Marian, June, Linda and Maddie had spent some time sorting out a local walk but the forecast on Tuesday was not good, with light/heavy rain predicted for the morning. In the event we saw no rain at all before lunchtime. Starting out from Easebourne church car park we took the path north/east called The Race. This old path is lined with Chestnut trees that were there when Bonnie Prince Charlie was escaping from Scotland and probably before HMS Victory was launched, although they are now likely to be in their final century. After half a mile we turned left and then on towards Loves Farm before heading up to Bexleyhill for a coffee stop. By some miracle home made mince pies and ginger wine appeared (thanks Marian!) and we celebrated the end of the uphill section of the walk. On the way back down we managed to catch a glimpse of the Bexleyhill TV mast, but the top was lost in the mist which also covered the tops of the South Downs. Lunch was excellent in the White Horse, but it's probably wise to order the smaller portion unless you are really, really hungry! As the rain had now arrived we cut our losses and returned to the car park, so the total mileage for the day was about 5.1/2 miles.
We were very pleased that the previous day's forecast was quite wrong - we enjoyed sun and no rain whatsoever for the whole walk, although it was quite cold. Starting from Belll Hill Recreation Ground, we made our way over the busy A3. After negotiating a sunken gulley, we found ourselves admiring some huge sheep somewhere south of Bedales School. Sheet Recreation Ground provided plenty of seats for the coffee break before we passed through Northfield Wood and on to the Little Langleys. Passing Ashord Farm we saw plenty of turkeys and geese roaming the fields before we dropped down to Steep Marsh Farm. On to Downgate Farm and eventually to find The Harrow pub. By great fortune a good corner table was made available and we all enjoyed the atmosphere of this unique pub. According to the Lonely Planet, the pub is number 324 on the ‘Ultimate Eatlist’ put together by foodies and bloggers around the world and compiled by top chefs. The food was very tasty and enjoyed by almost all, but portions are huge, so be warned! The pub has been in the hands of the same family since 1929 and they have strenuously sought and suceeded in keeping it unspoilt, Claire looked after us extremely well. After lunch we had to recross the A3 on another footbridge to follow the Shipwrights Way down in to Petersfield and our parked cars.
Mary and Barbara led a very pleasant walk from The Temple Inn in Liss Forest. After walking through the common and checking out the chickens, we crossed over the London to Portsmouth railway line before heading for East Hill and then on to the Newman Collard Park for a drinks break. A second crossing of the line at Liss Station took us up to West Liss and then back to The Temple Inn via the Shipwrights Way and the Liss Riverside Railway walk.
Jeff followed up his Brook walk last week with a Day walk from Witley to Thursley, however the weather was not so dry. We started from Witley Common National Trust car park and headed north towards Milford. As we knew we were heading for Thursley, we wondering how we were going to cross the main A3. Luckily there is a tunnel under the A3 leading to Rodborough Common/Mousehill Down, so crossing over the dual carraigeway was not necessary. The route took us through Ockley and Thursley Common to get to The Three Horseshoes in Thursley village. The forecast was for occasional showers but was quite wrong. We had steady rain plus a downpour but surprisingly bright sunshine as we neared Thursley. Lunch was good although the tomato soup eaters were a little puzzled... The route back took us over the A3 at the Thursley junction before moving on to Witley Common and back to the car park. Despite the damp the autumn colours on the commons were very impressive. The walk was just over 8 miles.
Jeff had another nice day for a walk and this time it was from The Dog and Pheasant in Brook. He took walkers in a loop which nearly reached the A3. The route went past the 17th Century Emley Farmhouse - very popular with its old barns and which often gets used as a film set. The house is now in the ownership of the National Trust and can be hired for 3 days in November for £722, but that price will more than double over the Christmas period. At the end of the walk several of us had a delightful lunch in the Dog and Pheasant. We welcomed a guest walker, Glynnie (spelling?) and the walk was just under 4 miles. Thanks to Barbara and Jane for some nice photos.