpath called "Church Path".
The path diverges from the ley quite soon to pass round other buildings, but the first stretch is in alignment with it. Follow it and it eventually comes out at Abbey Green, where a rather confusing signpost shows public footpaths in all directions. Take a left turn to find Colonel's Lane, then walk down this till you come to a bridge across the Abbey River, a very pleasant little stream. Having crossed this, a newer bridge will be seen ahead - this time over the motorway - before reaching Ferry Lane. This is another very spectacular case of a long straight track aligned with a ley - to your left is the Laleham Golf Club and to your right the embankments of the waterworks. The path only bends when it is forced to, for the river blocks its way, and you may be glad of the "Chertsey Coronation Seat" placed here in 1902. The view across the river here is very pleasant.
There is no way of following the ley from here, although the public footpath continues across the golf course, through Mixnams Lane caravan park to Staines Lane opposite the entrance to Thorpe Park. The ley which you will have been following goes through Laleham Church, across the river and along Ferry Lane, along Church Path beside the church, either along or just parallel with Guildford street, and further south coincides with a stretch of the main road. It continues from here to pass through Worplesdon Church, which is on another ley investigated by the group.
SKYWAYS AND LANDMARKS
"Skyways and Landmarks" can be said to be the booklet that sparked off the post-war Earth Mysteries movement. Written by Tony Wedd and published by the Star Fellowship, it not only brought Alfred Watkins and leys before the rising generation, but also linked leys with Aime Michel's "orthotenies" of UFO alignments, so bringing in the UFO connection and also, by implication, the idea of leys as energy lines.
Nevertheless, many holes have been picked in it by later ley hunters. Orthoteny foundered some years after its discovery when no further orthotenic "flaps" occured, and even its discoverer lost interest in it. Even if it had not done so, the few sightings in "Skyways and Landmarks" did not constitute orthotenies. The leys in the booklet are almost entirely constituted of pine clumps without any prehistoric monuments, and even the accuracy has been brought into question. So it fell to our group, with Philip Heselton of the Northern Earth Mysteries Group, to investigate the booklet and find exactly what of value, if anything, was in it.
So Philip, Paul Baines and I spent a pleasant weekend among the Scots pines of Kent, visited during the weekend by Michael de Styrcea. This fieldwork was neccessary as clumps are not usually marked on Ordnance Survey Maps, either the 1:50,000 scale or the 1:25,000. The first job, therefore, was to record grid references for all the clumps mentioned by Tony Wedd in "Skyways and Landmarks' and in an article by him in "The Ley Hunter" which appeared during Paul Screeton's editorship.
A few of the clumps could not be found, but most were there, many being quite spectacular and prominent. The grid references provided a firm database for an evaluation of the booklet. We also visited some other places, including a cruciform cave mentioned by Tony.
The alignments in "Skyways and Landmarks" were in two overlapping groups - one of parallel lines and the other being a radiating star pattern centred on Chiddingstone. The latter was concentrated on as its basis was apparently a messsage from extraterrestrials which stated that there was a line 6 degrees north of north-east, with five other equally spaced lines forming a "star" or ley centre based on Chiddingstone. On these, it was said, centres of healing would be found. Accordingly, a transparent sheet was prepared with the 30 degree spaced lines on it, and this was laid over the map.
Tony seemed to contradict himself as to the centre of the system, at one point saying visual alignments could be seen aligning on Chiddingstone Castle, and in another place saying that a spiral tree near his home was the centre (we tried to find this tree but could not - we believe it no longer exists). The grid references for the Mark Beech, Wilderness Farm and Chested clumps, however, clearly show the castle to be the centre, so the star was laid over this. A seemingly above average number of "minor points" - cross roads, coincident tracks etc.- were found on the lines, but no "Classic" ley points except a church in Tunbridge Wells and the Chiding Stone in Chiddingstone. But a number of springs were on or near the lines, interesting in view of the healing aspect. As Tony Wedd said, one went very near the Tunbridge Wells Spa. Burrswood was missed, however, but one went through a spring nearby which may be connected.
Another interesting point was the very striking clump near the Sevenoaks bypass mentioned by Tony. He said it might be on one of the lines but it was not - however, when a line was drawn from it to Chiddingstone Castle, it passed through another clump at the Rock, Chiddingstone Hoath. This was mentjoned by Tony, but he said it was not on any of the lines! So it seems there is something here, even if Tony's plotting was not as accurate as it might have been. This, in fact, tends to confirm the possibility of an extraterrestrial source - in other words, it was not something simply engineered by Tony. We are hoping that a booklet "Skyways and Landmarks Revisited" will be published in the near future giving full details of the research. (This was published and is still available from Jimmy Goddard).
The Hurt Wood Track
(previously published in Quicksilver Messenger)
The Hurt Wood Track, straight and over two miles long, sticks out like a sore thumb to any ley hunter looking at the Dorking O.S. map. Philip Heselton found it and walked it before me, and a member of the Surrey Earth Mysteries Group found it quite independently. It is the best example found to date of an aligned track found in Surrey.
