June Walks Giveaway: Farnham, Surrey
This walk is reproduced from our popular walking book 'The Surrey Hills - A Dog Walker's Guide'. A dog isn't required, but if you do have one, they will LOVE this walk.
📥 To download this walk and take it with you, click here!
Distance: 2 miles
This is a walk in the park – but no ordinary park. Farnham Park is both a historic deer park and a local nature reserve covering an enormous 320 acres. It’s a mixture of rolling fields, grassland, ancient trees, streams and ponds. The walk takes you through a variety of these landscapes including an impressive tree-lined avenue that goes on for half a mile. Although it is possible to just walk on tarmac paths around the park’s perimeter, we have chosen a slightly shorter route that gives you more variety, using paths through some of the woods and grasslands.
HOW TO GET THERE & PARKING
Sat Nav GU9 0AU. From the A31, take the A325 into Farnham town centre. Turn into Castle Street and keep going up Castle Hill. Once you have passed the castle, the car park is on the right. OS Map: Explorer 145 Guildford & Farnham.
There is a free car park at the Park Office & Information Centre, on the
opposite side of the drive to the cricket ground (GR SU 837475).
1. At the end of the car park, turn right following the Farnham Castle signpost. Keep the cricket ground on your right and head towards the castle. The magnificent medieval motte and bailey castle has stood over the park since the 12th century. It was founded in 1138 by Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester and brother of King Stephen. In medieval times the diocese of Winchester was the richest in England, and Farnham was a favourite residence of the bishops. Next door is the Bishops’ Palace, a mix of Norman, Tudor and Restoration building styles. The Castle’s history and location so close to the deer park has made the park one of the most important historic landscapes in the south of England.
2. Turn down the long avenue of trees and continue until the very end. The avenue was planted on the orders of Bishop Morley in the 17th century, although the original elms have been replaced with lime and beech trees.
3. At the end, turn left along a tarmac path and, a few yards later, when the path heads into the trees, take the path that turns left. Keep on the path to the right of the gate. Continue along this path as it meanders through the woods, always keeping the cattle fence to your immediate left. The path will eventually bring you away from the fence and up into a field. Ignore the fainter path to the left and keep to the right-hand side of the field boundary and follow it as it turns and until you find yourself underneath the power lines.
4. Shortly after you have passed beneath the power lines, turn left onto the tarmac path and you will pass back underneath the wires. Continue back along this path which will eventually bring you back to the tree avenue. Then, turn right and retrace your steps. Farnham Park was “emparked” by Bishop Wykeham in 1376, with a wooden ‘pale’ or fence keeping the deer in and the locals out. The Ranger’s House, which you passed on your left, was built in the 17th century to keep poachers and squatters out. For over 600 years, Farnham Park was a private domain visited by royalty and the nobility. During the First World War horses were grazed here to get them fit before being sent to France.
- Alex Batho