Surrey walk around Haslemere and Hindhead
- Credit: ©NTPL/John Miller
Explore Hindhead, the highest village in Surrey, on this adventurous stroll down to the historic market town of Haslemere, which is the furthest south
• Start: National Trust car park at Devil’s Punch Bowl, Hindhead GU26 6AB
• Grid Reference: SU890 357
• Length of walk: Nine miles and steep in sections. It will take about two-and-a-half hours.
• Food/Drink: Try the National Trust café at Hindhead or the Devil’s Punchbowl Hotel. There’s also a wide choice of restaurants, pubs and cafés in Haslemere.
• Whilst you are there: Enjoy a visit to Haslemere Museum, which also houses the tourist information centre. Open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.
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This walk starts from the National Trust café at Hindhead. Take in the view across the Devil’s Punch Bowl before turning right in the direction of the Sailor’s Stroll. Follow the signs to Gibbet Hill and continue on this path until it emerges onto the hill with its Celtic cross and extensive views over the Surrey Hills.
Turn right at the very edge of Gibbet Hill, follow a sign for the Hidden Hindhead walk, on a winding narrow path that descends through the trees, eventually meeting a crossways. Take the wide path directly ahead through a metal barrier. In 20m, ignore a path on your left and, where the path splits, take the path on the right. Keep going straight on, ignoring paths on your right, and eventually you will pass the octagonal remains of the Temple of the Four Winds (see far right).
Keep going straight ahead on the narrow path that curves right and descends steeply through a coppiced wood. At the bottom, it joins a path coming from the left and reaches a wide valley and a crossroad of paths. Keep going straight ahead on the bridlepath for about 500m, ignoring the wide left-hand path, until you reach Keffolds Copse.
Avoid the right fork just before the farmhouse and, about 250m after the house, just before the track goes uphill, turn left on a wide, stony path going downhill. Look out for a metal kissing gate on your right, go through this gate and cross a grassy meadow to another kissing gate, then on up to the railway. Cross over the line with care and go over another stile, across a stream and then up steps alongside a garden. Eventually, you will come out on a residential road. Turn left and go up to the main road at Grayswood.
At this point, cross over the A286 and follow the marked footpath directly opposite, leading diagonally left. At Grayswood, take Lower Street and follow the path towards the sewage works.
Take the right footpath before the works and follow the path to Imbhams Farm.
At Imbhams, take the path around the large pond, known as the Holdfast Cut, until you reach the B2131 and turn right to take you into the centre of Haslemere.
At the main junction with the A286, turn right into the High Street. Pass the Georgian Hotel on your left and look for a small passage marked Greensand Way. Follow the Greensand Way markers back up the hill until you arrive back at the Devil’s Punch Bowl.
• Hindhead Common was one of the very first pieces of land acquired by the National Trust in 1895.
• The Temple of the Winds was built in 1910 by Viscount Pirrie, who owned the nearby Witley Park. The view is stunning.
• The Devil’s Punch Bowl is the setting for a series of popular 1950s children’s books by Monica Edwards, which are based on her real-life home at Punchbowl Farm.
• Hindhead is the highest village in Surrey and some have even called it “Little Switzerland”.
• Haslemere is the most southerly town in Surrey. It was granted a charter in 1394 by King Richard II.
• Famous residents of the area have included the poet Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson, author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and John Penfold who, in 1866, designed a standard pillar box for the Post Office.
• Imbhams Farm is still a working farm. Owners, Maggie and John Barlow and their business partner, James Halfhide, can often been found at their Imbhams Farm Granary stall at the various farmers’ markets across Surrey.