Walk: Churt

20 May 2012

Churt is a small village on the western, Hampshire, border of Surrey. In fact it’s a linear settlement straddling the A287 which runs from Farnham south to Haslemere. To the east the land is raised heathland, leading to the famous landmark, the Devil’s Punchbowl. The soil is infertile and acid, supporting heather, gorse, conifers and, around the many plush houses hidden down private drives, banks of rhododendrons. The eastern part of the walk was along lanes with names like  Crabtree Lane, Old Barn Lane, Green Lane.

The best bit was to the west of the A road where the land fell away steeply into Whitmoor Vale, giving views across and along the Vale of uninterrupted forest.

View across Whitmoor Vale

View across Whitmoor Vale

Down by the thin straggling Whitmoor stream were damp deciduous woodlands and muddy paths  lined by wildflowers. The bluebells and buttercups are fading, but greater stitchwort, garlic mustard were everywhere, along with great swathes of ramson, sending their strong damp garlic scent in all directions.

Ramsons

Ramsons

Close up of Ramson flowerhead

Close up of Ramson flowerhead

Walk: Puttenham Common circular

21 January 2012

£11 buys me and the boy return train tickets to Farnham in west Surrey, a small town or red brick Georgian houses, topped by a modest bishop’s castle, ruined by a one way system.

A more arduous 6 mile cycle ride than we expected (via the ruins of Waverley Abbey) brought us to Puttenham Common, an area of rare heathland. Starting at the Tarn, a fishing pond surrounded by deciduous woods, climbing gently to open heathland next to an iron age fort with views across the valley to the Hog’s Back. Dry red sand. Heather. Gorse with yellow flowers. Along a section of the North Downs Way, a climb up a muddy track floored with sandstone cobbles. Then back within sight of Lutyens’ Lascombe Farm, round and back down to the Tarn.

Cycling back we passed through a wee village named The Sands and saw more English flags flying from flagpoles in 5 minutes than I’ve seen in the last 5 years. Also the first daffodils I’ve seen flowering, anywhere.

The General's Pond, Puttenham Common

The General's Pond, Puttenham Common

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