Today’s statistics: 11.6 miles, ascent 1194′, descent 1038′.

Our B&B, 1 Park Row B&B, in the attractive, ancient town of Farnham was a refurbished 15th-century milking shed. It is a small building, but it had quaint charm and was comfortable, clean and our host was friendly and helpful.

1 Park Row B&B

My friend and hiking companion, Nancy, arrived on the train from London, and the next morning we eagerly anticipated the onset of our North Downs Way (NDW) trek. Maxine, our host, prepared a tasty breakfast and volunteered to give my mother a lift to Guildford. A quick farewell and we were off! The trail commenced a short walk from our lodging.

Official Start of the NDW in Farnham

The path followed a little stream filled with reeds which would in several miles become the much more substantial River Wey. The woodsy trail soon opened out onto the Farnham Golf Club. It is amazing to me how many trails in England often intersect with golf courses which, of course, make for a pleasing landscape. These are also a lure for my golfer husband, who has been known to meet up with us as we hiked near a golf course.

Farnham Golf Club

On the first day of the NDW the downs or chalk hills are not encountered. We did walk alongside long stretches of farmland, however, making it easy to get lost in one’s thoughts.

Field walking

Entering the village of Puttenham, we got a good chuckle as we observed the name of the local pub, “The Good Intent”. At the top of the village was the Church of John the Baptist (the earliest part of this church was built by the Saxons). We noticed a park bench in the churchyard and decided to have a seat and take in the morning sunshine while having a snack.

Church of John the Baptist

We continued on, encountering another golf course and woods. A sign, perfectly timed for a lunch break, directed us to a tearoom at the Watts Art Gallery. They did indeed have a bountiful tearoom with delicious cakes and pastries. Not to be resisted, we indulged in some of their yummy cakes.

From the gallery, the trail plunged into the forest again as it headed up the hill.

Trail from the Watt Gallery

As we neared Guilford, we could just make out buildings peeking above the trees.

Nearing Guildford

By the time the River Wey flows through Guildford, it has become a navigable river that adjoins a peaceful park.

Along the River Wey, Guildford

Picturesque canal boats passed by as we entered town.

Canal boat on the River Wey

We had to climb steeply up city streets to find our B&B. We came upon the impressive ruins of Guildford Castle as we ascended the streets.

Guildford Castle ruins

The castle is believed to have been built by William the Conqueror sometime after 1066. During the 13th-century, Henry III sumptuously redecorated it. The castle’s current remains are thought to be the King’s private chamber within the castle, which was abandoned after Henry’s death.

Once again walking up the hill we reached the pristine and welcoming Highfield House B&B. Our hosts, Jo and Mike, were walkers and catered to walkers. We highly recommend the Shardana Italian Restaurant just a short walk down the hill for a delicious, reasonably priced dinner.

Highfield House B&B

We were treated to a lovely sunset over Guildford as we walked home from dinner.

Sunset over Guildford

2 thoughts

  1. Beautiful prose! You saw things I just walked by, like golf courses. You are an excellent writer! Who knew! Why no picture of the cake options at the gallery tea house! It was phenomenal.

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