It begins miles from anywhere in Winterfold Forest, and runs dead straight to an equally inaccessible cross-tracks not far from Holmbury St. Mary. About halfway along its length it is broken by a farm around which walkers must skirt. Thus there are four indications that this might be an ancient ley track; firstly, it is not a modern track from A to B; secondly, the continuation of the track in the same alignment past the farm suggests that it is older than the farm; thirdly, the nature of the track varies considerably along its length (unlikely if it was of recent origin); and fourthly, it runs straight up some quite steep hills and becomes quite difficult to travel along in these places. In addition to this, the track seems to be a good ley. As well as at least one Scots pine clump on the track itself and numerous cross-tracks, the alignment pases through a junction/crosstracks in Holmbury St Mary, Leylands Farm near Abinger Bottom, Leigh church (15th Century and very interesting), a church south of South Nutfield, a fort south of Westerham and several minor points. On contacting the Hurt Wood Control Committee, I was informed that the track was "Roman, as far as we know". On enquiring as to the course of this Roman Road, however, they did not know. There is a Roman Road skirting Hurt Wood from another direction, but it is thought likely that the track is just assumed to be Roman because it is ancient and straight. It is, however) interesting evidence that the track is thought to be ancient.
I met the track at the point where it crosses Houndhouse Road. To the west the track climbed steeply to a hilltop where there was a clump of Scots pine. Here the path was stony and difficult to walk. Eastwards, however, the character of the path changed completely. It became wide, straight and well-made. This continued for some distance, crossing another track and eventually coming to Lawbrook Lane.
Here it abruptly changed once more, and plunged steeply downwards as a very narrow track until it met another. This latter track ran along the bottom of the valley. The track now became almost lost in encroaching vegetation. At this point there was an extremely striking view of a beautiful Scots pine clump directly through which the track runs. Here that special feeling of walking a ley was felt.
Crossing another forest track, it changed again becoming wide and straight and running across heathland. After crossing yet another track, it became narrow, descending steeply until it met the barbed wire fence of Gasson Farm. I had to leave the straight track here and take a north-easterly one to the Ewhurst-Peaslake road. I rejoined the last stretch of the track from Radnor Road and from here to its end in a junction of tracks near Holmbury St Mary it ran straight and wide all the way through woods and flowering heather.
There is an interesting anecdote regarding the track told to me recently by Philip Heselton. When walking the track in May 1966 he met the Hurt Wood Ranger (there is only one). After a short conversation, the ranger pointed to the ridge and exclaimed "What's that?". On the ridge was a rather strange object, round and standing on some kind of legs. The Ranger then drove off to investigate, and Philip, not particularly interested in UFOs at the time, simply carried on down the track and did not know the outcome of the incident. Although the same ranger is doing the job, he could not remember the incident when I contacted him, but he did mention that 1966 was the year when a puma had been sighted several times in Hurt Wood. On enquiring of Chris Hall, currently researching the puma, I was informed that 1966 was indeed the peak year for the puma and Hurt Wood was the centre of activity. Only one account linked it to a UFO, however, and that was very tentative. So the mystery of the object of the ridge must unfortunatley remain a mystery.
From Mike Collier,
Thank you for the latest copy of Touchstone. A ley that might interest you comes out of the sea here and disappears into Surrey beyond Lingf ield Church. On the way it goes through four churches in Brighton, Norman to Modern, and an ecclesiastical folly. Preston is the Norman one. Then it goes past Ditchling church but through the pond and the local "Holy Hill", Lodge Hill. Then a private chapel on Ditchling Common, just misses Wivelsf ield church, a newish church in Haywards Heath, misses Lingf ield church but goes through the Tudor house next door. Then another private chapel, two churches in West Hoathly and Lingfield Church. Try taking it from there if you are interested.
A LOCAL CLUMP
A beautiful little Scots pine clump visible from the Samaritan Centre car park in Addlestone is found to align with both Ottershaw and Weybridge churches, and another further East.
From Richard Colborne
I was particularly interested in your article on Fox Hill and Carter's Lane, Old Woking. I am not sure if you're aware of this, but - if I may misquote something you wrote - there are not two, but three leys here, very close to each other. (Call it four if you count another, roughly at right angles to the others). In the early 70's I spent a great deal of time researching something I shall call 1The Kings' Ride'. Near the point where your 1Fox Hill1 line meets the Old Woking Road, there is a hill called Roundhill, or Monument Hill, (actually it1s a semi-circular promontory) from which go two lines which have some unusual connotations. I had for years laboured under a misapprehension that Monument Road was named after an Indian shrine in the woods, (the odd things one believes!) until one day I suddenly realised that it aligned on Monument Hill. (I had recently come to understand the 'ley' hypothesis.) Investigation showed, that from the tower, (site of) on Monument Hill, the line along Monument Road went to Windsor Castle, but apart from a very vaguely aligned road beyond Windsor, two tumuli close to the line at Maybury (one is very close and tumuli are somewhat rare around Woking, I think you will agree) and the fact that where Monument Road/Maybury Hill meets Old Woking Road, the line can be seen as a faint depression and a gap in the trees, going towards the hilltop, there was no real evidence that this was a ley. In fact it won't stand by itself.
