Cross Lanes Looking South toward Epsom Road.
Cross Lanes is one of Guildford’s oldest historical landmarks, it is a popular recreational footpath, providing a breath of the country side in the middle of urban Guildford. The steep wooded banks, descended from ancestral hedgerows are pleasing to the eye and provide nesting places for wildlife that is increasingly excluded from the town.
Cross Lanes is an ancient “Green Lane” that originally ran from Stoke next Guildford, across Stoke Park and up on to Browning’s Down. Part of Cross Lanes has survived as a “Green Lane”, running south, between steep banks, from Cranley Road, crossing Epsom Road and finishing at Warren Road, a total of 600m. What is so incredible is that this “Green Lane” has survived in a built up area, no more than 1000m from Holy Trinity Church, in the centre of Guildford.
The earliest reference to Cross Lanes is in 1205, when King John sold the manor of Stoke next Guildford to the Bishop of London. The Bishop did not live in Stoke and the manorial courts which supervised the administration of the manor were held in Warren Farm on Browning’s Down. (Ref: Stoke next Guildford by Lyn Clark ISBN 1 86077 122 X)
Cross Lanes was the main route between Stoke and Warren Farm. It is shown on the Senex map (1729), when it was the only road from Stoke to the Downs, and on Ordinance Survey Maps from 1816 onwards.
To put the date of 1205 in context, Guildford Castle also dates from that period, with work starting on the original Castle Keep in 1140. This makes Cross Lanes one of Guildford’s oldest historical landmarks.
The Waterden Road Conservation Area “Study and Character Appraisal” which is approved as Supplementary Planning Guidance, refers to Cross Lanes. “It is interesting to note that Cross Lanes, which lies just beyond the edge of the Conservation Area, remains as an ancient track way formed perhaps by the villagers of Stoke on their way to their own manorial courts being held at Warren Farm”.