25th and 26th June 2016: Puttenham,midsummer trip

Five members spent an enjoyable weekend based at the “eco barn” hostel at Puttenham, six miles SW of Guildford. The volunteer wardens who run this bunkhouse put themselves out to provide services, thanks to Don’s advance planning. The village has medieval origins, visible in a fine 13th C church, long-established farms and a charming pub (closed, alas). On Saturday, arriving by hike across fields from Wanborough at mid day, and treated to a cup of tea by the warden, we set off to do a circuit of Puttenham Common. This is a two mile wide stretch of sandy heathland, partly wooded and interspersed with small lakes. There were fine views to W from the clear areas. We had been drenched by a flash-flood-inducing thunderstorm at the start but brightening skies enabled us to dry out and enjoy the countryside. We decided not to cook in the well-equipped kitchen but have a pub supper at a nearby Harvester inn. This enabled those with a keen sense of our country’s heritage to watch never-say-die Northern Ireland lose at the last to workmanlike Wales.
After a sustaining breakfast we set out in cool but bright weather to explore heath, woods and farm land to the S and SW, making for Godalming via Peper Harow. In the latter village we found the great house now converted into luxury apartments, but the estate has kept its thriving farm and an interesting medieval church. Across the estate fields, and the busy A3 road, to Lower Eashing where we discreetly ate packed lunches in pub armchairs overlooking the river, and later picked up a farm track following the general course of the Wey into Godalming. This day’s walk had offered fine varied landscape. Throughout this part of the Surrey-Hampshire border English history looms: nine hundred years of prospering villages; 18thC great houses having been built by admirals; Jane Austen’s Chawton not far away. Both the location and the itinerary were really well chosen for a convenient weekend trip, thanks to Don’s planning and Jean’s accounting. A successful trip.
Steve Butters

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