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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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Saturday, 15 February 2020

Saturday Walk – St Martha-on-the-Hill and Surrey's prettiest village

Book 2 Walk 13 – Guildford to Gomshall
Length: 17.2 km (10.7 miles), with longer or shorter options. Toughness: 5/10

09:45 Guildford train from Waterloo (Clapham Jct 09:52, Woking 10:13), arriving Guildford at 10:24 (be careful not to take one of the slower Guildford trains via Effingham Jct).

The simplest ticket is an Any Permitted return to Gomshall (the standard ticket is marked 'Not via Guildford', which is obviously no use). However, the cheapest option is to buy a Zones 1-6 Travelcard (if you need it) plus a return from Boundary Zone 6 to Gomshall: this is marked 'Any Permitted' so is valid at Guildford. By some quirk this combination is cheaper than a London-Gomshall return and covers you all the way from your local station too.

Return trains from Gomshall are effectively every two hours: at 15:51, 17:51, etc, changing at Guildford; and at 16:02, 18:02, etc, in the other direction, changing at Dorking or Redhill. If you have a long wait there are hourly buses to around 6pm (Compass 32) which you could take to either Guildford or Dorking.

We've had a request for this walk via the church of St Martha-on-the-Hill, and as its introduction promises “a relief from mud in winter” it seems like the perfect choice. You pass the hilltop church in the morning before descending to “Surrey's prettiest village” Shere, with a choice of two pubs and a tearoom for lunch.

The standard afternoon route is a loop up onto the North Downs and back down to Gomshall, but the walk document offers several alternatives; eg. a very short direct ending, or a longer loop returning via Abinger Hammer. There's a tearoom and a pub in Gomshall while you're waiting for a bus or train.

You can download the directions (in a pdf document) from the Guildford to Gomshall walk page.


Anonymous said...

hum..feel a bit guilty as i'm the one requesting this lovely walk but there appears to be another storm coming at the weekend ...crazy ..and so i may not go.. soz Sean and thankyou anyway

Walker said...

I am wondering if we should just roll over all this week’s walks to next week, but I suppose that would mess up the walk posting rota

Anonymous said...

The weather doesn’t look good this weekend.
An option on this walk could be to end the walk at lunchtime. It’s about 20 minutes walk along a quiet road from Shere to Gomshall.

Sean said...

A regular feature of Walker's post-match reports is that the weather was nothing like as bad as the BBC predicted, we all had a lovely time, why did you stay at home? etc. This time, however, I'm willing to believe that Storm Denis might turn out to be a bit more of a nuisance. I suppose if you do show up at Guildford and it's really bad, being in a large town does offer plenty of other distractions. And as someone else noted, the design of this walk offers plenty of scope for cutting it short.

If the weekend is a washout I think the various walk posters will be sympathetic to an early repeat of any walk which has been specifically requested, especially if the (usually anonymous) requester confirms which date they'd like it to re-appear.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sean, I'm the requester yes please roll this walk over to about a months time? Spring might have really sprung by then!���� cheers

Sandy said...

I'm inclined to give this a go, or at least head to Guildford and do some kind of walk, armed with a proper map of the area to facilitate improvising a tactical retreat. I'd like to get a walk in this weekend and heavy rain isn't forecast till the afternoon. Also I can always get home by bus - which I appreciate won't be the case for those living further afield.

Walker said...

I am inclined to do so also. On this walk you are never far from transport. You can descend from St Martha's Hill to Chilworth, from where there are trains every two hours and buses hourly, and a pub to wait in. You can finish the walk early in Gomshall, just after lunch - again, two hourly trains and hourly buses and two pubs plus a tea room. There are other walks in the Guildford area. There are also three ways back from Gomshall by train - via Guildford, Dorking or Redhill, which might be useful if a line gets blocked by a falling tree.

St Martha's Hill and Pewley Down are likely to be VERY blowy, but a fair bit of the walk is in valleys, which MIGHT - repeat MIGHT - be more sheltered. A caveat is that the Met Office has a Yellow Weather Warning for Rain to the south of London but not to the north (or did have last time I looked): this MAY just mean that because rain is forecast to persist here from Saturday into all of Sunday, that they expect flooding to be an issue. But I don't know,. I am not an expert. As with all SWC walks, it is your responsibility to route find and also to assess using the broadcast or published weather forecast whether it is or is not a good idea to venture forth. Use your own judgement! I merely provide some facts and ideas to help you make up your mind.

Walker said...

Sing, Bard. Tell of the heroes, of the n=6 (including one Newbie!) who defied w=the-Storm-of-Dennis to trek from the Gilded Ford to the Hall of Gom, thinking naught of the warnings of the mighty Yellow Wizard of Met.

Emerged did they from the Portals of the Rail to find winds but light and no rain to speak of. Nay, earlier on their voyaging had there even been a flickering of sun. A merry band were they as they traversed the verdant summits of Pewley. True, on the Hill of Martha ‘twas a bit blowy - as had been foretold by the Oracles - but they ducked behind the ancient temple to avoid it. Not till Shere was nigh did it start to rain a bit, a refreshing shower of heaven-sent droplets.

Fain would four of the band have dined in the back rooms of the rustic inn they found there. But all the places therein being promised to the elves and hobbits of that region, they had to nab a table in the bar, at which they perched on high stools. Hearty was the fare, and swiftly served! Many a stirring tale was exchanged over a glass of ale.

Two had a poorer lunch of naught but scraps of bread and condiments, but all assembled as one to face whatever the afternoon would bring. Now did the storm rage! The wind howled and the rain was eager. But figuring that they would not now catch the 13.51, our heroes bravely set their faces towards the lofty heights, thinking thus to while away the six score minutes until the next departure.

More than a little courage was needed on this trek! At times the mighty oaks and ashes did bow and sway as if they would touch the ground in their writhings. At times the rain lashed (though at other times it didn’t). Eventually, fearing to miss the train, they were led by a secret short cut (cursed be any who reveals the location of this path!!) down to the valley.

Would the 15.51 be running? But lo! It was. At the Gilded Ford there was something of a hiatus, but the four remaining hied themselves to the Cave of Costa for tea and an enchanted toastie, which seemed to be made of ham and cheese, but yet by wizardry was actually vegan. And so to the 16.34 Waterloo, and back to the cosy comfort of Hobbitshire, with the satisfaction of a grand adventure, well accomplished.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Brilliant. Well done to the 6. I regret not going.