From: A circular walk from Castle Street North of the town.
Length: 2.4 miles.
Average Walk Time: An hour.
Terrain: Reasonable level. There's a small pull up near the start, but nothing too much.
Suitable for dogs: Yes.
Look out for: Some great views over Farnham. If you do this walk soon, plenty of lamzies.
For some reason I can't explain, a little nonsense song whizzed through my head as I was walking this route. I'll put it now, and we'll see what you make of it … Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you? If you know it, sing it out loud as you walk the route. If you know what it means (and I do!) share it with everyone. But for now, on with the walk.
I've started at the junction of Castle Street and the Borough. Walk up Castle Street, and it's taken great restraint NOT to point out all the historical places you're passing. These can be the subject of a future walk. Look out for the Andrew Windsor Alms Houses on the right. I won't even point out the plaque on the front which states they were built "by Andrew Windsor Esq in 1619 for the habitation and relief of eight poor honest and impotent persons". Immediately past them, again on the right, is the Nelson Arms pub. This place was originally based on three, 14th-century cottages. Stories of one of Nelson's glass eyes being here might be true, but a secret passage leading to Lady Hamilton's house is false (but I didn't point that out either).
Immediately past the pub on the left side of Castle Street, and down the side of house number 33 (Keep House) is a tiny alley signed "Leading to Lowndes Buildings" which leads off away from the Alms Houses and the pub. Initially, the lane is narrow between two houses but soon opens up with a brick wall on the left and the delightful Lowndes Buildings on the right. These cottages form a terrace of nine single-bay dwellings of workmen's housing, built in 1839 or 1840, named after Thomas Lowndes and mentioned in his will of 1833. Such very simple early housing for the working classes rarely survives without any external additions or significant internal alterations, and with both exterior and interiors reasonably intact this is an architectural curiosity. As far as you are concerned, admire the front gardens and the quaint buildings.
At the end of the alley, turn left into Long Garden Walk. Very soon (30m), the road kinks right and immediately left (the kink is only about a metre) and here you turn right into another short alley which brings you out by the back of Waitrose. Turn right into the Upper Hart Car Park and walk straight towards the back fence of the parking. At the end of the car park is a double wooden gate with a footpath between trees to the left of it. Take this footpath. Follow this for almost 200m, until a distinct path branches off left, which you take along the back of the UCA student housing. Soon this new path reaches a T-junction, where you turn right up some steps and into an open field. At the first tree line, pause and look back over Farnham. You can pretend you're admiring the view, disguising the fact you're catching your breath. The sight is excellent and shows you have gained quite some height above the rooftops below. Keep walking as the path passes between a hedge and a fence and comes out on Old Park Lane where you turn left.
Your second set of pretty cottages is on the right – admire these and keep walking uphill. Look for "16, Grange Cottage" on the right, and here turn left, immediately opposite, passing Falcon House and heading out into open fields again. At this point, my song came into my head: Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?
Figured it out yet?
Pass the maresies and lamzies and walk about 400m. Here the path T-junctions. Ignore the right turn uphill and turn left. In about 10m, the way turns right again through a steel gate arrangement. Immediately after the gate, the path forks. Ignore the left turn downhill here and go straight. The net result of this is a left turn, 10m downhill and a right turn, so you're heading in the same direction as you were before. It's actually easier to follow on the ground – just think of it as almost going straight on with a slight kink.
Assuming I didn't lose you at that point, now continue straight for 300m, cross straight over a small tarmacked road (Three Stiles Road) and walk another 100m to Crondall Lane. Cross the road to use the pavement on the far side and turn left very slightly uphill. Pass the St Francis' church (on the left of the way, consecrated in 1957, which replaced a dilapidated Mission Church at Dippenhall made of wood and corrugated iron, which had become old and shabby) and keep following Crondall Lane all the way down until it Ts into West Street. Turn left at the end.
30m round the corner, you will find the Jolly Sailor pub. Take an alley on the left, immediately before the pub winding its way at the back of the houses, by the side of the Potters Gate School. Two important things are noticeable in this alley. First, about halfway along, just before a low wall on the right and a view into "Cobblestones" house over the wall, look for a loophole at the base of the wall. This is another part of the WW2 defence line where defenders would have stood at Cobblestones and shot out the ankles of Germans coming across the fields where the school is now. (There used to be a pillbox in the school grounds.)
Secondly, note the long straight nature of this alley. At the end, it turns left into Potters Gate and then starts again turning right 30 m farther along Potters Gate. When Farnham was in the centre of the hop growing area, farmers needed miles and miles of twine to string the hops from. Twine would have been wound along this long, long alley. And yes, it could have been wound around corners using clever pulleys. Keep following the alley, out the end at Potters Gate, past the school entrance, and right again 30m later through the bike chicane. Again, just before the end, look over the hedge on the left, and you can see an impressive life-size statue in the grounds of the care home of a hop gatherer.
The former twine twisting alley now crosses The Hart, passes the Lower Hart Car Park, past the front of Waitrose, and into Long Garden Walk. You will pass the Hop Blossom pub (another reminder of the Hop industry). Finally, the road passes down a small pedestrian alley and disgorges into Castle Street. Turn right here and look at the shop walls above at 6-7 Castle Street. High above Bills is our final reminder – a sign on the former warehouse – "Cocoa Mat, Matting, Rope, Line & Twine Warehouse". And you're back at the end of this walk.
And remember the words in the bridge part of the song between verses … "If the words sound queer and funny to your ear, a little bit jumbled and jivey, Sing 'Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy.'"