Walk: Haslemere to Sandhills

3 January 2012

50 minutes by train from Clapham Junction and you’re in Haslemere. Up the High Street, opposite the Olde Sweete Shoppe is a narrow alleyway between two stone buildings and a non-descript sign announces the start of the 108-mile Greensand Way, ending at Hamstreet in Kent .

Thirty minutes of back streets and increasingly muddy paths bring you to the edge of the Devil’s Punchbowl National Trust property, where you can stride through heather, bracken, ling and broom to the DP car park and cafe with its stunning views over one of the beauty spots of South England.

The GS way heads east to the splendid views of Gibbet Hill but I walked north along slowly declining and narrowing paths till I was trapped in a narrow gorge lined with sandy mud, eventually staggering out to the bridge over the DP stream, at which point I decided not to complete a circuit of the DP but pick up the GS Way, and walk across country to Brook and Sandhills.

Here, I sat in the sunshine on a bench on the tiny common admiring the wonderful view. Sandhills became an artists’ colony in the late Victorian period, led by the artist Helen Allingham and her chocolate box paintings of rural life. It still feels special, remote and the view from the bench on the small hillside was wonderful.

Late afternoon sunlight in Sandhills

The bench on Sandhills Common

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