National Trust’s Great British Walk festival 2013 in Surrey
- Credit: ©NTPL/Andrew Butler
From towpath rambles along the River Wey to the secret pathways that connect Polesden Lacey to Box Hill, the National Trust’s Great British Walk festival offers the perfect opportunity to explore our local countryside
Polesden Lacey to Surrey Hills Did you know that Polesden Lacey has a beautiful 1,400 acre estate including Ranmore Common, one of the highest points in the county? Explore it this autumn with a walks leaflet available from visitor reception for only £1. Or, why not take part in the Surrey Hills Challenge on Saturday October 12 and discover the secret walking routes that connect Ranmore to Surrey’s two iconic high spots: Box Hill and Leith Hill. Register in advance at nationaltrust.org.uk/polesdenlacey and start your challenge from 7.30am. The cost is £15 per walker or £5 per family for the short family walk (two adults and up to three children under 16).
Richmond to Ham House
Take an urban ramble from Richmond railway station to the picturesque open spaces at Ham House and Garden via the iconic view from Richmond Hill, grazing cows on Petersham Meadows and the Thames towpath. There will be six, free guided walks from the Stuart house on the banks of the Thames this autumn and instructions are available to download from the National Trust website. The perfect opportunity to discover the most scenic places around historic Richmond.
Winkworth to Oakhurst
Take yourself for a beautiful self-guided walk from Winkworth Arboretum through pretty woodland to the spectacular views from Hydon’s Ball, then down to the charming village of Hambledon where you will discover Oakhurst Cottage, a delightful 16th century labourer’s home that has remained largely unchanged for the past hundred years. Directions for this walk are available from the National Trust website.
Black Down Hills
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Alfred Lord Tennyson fell in love with the Black Down Hills on the Surrey/Sussex border near Haslemere and would stride out through the heather wrapped in his cloak. Walk to The Temple of the Winds, named after a bronze age circular bank, where you can find one of the best views of the South Downs National Park. This little known spot has a secret feel and a charming curved stone seat to rest on. Download the directions for this self-guided walk from the National Trust website before setting out.
The rolling hills and green spaces of Surrey are only a stone’s throw from London, but seem a million miles away. Get away from it all with walks that take in some of the region’s best views. Head out on a circular walk from Box Hill and choose from the hilltop stroll, stepping stones walk, natural play trail or the spectacular Box Hill hike. Pick up a leaflet for self-guided walks at Leith Hill, Headley Heath, Hindhead Commons and the Devil’s Punchbowl, Reigate Hill and Gatton Park or Abinger Roughs and Netley Park. Or take part in the Trust’s series of guided walks this autumn from Denbies Hillside (Sunday October 6 and Sunday October 20, 2pm) or Headley Heath (Sunday October 27, 2pm).
River Wey Navigations
The River Wey Navigations is the largest stretch of waterway looked after by the National Trust. Discover it with their series of guided walks this autumn: there’s an early morning walk with bacon butties, an autumn tramp, a walk taking in hills, heath and mills, and a stroll along the five-mile route taken by the last commercial barges. See website for details.
Claremont Landscape Garden
Take part in an autumn colour walk or a fungi foray at Claremont, a beautiful National Trust landscape garden surrounding a small lake and featuring an unusual grass amphitheatre. Normal admission applies for the autumn colour walk on Saturday October 19 and Sunday October 27, 2pm, while the fungi foray on Saturday October 5 is priced at £8 for adults and £4 for children.
With over 400 acres of parkland, Hatchlands Park, near Guildford, is one of the largest country estates surrounding Greater London. Take part in a guided autumn walk for families on Wednesday October 30, 11am (adults, £4; children, £2) or join one of the other Great British Walks that can be found on their website.
Morden Hall Park
Walk through the Watermeads, a secret wood and wetlands area between Morden and Mitcham, on one of nine guided tours taking place this month. Funding is now in place to conserve the Watermeads and open this special place, which was saved from development by the National Trust a hundred years ago, to the public in two years time. There is also a regular programme of guided walks at Morden Hall Park, a green oasis where Surrey meets London.
The National Trust’s Great British Walk festival runs until Sunday November 3. More information and walking routes can be found at nationaltrust.org.uk/greatbritishwalk. Be sure to take your camera with you and enter your best pictures in The Great Big Beautiful Surrey Photography Competition at surreylife.co.uk!