From: A circular walk from Farnham out to the Six Bells pub and back. We started at the Castle Inn in Castle Street, but you can start anywhere in the area.
Length: 2 miles.
Average Walk Time: Around 1 hour.
Terrain: By and large, gently undulating. This route avoids all the hills. The entire route is on paved footpaths, although one short section is a little steep downhill and can be slippery.
Suitable for dogs: Yes.
Look out for: Baby buggies in the park and some interesting houses!
Today, we're taking members of the Farnham Town Council, the Press (Yes, Mister Herald, that means you!), Mr "T" Bear and all and sundry around a grand ramble to celebrate the launch of the 2020 Farnham Walking Festival. The event runs from 16 May to 7 June and includes over 70 walks for people of all ages and all abilities. Fancy an educational walk around Farnham to learn about the trees? Or the History? Or the plaques? Want something to do in half term with the kids? Fancy walking in the steps of the pilgrims all the way to Winchester? We have them all, and much more besides. Ghosts, Breweries, Ancient Farnham and even Shakespeare, everything is covered. Bats in Farnham Park or Barrie on the road to Tilford. Join us for a walk of exploration.
All 70 plus walks are listed in our programme, which is now available. Pick up your copy today from the Herald Offices, the Town Council or other outlets around the town. The details are all online, with booking information on www.FarhamWalkingFestival.org. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
So, plus over. Let's carry on with the walk. The walk starts anywhere in Central Farnham. We chose to meet at the Castle Inn in Castle Street and set out from there, but you don't have to. From the Inn, turn left out the door, carefully cross the road and walk up the hill. The first landmark you pass is the recently renovated and re-roofed Andrew Windsor almshouses. Built in 1619, note the plaque which states they are for 'the habitation and relief of eight poor honest and impotent persons'.
Stop wondering whether you qualify, and walk on to the corner of the Nelson Arms. The pub is rumoured to have been where Nelson met Lady Hamilton, and a passage in the basement is reported to lead to her house. The pub once held a famous 'Nelsons' glass eye lodged in one of the wooden beams, but alas, it was liberated long ago. Pass down the side of the pub along Park Row. Take the first passage on the left (opposite Bear Lane), and walk up past the 'deer steps'. In the days when Farnham Park was a venue for royals to hunt in, the exit was fenced to stop the deer escaping. These steps were the way out of the park.
Ancient history lesson over, enter the park and immediately turn sharp right. A slight detour up the diagonal path will reveal the spigot mortar base, which has been written about before but is part of the WW2 Defence Line. (Modern history, not ancient)! During the conflict, the park was close to the GHQ Line and next to Farnham Castle where the War Office had established its Camouflage Development and Training Centre. From the spigot base, mortars could be fired all the way to the deer steps, so watch out as you walk. Follow the paved footpath along the lower edge of the park. Note the curious house on the right with its fence ornaments and don't be too nosy looking over the fence!
A little further, and you pass another WW2 feature. A pillbox is there, completely covered with ivy, bricked up and pebble-dashed. Keep walking, and eventually, you pass out the park and into a small passage at the back of houses. You are finally disgorged into the Hale Road, by the side of the Six Bells pub. Directly opposite you (to the right side of the petrol station) is Roman Way. This walk does not detour down there, and again it has been discussed on a previous walk. At the bottom of Roman way is the site of a former Roman villa with an ornate mosaic floor. However, cross the main road, turn right and quickly look for a footpath striking diagonally out right from the corner of Roman Way and Hale Road. Follow this footpath downhill, taking care in the last section as it is steep and can be slippery. On the left (now filled in) is the feeder pond for the Bourne Mill. As you reach the bottom of the footpath by the Guildford Road, look left at the Bourne Mill itself.
One of Farnham's ancient mills (the oldest parts of the current building date from the 17th century), the mill itself ceased operating in 1906, and it later served as a drinking club in the 1960s, reportedly having Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger as a frequent visitor. Now an antique centre, it has recently reopened after a devastating fire in 2015.
Do not cross the Guildford Road (yet) and turn right at the end. Follow the footpath until the first side road, Anstey Road. Here you can cross the Guildford Road and go diagonally down into the Guildford Trading Estate, opposite. At the end, turn right and walk to the far end of the estate. A footpath zigs and zags its way out the end to the right of the sewage works. In former times, this was Farnham's main sewage plant, being at the lowest part of the town. Now, the effluent is pumped up to a facility by Sainsburys Water Lane. So don't worry, you won't get swamped. The ground under the carwash was formerly a bottle works, and when the park was being built, locals raked over the ground pulling out dozens (hundreds?) of bottle shards.
At the end of the footpath, turn left and start following the River Wey. The route passes the tennis courts, car parking and some open space. On the left, a small bridge out the corner of the car park leads to Hatch Mill by the side of the main road. This was formerly another of Farnham's ancient mills and is now a retirement home. In its history the building has shown incredible flexibility having become a civil defence centre in the 1960s; a depot for a motor oil firm; as an arts centre and rehearsal studios for the local and now-defunct Redgrave Theatre; and in 2001 was adapted for use as a care home.
You're almost back now. Continue along the path at the side of the river, pass the new Brightwells Yard development and cross the pedestrian bridge over the river to the Borelli walk. The path ducks under an access bridge for the development and finally brings you out at South Street. The Borelli walk was opened in 1964 and originally had a row of poplar trees along the river bank. After the disastrous floods of 1968, the river course was widened, and the current stepped profile of the river introduced. The trees had to go.
At South Street, you can cross over into the Gostrey Meadow. Pass the bandstand and walk across Union Road. A small road leads into the Central Car Park where one of several alleys will take you into The Borough and back into Castle Street. A celebratory pint can be supped in any of the local hostelries. I hope you enjoyed this touch of Farnham's history and we hope to see you on one of the Festival's walks.