Farnham - Guildford
This walk begins the North Downs Way and starts in the pleasant town of Farnham in Surrey and finishes in Guildford, the county town of Surrey. Farnham is an attractive town, with an old high street area and historic castle as well as the riverside area. The walk begins next to the A31 near Farnham station but soon leaves the noise of the road behind. It initially passes through some woods and through some residential areas before coming out into open countryside where there are good views over the Hogs Back. The walk continues around the edge of Puttenham Common before coming out into the village of Puttenham, a very pretty village. From Puttenham the path goes through part of the Losely Estate and several farms before joining the banks of the river Wey to the south of Guildford, where you can follow the South Wey Path into Guildford city centre.
Getting to the Start
Farnham is easily reached on the A31 from Guildford, Alton and Winchester . This road joins the A3 near Guildford and the A331 (junction 4 of the M3 motorway). The path starts next to the A31 in Farnham and the closest car park is at Farnham station, which is well signed.
If you're traveling by public transport, the start of the walk is just a couple of minutes walk from Farnham station, which gets half-hourly trains from London, Woking ,Aldershot and Alton(hourly on Sundays), There are also easy connections at Aldershot for Ash, Guildford, Camberley, Bagshot and Ascot. Stagecoach Hampshire service X64 runs hourly from Winchester, Alresford, Ropley, Four Marks, Alton, Bently and Guildford to Farnham.
NEW: Click here to view new photos of this walk taken in the winter after heavy snowfall (taken in December 2010).
The town of Farnham is the starting point for this walk. Although the path starts on the south side of the A31 it's worth crossing the busy road and exploring the town centre first. The river Wey goes through the town centre and you cross a bridge over the river before coming to the town centre, where there are many old buildings. On the top of the hill (up Castle Street), is Farnham castle, giving excellent views over the area. The castle keep is open to the public and is run by English Heritage.
|The River Wey near Farham town centre||Farnham town Centre|
|Farnham Town Centre||Farnham Castle|
The walk begins next to the A31 near Farnham Station. There is an information board here showing the route of the path and the path initially begins on the pavement next to the road but soon turns to the right and into some woodland and runs next to the river Wey for a while.
|The River Wey||The River Wey|
The path then goes under the railway line and briefly into open countryside before again going through some more woodland. The guide is clear that you need to take a right turning, but it's still easy to miss. As you come towards a wooden bridge over the river Wey in flat ground, take a right turn where there is a commemorative seat before you get to the bridge as the path crosses on a road bridge further along.
|Open Countryside near Farnham||The North Downs Way Seat|
The path continues through some residential areas and more woodland areas before coming out near Farnham Golf Course. There is some walking on roads in this section although they are generally not too busy. Near Farnham Golf Course I was amused to notice a sign that warned Danger Deep Water, next to a dried up hole! The path becomes very sandy from here on and there are also several Sand works near to the path. There are good views over to the Hogs Back along this part of the path, although there is still the distant sound of the traffic.
|View of the Hogs Back||View of the Hogs Back|
As the path approaches the village of Puttenham it runs along the north side of Puttenham Common where there are again good views, and I was lucky enough to see an Adder in the grass on this part of the path.
|An Adder on the path near Puttenham Common||View near Puttenham Common|
|View from Puttenham Common||Coming into Puttenham|
After Puttenham Common the path descends into the village of Puttenham itself, which is a small but very attractive village and seems a pleasant community with a church and pub in the centre of the village.
Once through the village of Puttenham the path goes past the Puttenham Golf Course and then into more open countryside then into woods on the edge of the Loseley Estate. The path here is very sand and is more like walking on a beach!
|Countryside to the east of Puttenham||Countryside to the east of Puttenham|
The North Downs Way joins the South Wey Path to the south of Guildford which I then followed into the centre of Guildford. The South Wey path follows the edge of the river Wey all the way into Guildford.
|The North Downs Way joins the River Wey||The River Wey near Guildford|
|The River Wey near Guildford||The River Wey near Guildford|
The River Wey goes right through the centre of Guildford, from where it's easy to return to Farnham. The quickest way is generally by train. On weekdays during the daytime there is an hourly direct service from Guildford to Farnham, taking about 25 minutes. If the direct train is not running, then it is necessary to change. Get on a train to Ascot and then change at Aldershot onto a train to Farnham (normally terminating at Alton), taking about 35 minutes. The trains from Guildford to Aldershot run hourly except on Saturdays when they run every half hour and the trains from Aldershot to Farnham run twice an hour Monday to Saturday and hourly on Sundays.
The following web sites provide information on the area.
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