The Greensand Way, Winkworth(a NT Arboretum), a canal, and historic Godalming.
||17.9km (11.1 miles), 5 hours. For the whole outing, including trains, meals and a church visit, allow 8 hours.
||6 out 10.
||Explorers 145, OL33 (was 133) & OL34 (was 134), or Landranger 186. Milford, map reference SU 955 414, is in Surrey, 9km south of Guildford.
This is a relatively strenuous walk, but it is rewarding and full of interest - the Greensand Way, a pretty village pub, a NT Arboretum (thats free to walk through), a tea room by a canal, and historic Godalming's pubs to end.
From Milford Station, you come to the lakes and the magnificent timber-framed Enton Mill – one of the many houses on this walk that have seventeenth or eighteenth-century galleting – black pebbles lining the mortar of the walls, a method much used in those days in Kent and the south. Near a pub and church in Hambledon, you join the Greensand Way, a sandy bridleway through The Hurtwood, offering hazelnuts and blackberries in season.
Lunch is at the White Horse pub in Hascombe, a village with a remarkable church covered in wall decoration, so that it looks almost Moorish.
In the afternoon, the walk goes on legitimate public rights of way that give free access to the National Trust's Winkworth Arboretum and its lakes – the azaleas and bluebells make it particularly lovely to visit in springtime. NT chuggers (staff) sometimes stop people on the public footpath to ask if they are members (as they get per-visitor funding). But no worries, be firm, just say you're using the public footpath.
You leave along the fringes of its woods to a horse training course and the rich outskirts of Godalming, with its many imposing buildings.s
The final approach to the town is along the National Trust's River Wey and Godalming Navigation’s path along the canal, to the Church of St Peter and St Paul and the ancient High Street.
Bits of it can be muddy in wet weather.
You could call for a taxi from the Merry Harriers pub in Hambledon. Arriva bus 42/44 runs about once an hour (not Sundays) from Hascombe to Godalming, passing Winkworth Arboretum.
If you have a map, you can save about 1km near the end of the walk by heading for Farncombe Station rather than Godalming; it is about 750m from the Farncombe Boat House.
There is a short map-only out-and-back detour to the summit of Hydon's Ball (a hill, and a HUMP) in the morning. On the way up you pass a memorial to 2 brothers killed in WW1. A bequest in their name was used to purchase this area for the NT. The summit itself was purchased for the NT in memory of Octavia Hill [wikipedia], a 19thC social reformer, one of the NT's 3 co-founders. There's a memorial seat, and a clearing with a nice view. Hydon's Ball may have been named after a Naval Semephore Station (dropping of the ball is a time signal). The area is also noted for its range of tree species, and non-native shrubs. The detour adds about 1 miles with 70 of ascent. There are no directions, but the route is in the GPS file. Highly recommended. There is a free NT car park north of the summit on Salt Lane.
This is another out-and-back detour to hill summit (and HUMP), which starts by the lunch time pub in Hascombe. The way up is pleasent. No viewpoint at the summit (trees), but there are remains of an iron age fort. Map only, but the route is in the GPS file. Adds about 1.2 miles, with 80m of ascent.
The timber-framed Enton Mill was built in 1757.
St Peter's Church, Hascombe, was rebuilt in 1863, following the old Saxon design, but slightly larger and incorporating older features such as the seventeenth-century font. At the same time, Canon Musgrave had almost every inch of wall space decorated 'to make us aware of God's glory shining through the physical world'. Above the altar is an ornate dome, formed from the decorated undersides of the roof's supporting timbers, and allowing a view through to the hallelujahs painted on the roof. John Betjeman called it 'a Tractarian work of art'. (The white button for the lights is just through the curtains, up on the left.)
The Old Cider House, Catteshall, was previously the Ram Cider House pub (which took its name from the Ram gravity pump used for raising water). The house is based on a wattle-and-daub sixteenth-century building and the pub used to sell 35 different types of cider.
Godalming is thought to mean 'field (-ing) of Godhelm' (the putative first Saxon to claim the land). It was a coaching town between London and Portsmouth, and a centre of trade in wool, stone-quarrying, timber, leather, paper, corn and brewing. The High Street has many half-timbered and projecting buildings.
||Take the train nearest to 9.40am from Waterloo Station to Milford. Buy a day return to Milford (Surrey). Journey time 50 minutes. There are two trains an hour back from Godalming (hourly on Sundays), with a similar journey time.
An earlier lunch is possible at the Merry Harriers pub (tel 01428 682 883) near Hambledon, which serves lunch midday to 2pm daily. Groups of more than 10 should book.
The suggested lunchtime stop is the White Horse pub (tel 01483 208 258) in Hascombe, which serves good food from midday to 2.20pm daily (till 2.30pm at weekends). Groups of more than 10 people should phone to book, and phoning ahead on Sunday is essential. Nice beer garden.
For a non-pub lunch, the cafe by the entrance to Winkworth Arboretum serves a limited selection of hot dishes and a range of sandwiches
The suggested tea place is Hector's On the Wey café (tel 01483 418 769) at the Farncombe Boat House, Catteshall Lock, just outside Godalming. This serves strong tea and a good selection of cakes. Groups of more than 15 should phone ahead. This is open until 5pm or 6pm Wednesday to Sunday during the summer and at weekends in the winter. Allow 30 minutes to reach Godalming station.
If the Farncombe Boat House café is closed, the suggested tea stop in the centre of Godalming is Cafe Mila (tel 01483 808569) in Angel Court, just off the High Street. The ground floor is the family area and upstairs is reserved for adults. Other tea options in Godalming include the usual suspects, such as Caffè Nero at 69 High Street and Costa Coffee at 74 High Street.
Another good tea stop is Changing Perceptions Community Cafe and Workshop (tel 01483 420436) at 133A High Street. Open until 5pm Monday to Friday, to 4.30pm Saturday, closed Sundays. This community project offers training and employment opportunities for those with disabilities. Its cakes in the cafe section are reported to be delicious.
Earlier in the walk, if you take an early lunch at the Merry Harriers pub, the cafe in Winkworth Arboretum could act as an early tea stop for those "three stopping" on this walk.
Godalming at the end has many pubs.
No major changes. Additional tea stop added May 2018. Minor route change after Winkworth Arboretum June 2018.