However, imagine my surprise when I found that by extending the alignment of the road north-east from the tower site, it went, (eventually) to Buckingham Palace, St James's Palace and on towards the Roman city. That though, is not nearly the end of the Palace/Royal/Ecclesiastical connections.
The above mentioned road from the tower site does not exactly follow this 'ley', but goes directly to Pyrford Court. (It would appear to be a modern road). The alignment passes Pyrford Court (connections with nobility?) a few yards to the north, after passing over Foxhill, (N.B. Fox hill indicates a lookout, or sighting point,, not a place where foxes live! Another Foxhill lies on, or close to the Windsor line). It then passes through a locality called Ridgway, (no 'e') past Lees Farm and along a stretch of aligned track to a point near the canal, where it is joined by a lane called Dodds Lane. It then passes West Hall, (nobility?) and a spurious church. It passes St George's Hill Fort well to the north (doesn't your line go right through it, as it appears on the the old 1" to the mile map?) and on to East Molesey, where it scores a direct his on St Mary's (pre-Ref.) church.
The line then crosses the Thames via the bridge and immediately past Hampton Court Palace. It re-crosses the Thames, well to the north of the modern Kingston Bridge, but not so many yards north of King1s Passage (which leads to the river) and a short stretch of road called King1s Road. (It passes rather to the north of that part of Kingston where English kings were once crowned). It is then (very?) close to Latchmere House as it enters Richmond Park. (Where I can find no trace of it).
Then it again crosses the Thames via a bridge (Putney - formerly a ford) and past Fulham (Bishop's) Palace. Its mean course is followed by the King's Road, Chelsea to Buckingham Palace (evolved site?) and on to St James's Palace.
On the one line we have no less than four palaces (one more - Windsor - on the other) and at least four (inc. Hoe Place) houses connected with nobility. (Incidentally, your line passes through the hospital at Pyrford, which I believe was previously Pyrford Place, from which an avenue is supposed to have led straight to Hampton Court, though I wonder if this really identifies with Pyrford Court).
If that were not enough in itself, Bob Skinner has dug up a lot of archive evidence on this singular alignment. King James I was know to travel from Whitehall to Hoe Place; where he was often entertained by Sir Edward Zouch. Hoe Place was built when Woking Palace fell into disuse (or earlier? - another palace? Yes, it lies on the site now marked only as 'moat, just to the south of Carters Lane. (As all lanes were used by carters, I wonder what that really means.)The King's Road, Chelsea was known to be a royal road (not open to the public) in the time of King Henry VIII. Katherine Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, lived at Woking Palace. Wolsey was living at Woking Palace when he received the news that he was to be made Cardinal. He later had Hampton Court built, but I think there was already a house on that site.
I am afraid I cannot follow your line further to the south west, but it seems to be within the southern boundary (Hog's Back) of Windsor Great Park and it would appear that this is a very significant area for a certain type of alignment. (Hoe Place locality being particularly so).
Have you noticed the Worplesdon Church - Fox Corner track/boundary alignment, towards Dawney's Hill? Short, but clear.
The Wisley church path
The church path at Wisley is very short, but it is nevertheless very interesting for the ley hunter as it is part of a very good ley which our group has visited on several occasions. Its authenticity is emphasised by the fact that here is also one of the best visual alignments in Surrey.
The path runs from a gate to the west end of the church, just touching the end of the porch as it goes. This line passes through the mysterious, pitted brown stone in the porch of which no-one (according to the church guide) knows the origin. Standing over the stone and looking towards the gate (past the lone Scots pine there) one can see, on the horizon, the small spire of St. Mary's, Bvfleet. The west end of Wisley church, the stone; the path and St. Mary's are all in perfect visual alignment.
The Wisley church guide mentions that there was a medieval track running from Byfleet through Wisley to St. Nicholas, Pyrford. It could have followed this ley as far as Wisley, but Pyrford church is a little off it. The church path may be all that is left of this track.
Byfleet church, the first point on the ley, is basically thirteenth century and has a strong feeling of ley energy - in fact I used it as a 'lunchtime laboratory' when I worked near there, and obtained some interesting results. Wisley church, the next point, in addition to having the things mentioned, is interesting as being an almost completely Norman church. The line continues through Newark Priory, a cross-roads in Send and a possible pine clump a little further on. It crosses Stag Hill, Guildiord west of the Cathedral, finally reaching the churches of Shackleford and Peper Harow.
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