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GODALMING WALK - Posted By paulswalks (paulswalks) on 15th Jul 09 at 1:38pm
A great start for a long summers day walk - a gentle wander up Godalming High Street, plenty of chances to stock up on supplies before starting a slow rise up out of the town, giving nice views back over the town.
I had seen Busbridge Lakes marked as a tourist feature on my map so planned my walk to pass along it. However the lakes were fenced off. A great squalor of bird, duck and crow noise was coming from the middle lake, but i was unable to see what all the fuss was about - but it could have been a rookery?
Leaving the lakes I passed through Clock Barn Farm which has lovely views of the countryside looking westward. I headed toward a high-point marked on the map as Hydon's Ball at 179 metres. This would take me through Busbridge Woods and Hydon Heath. On the map their was no viewpoint marked at the high-point, so I wasn't expecting much, but a well trodden path off the main footpath meant it was a popular destination. At the summit were very good views and a big stone seat made a good resting point ( I found some info on Hydon's Ball and the seat here....). Descending the hill I came across another memorial marking a bequeath to the National Trust, allowing them to purchase the land, more info and pictures can be found here, along with similar memorials around Surrey....
On leaving the woods the walk heads toward Court Farm through wheat fields giving classic Surrey countryside views, peace and quiet.
I decided to take a loop around Hambledon, planning to end up back at Court Farm. I headed east to Buss's Common, missed a turning south and ended up at Sweetwater Pond. Turning back on myself I headed for Hambledon Common and the Greensand Way. Having wandered around the common for a bit I finally found the Greensand Way - more by luck as usual - and climbing up to a viewpoint just behind St Dominic School had lunch enjoying the views south over the Common and beyond.
The walk now followed the Greensand Way, west toward Vann Hill up to Hurtwood Copse veering north into Hascombe. I decided to keep to the road through Hascombe passing the natural fresh-water spring fountain with its inscription 'Whosoever will let him take the water of life freely'. I saw a few locals fill up they water bottles here, but didn't myself.
I left the main road taking a lane westward through Langhurst Farm and rejoined the Greensand Way toward the Wintershall Estate.
Just before coming to Wintershall amplified musical choirs could be heard, coming to a field I saw what looked like a Greek Temple in the middle of it. Just as I started to suspected a Pagan celebration of the Summer Solaces was coming to an end, a P.A system blurted out over the choir 'Jesus - this is a call for Jesus...your are needed in the top field, NOW please. Can everyone make their way up to the top field, thank you!' As I made my way across the field a surreal site was unfolding - in the field was a large classical style temple, some sort of small barn or shelter, a nomad style tent, people wandering around in Biblical costume, and a young, long haired, bearded man running past me in sandals. Someone thankfully stopped me and asked if I knew what was going on, he explained it was a full costume rehearsal for the forthcoming open aired production of 'The Life of Christ'... (see here for full info).
Leaving the production I continued north up the Greensand Way until it turns hard right, here I continued north along a bridle-way. Most bridle-ways I have walked along are quite easy going - but this one was best suited to being six foot in the air, away from the mud, flies and overgrown hedges. The path got better as I veered east heading for Eastwater House and Mill Pond, passing fields of sheep and baby lambs (arrhhhh). Here i made a mistake of following the main road north and taking the next left again along a main road. Main roads out here are quite scary after the quite isolation of footpaths. The main reason for doing these sort of walks is to get away from elements of civilization (especially the car!) and being forced to make way for speeding motorists got to me. Looking for a way off the roads I thought I saw a footpath marked on the map through Unsted Wood. I clambered up the steep siding looking for the path, tried to follow the nonexistent path for 30 feet as the siding got steeper and higher. I eventually gave up on this idea and thought i could slide (Bear Grylls style) back down to the main road. Half way down I slipped, accelerating uncontrollably. I planned to land on the road and spring off, unfortunately i miss calculated and landed full force on my right heel - Ouchhh! Where's a passing motorists when you need one? (no I haven't missed the irony here!). Having ruined the walk i hobbled the two miles or so back to Godalming BR Station.
Apart from the end this is a great walk - but next time I'll plan a better route avoiding bridle-ways and main roads.
You can view my route here at Google maps.