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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Sunday, 24 July 2016

Sunday Walk 2 – Remote Surrey heaths and woods

Extra Walk 160 – Farnham to Blackwater
Length: 21 km (13 miles), with shorter options. Toughness: 5/10

10:07 Alton & Basingstoke train from Waterloo (Clapham Jct 10:15, Wimbledon 10:22, etc), arriving Farnham at 11:13. The train divides at Woking and you need to be in the portion for Alton. Buy a day return to Farnham.

As none of the possible end stations are on the Farnham line you'll need to buy an extra ticket on the way back. If you complete the full walk to Blackwater and return via Guildford, buy a single to Ash (a Farnham ticket is valid via Ash & Guildford). If you return from Farnborough or Fleet, buy a single to Brookwood.

Trains go from Blackwater at 36 (or 39) minutes past the hour to Guildford, where you change for a fast service to Waterloo.

This longish walk has mostly been posted in a shorter version finishing at Fleet, but this is a good time of year to try the full walk to Blackwater. After an easy start across Farnham Park you have to cope with a more challenging section across “remote MOD land [with] careful navigation needed”. Just over halfway through the full walk, the recommended lunch pub is the Foresters at Church Crookham; you won't arrive much before 2pm but it's possible to detour to another pub in Ewshot if you want to stop earlier.

After lunch you go through woodland to Fleet Pond, followed by another section across MOD land and past Hawley Lake. The area around Blackwater station isn't blessed with any appealing tea places so you've got a good excuse for a mid-afternoon break at the Crown and Cushion. From this pub you've got just over an hour to go so time your departure carefully for the hourly trains.

You'll need to print the walk directions from the Extra Walk 160 page. There are various options if you want to shorten the walk and/or finish at an alternative station.

NB. As far as I can see the GPS directions on the site only take you as far as Fleet, so I'm sure the webmaster would appreciate it if someone submitted a track for the final sections.


Mike said...

I hope to be on this walk but owing to another commitment I'm not sure if I'll make the train. If necessary I'll catch the next one and put my running shoes on! To echo Sean - the GPS should be reliable up to Fleet BUT please follow the directions (not the GPS) after the trig point on Beacon Hill, as there are some very steep slopes in this area! With any luck there may be village cricket at the Crown and Cushion.

Mike (walk author) said...

Sorry, me again! I may be able to catch up more easily by starting from Aldershot. The routes converge just before Caesar's Camp (which is a nice spot for a break) so if I haven't made contact by then would someone mind giving me a quick call on 017583216430 so I know where you are? Cheers.

Fi said...

am planning on doing the walk so will be happy to call if needed.

Petrichorette said...

Hey, I want to do this hike tomorrow, I know there are no leaders o this hike, but it's my first week in London, though, so it would be great to know how to recognize one of you.

Sean said...

Petrichorette: if you haven't already done so, click the 'New Members' button at the top of this page. People always hang around on the platform for a few minutes before setting off on the walk, so if you hold a copy of the instructions and look around you, you're bound to make contact. Recent Sunday walks have attracted 6-12 people so it probably won't be a big group. Hope you enjoy it!

[There might be some confusion if two or three other walking groups have decided to set off from Farnham station at this time. But then at least you'll have a choice of walks!]

Thomas G said...

n=5 walkers on this in w=overcast-and-humid weather, one of which had set off from Fleet station and reverse-walked part of the afternoon route to meet us at the lunch pub. Mixed bag this: tarmac heavy suburban start, interrupted by a nice stretch through Farnham Park. The walk comes alive upon entering the sandy hills and heathland up to Caesar's Camp, with fine views from there and for a stretch along the ridge. To lunch the route meanders through woods, along levadas (water channels) and car wide sandy tracks, quite enchanting this (apart from some road noise at times).
The Forester is a well-run, pretty pub with tasty food and a nice garden. Just a shame that they automatically add a service charge, even if you order at the bar! (they took it off w/o much ado, though).
I have to admit that I didn't like the next bit, to the Crown and Cushion: plenty of road crossings and noise, and past the M3 a stretch that - according to the walk author - was supposedly Open Access, but the OS map and the padlocked field gates suggest it isn't (i.e.: we were trespassing).
We stopped at the Crown & Cushion for refreshments and then strode on through more woods and along a few lakes w/o further trouble. All in all some very good elements but also an overall impression of crowded suburbia.
Some suggested changes to the text were relayed to the walk author.

p.s.: the walk post didn't mention that one can return from Blackwater to Paddington (via Reading), shaving off up to an hour for any West Londoner (earlier train with faster connnection to station closer to home). I only realised it when sitting down at the Crown & Cushion, and - yes, you guessed it - those few minutes spent there meant I missed the next Reading train...