Some people like to walk and walk and walk .... We have heard the comment "the longer the better". One of the feedback items from last year was "could we have more longer walks ...." Well, this year the Farnham Walking Festival is offering just that. With three walks of ten miles or more, and three more between seven and ten, we hope you are satisfied.
WHAT DO I HEAR? You don't like long walks? Well, we have plenty of short ones too for those interested in nature, vistory or merely taking a gentle ramble. More posts will consider all those soon - watch this space!
So, in reverse order, here are our top three!
At ten miles, we are planning a visit to "Farnham's Mountain". On Monday 20 May, we will be tracking from the Council Offices, down to Moor Park and out along the North Downs Way. At Crooksbury, we take a diversion, up and over Crooksbury Hill. The climb is brutal, but mercifully short. Don't worry if you don't like hills, the ascent is only 50m and we will wait and have a long coffee break on the top while everyone gets their breath back. The view from the top is impressive! After that, we will enjoy a gentle walk to Tilford for lunch. The afternoon return is along Sheephatch Lane and through Moor Park back to the town. and is a gently undulating path with no major climbs at all. If the weather is kind, we will have a lovely day's hike. If it's nasty, it will be an exploration!
Coming in at number two is a walk along the St Swthun's Way from Alton. This clocks eleven miles and is being led by Nick Baxter from the Farnham Ramblers on 21 May. A lovely walk, undulating without any major hills. We will leave Alton past the Treloar School and quickly arrive at Holybourne. A pleasant walk across some fields takes us to the village of Upper Froyle and Froyle Park. After passing Pax Hill (the former home of Lord Baden-Powell) We arrive at Bentley with it's pleasant flint church and ancient yew trees. We pick up a little height and climb towards Dippenhall, where we descend towards Farnham. The route finishes along Old Park Lane and past the UCA. This is a wonderful excursion , one that the author enjoys on a regular basis.
And the longest walk on the Festival? On Saturday 1 June we head from Farnham to the village of Chilworth the 'Chapels and Chalk' exploration of the North Downs Way. At 14 miles, this is a full day's walk for the keener long distance walker. The walk leaders are Peter Morris and Christine Howard from the North Downs Way and Surrey Hills Society.
Leaving Farnham towards The Sands, we will quickly enjoy the peace and quiet of the Surrey countryside. At The Sands, there is a short road walk, but it is a very minor road and we seldom see much traffic. Past the Farnham Golf Course (first of two on this walk) we swiftly climb up to Puttenham Common and down again into the hamlet of Puttenham. The long trek to the 10th tee on the Puttenham Golf Course takes us to Compton and Watt's Gallery, where a lunch break allows time to visit the amazing art-deco Watt's Chapel.
A climb up and over the hill and we will be at the River Wey, which we cross by St Catherine's Hill (another chapel on the top, if somewhat ruined). From there we are on the home leg. St Martha's Hill is the last high point with its chapel on the top being the last chapel. A quick swing round Newland's Corner and the gunpowder works and we're at Chilworth for a welcome congratulatory drink in the Percy Arms. It's OK, 14 miles and you've done the big one. You can rest your tired legs tomorrow !!!