Downs Trail Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we need this Trail?

The Club’s 2015 development plan set the goal to ‘transform Woodcote Park into a true, family-friendly country club’ and it is becoming a destination which can be enjoyed by all the Club’s members and their families and guests. One of Woodcote Park’s delights is its location, and this new footpath will enable members to make the most of that, whether for a short walk within the estate or a longer one beyond.

 

How do I provide feedback?

This route is only open on a trial basis and the consultation period ends on 31 August 2021. We would very much appreciate your feedback by email to communications@royalautomobileclub.co.uk

 

How will it be decided whether to keep the Trail open?

In September, the Downs Trail Working Group will evaluate the trial and make a recommendation to the Woodcote Park Committee based upon:

  • the severity of any health and safety incidents, the likelihood of a reoccurrence and whether the identified risk(s) can be mitigated
  • the impact of any incidents which have disrupted play, the likelihood of reoccurrence and whether that likelihood can be reduced through mitigating measures
  • the level of use of the Trail
  • the level of satisfaction expressed by Trail users.

 

Will the Trail ever be extended?

If the trial of this initial section is positive, the Trail will be extended around the perimeter of the Coronation Course to the top of the Captain’s Drive, providing a two-mile walking circuit within the estate. Much of this extended route would follow existing footpaths and the Captain’s Drive.

 

When is the Trail open?

Between 7.00am and 10.00pm every day except the day of the Club’s golf championship, Saturday 26 June 2021.

 

Where does the Trail start?

At the southern end of the woodland between the clubhouse and the Walled Garden.

 

How long is the Trail?

Approximately 800m (½ mile). There is a gate at the end which will enable you to leave the estate and join a bridleway. From there you can walk for miles across the Downs and to Walton-on-the-Hill and Headley if you wish to.

 

Which holes does the Trail affect?

The Trail runs alongside parts of the 13th and 14th holes of the Coronation Course.

 

Is it safe?

The route has been independently health and safety risk assessed and also reviewed by course architect Tom Mackenzie, with the risk of an incident assessed as low. Safety information for walkers and golfers is provided on this website, on leaflets and on information boards along the route. It is very important that walkers and golfers familiarise themselves with the rules and follow them.

 

Are there any rules for walkers?

Yes, please look at this page of the website.

 

Are there any rules for golfers?

Yes, please look at this page of the website.

 

Is there any insurance in place?

Yes, the Club is insured and information about the insurance for golfers can be seen here.

 

What do I do if I see something I think is dangerous?

Any health and safety incidents must be reported to a member of staff as soon as possible, as normal.

 

How can a smooth flow of golf be ensured?

We will be monitoring the effect on golf, including any delays, and taking that into account in the evaluation. If it becomes a significant issue we may also take measures during the trial period.

 

Are dogs allowed?

Not for now, as they may disrupt the golf. Consideration may be given to allowing dogs on the Trail at a later stage.

 

Are bikes allowed?

The path is not suitable for bikes. Members should use the Captain’s Drive or leave the estate by the main entrance and take the road to Langley Vale.

 

Is picnicking allowed?

Not along the Trail, as it would disrupt the golf. There are other places where picnicking is allowed, including the woodland, Cedar Lawn and lakeside area.

 

Is the Trail suitable for buggies or wheelchairs?

The Trail is not suitable for wheelchairs or buggies due to the nature of the surface and landscape.

 

Is there any information about longer walks available?

Yes, a number of walking routes can be downloaded from this page and you can read about Centenary Wood here.

 

How will you stop non-members using the new gate?

The gate will be locked at night and security and golf staff will monitor use of the Trail. Random security checks will be made to ensure that walkers are club members or guests. If members see anything suspicious, they should report it to a member of staff. However, particularly now that the golf courses are back in use for golf and not available for walkers, we do not anticipate non-members trying to use the Trail.

 

Have alternative routes been considered?

Yes, around both the golf courses. A route about the perimeter of the Coronation Course (of which this is the first section) has been assessed as the most practical.

 

Are members being provided with advice about not walking near horses?

There will be some advice on a board by the exit, where the Trail joins the bridleway.