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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.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Saturday Walk - Milford to Haslemere - Third time lucky/unlucky [heather] walk

Length: 18.7km (11.7 miles)
Toughness: 6 out of 10

10.15 train from Waterloo (10.22 Clapham Junction) to Milford, arriving 11.05.

Buy a day return to Haslemere.

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

Following the failure of my last two attempts to produce a heather walk I was all set to move on this week, but then our resident train expert pointed out that this is the ONE weekend when the RMT, in a rare show of consideration for the traveling public, is NOT striking on South Western Railways.

Knowing this, it was a little hard to resist this walk, which crosses acres of glorious heathland. If heather is to be found, here it will be, and it was in full bloom in this time of year in the past. But wisely in view of my record to date, I offer no guarantees.....

Otherwise the great glory of the afternoon is the Devil's Punchbowl, which offers wonderful views. The alternative route along its rim is recommended here over the original main route down into the bowl. Also do not neglect to do the short detour to Gibbet Hill, which among other things gives you fine views of where the A3 used to be but no longer is, having been buried in a tunnel.

Lunch is at the Three Horsehoes in Thursley, after 5 miles. Will they be busy on a bank holiday Saturday? God knows. We usually squeeze in and they do have a garden. If you want to book for you and your chums, you can expect to arrive there at about 1pm. The next refreshments are 4 miles later at the National Trust tea room at the top of the Devil's Punchbowl. Down in Haslemere, Hemingways is usually favoured for tea over Darnley's these days, but it closes at 5pm. Costa Coffee is your late tea stop, open to 7.30pm.

Trains back from Haslemere are at 02, 15, 32 and 39. The 02 and 32 take 50 minutes, the other two about an hour. T=1.27


Anonymous said...

If doing the short detour to Gibbet Hill, I recommend retracing your steps onto the very scenic Polecat Valley route as opposed to taking the long bridleway into Haslemere (ie the green line on this walk's OS map rather than the red line There could well be heather there also.

Walker said...

Another platform-blocker of a group (pity any non-SWC passengers getting off at Milford) - 37 in all, plus one walker who got the train to Haslemere by mistake and met up with us late morning, having done the afternoon in reverse. So n=38 in all. The weather was a bit of everything: quite grey at times, spots of rain, the unexpected sun. W=Variable-sun-and-cloud is my term for this.

Inevitably with such a group we soon got split up, especially since this walk has remarkable amounts of wilderness - an immense bracken-filled wood in the morning, then Thursley Heath. We took varying routes across the latter, some bearing little relationship to the walk directions or GPX. The little group I was in went right, which was wrong, so had to bear left to find the right route which was to the right once we got on the plateau. It was that kind of day.

Was there heather? Reader, there was. Not 100% out, but certainly 80%. A very grand display. See our Facebook page for a couple of photos. The pub did not seem too busy and eight of us got our order in before the management abruptly stopped taking food orders because a wedding party of about 30, occupying about a quarter of the available seating, had to have priority. We were told they had “pre-ordered” but actually half an hour later were still studying their menus. The net result was that eight of us (me being the last to squeeze my order in) got delicious, if pricey, food and everyone else gave up. I would be fascinated to know how the pub takings compared to a normal Saturday lunchtime, but with half their tables unoccupied I am guessing they were sharply down.

On through wooded holloways - at one point it was like going into Hobbitland - and up onto the rim of the Punchbowl. A big bunch of us managed to get tea (for some this was lunch) at the National Trust tea room before it too went into meltdown, closing early because of a water supply problem. Many then took the main route but a few of us detoured to Gibbet Hill where the view included a Red Arrows display over a distant air show and - amazingly - a pin sharp view of the towers of the City of London 38 miles away.

Down in Haslemere we took pity on the non-lunchers and went to the White Horse, which had delicious nosh including vegan lasagne.

Anonymous said...

To add to Walker's post, the best description I head of this walk was "enchanting". And it was. For some, the Devil's Punchbowl Hotel was available for lunch and the Polecat Valley route was the cherry on the cake with it's fine display of heather and view across the sweeping valley.