Guild­ford to Go­dalm­ing

Sur­rey

Countryfile Magazine - - Contents -

ean­der along the tow­path of the tran­quil River Wey and your spir­its will soon be soothed. As dusk falls, bats skim the deep, green wa­ter and deer melt in and out of the un­der­growth.

But this stretch of wa­ter, known of­fi­cially as the Go­dalm­ing Nav­i­ga­tion, hasn’t al­ways been so peace­ful. Since its locks first opened it up to barge traf­fic back in 1763, it has borne ev­ery­thing from gun­pow­der to sur­plus WW1 fighter planes.

A CU­RI­OUS START

Turn right out of Guild­ford sta­tion and head for the town cen­tre via the un­der­pass. Turn right at the river and fol­low it to the White House pub.

Just be­yond, stat­ues of Alice and the White Rab­bit com­mem­o­rate Lewis Car­roll’s regular vis­its to his sis­ters’ home in Guild­ford. Turn left over the lat­tice­work bridge, pass the boathouse, then cut across the park to re­join the tow­path at the weir.

SPRINGS AND SHORES

The wooden Old Ferry foot­bridge car­ries the North Downs Way across the river. There’s a pretty lit­tle spring to your right, and the sandy beach be­yond is a treat for toes. Put your shoes back on, keep walk­ing and you’ll ar­rive at St Catherine’s Lock, the deep­est lock on the river.

An im­pos­ing rail­way bridge fol­lows and, a lit­tle fur­ther on, a WWII pill­box. At Broad­ford Bridge, take a mo­ment to stop for some re­fresh­ment: head up on to the road, fol­low it around to the left and you’ll find the Par­rot Inn with its busy beer gar­den over­look­ing the green.

PER­FECT PIT­STOP

Re­turn to the tow­path, pass Un­stead Lock and con­tinue be­side the river through beau­ti­ful wa­ter mead­ows. Near Broad­wa­ter Park, the beer gar­den of the Manor Inn backs on to the tow­path – an­other chance to en­joy a drink and watch the sun go down. Then cross the lane to Un­stead Park and con­tinue past the nar­row­boats of Farn­combe Boat House.

BACK TO THE STA­TION

Con­tinue along the tow­path un­til the river bends right sharply at Go­dalm­ing Wharf. Head up to United Church, left on to the bridge and along Bridge Street.

Bear right onto the High Street and up to the pink ‘Pep­per­pot’: Go­dalm­ing’s 1814 Mar­ket Hall. Turn right down Church Street, then left into Sta­tion Road.

Stroll along the River Wey, a trib­u­tary of the Thames, which joins the Go­dalm­ing Nav­i­ga­tion – orig­i­nally a 17th-cen­tury trade canal

Stephanie Cross

is a Nor­folk-born

and raised au­thor and

jour­nal­ist.

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