Thorsley Common in August

Milford to Haslemere walk

24-Aug-14 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

book1 walkicon swcwalks walk27

Devil's Punchbowl view

24-Aug-14 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

book1 walkicon swcwalks walk27

The course of the old A3

Milford to Haslemere walk

24-Aug-14 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

book1 walkicon swcwalks walk27

Up a gully

Milford to Hsslemere

13-Aug-16 • moontiger on Flickr

swcwalks book1 walk27 walkicon


09-Apr-05 • Andrew Murphy


09-Apr-05 • Andrew Murphy


09-Apr-05 • Andrew Murphy

Milford to Haslemere walk


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Updated: Sun, 24-Jan-21

Date # Post
Sat, 22-Aug-20 22

Saturday walk - Milford to Haslemere - Hopefully heather - TRAIN TIMES AMENDED


Length: 18.7km (11.7 miles) T=1.27
Toughness: 6 out of 10

9.45 train from Waterloo (10.52 Clapham Junction) to Milford, arriving 10.38

Buy a day return to Haslemere.

For walk directions click here, for GPX click here or for a map of the route click here.

It is always difficult catching the heather at its best, but we are definitely into heather season now, and this is one of the best walks for it in the SWC canon.

One particular highlight, just before lunch, is Thursley Heath. There was a fire here in June, but as far as I can see it was in the opposite corner to the one crossed by our walk. This is based an analysis of news reports and drone footage, so no guarantees... But this is not the only heather area on the walk, so I am sure we will see some.

In the afternoon, there are several variations on the original book one route, all of which are recommended. The NT says there are several reports of dogs being bit by adders, so look out for them.

The one lunch pub is the Three Horseshoes in Thursley. Its website says you have to book by phone (01252 703900) - even to have a drink!! - see full rules here: scroll to the bottom of the page. But intriguingly it also offers takeaways if you call before 11am: see menu here. It does have a good sized garden. The pub is 8.4km (5.2 miles) into the walk, so you might expect to arrive there at 1pm or so.

For tea, the National Trust cafe at the Devil's Punchbowl is open (as a takeaway) until 4pm, as far as I can see: otherwise Haslemere has various options. When some of us were in town in mid June, Hemingways was very gamely open for takeaways when everything else was shut, so please support their enterprise by doing further business with them.

Trains back from Haslemere are at 11 and 32 past, the 32 being marginally quicker.

Heather in full blooms up and around Temple of Winds, very beautiful
can't see a 10.15 train
Thanks, amended.

This happened before, did it not, two weeks ago for the Milford to Godalming walk? You know, at my age you do start to worry about Pre Senile Dementia. So just to be sure I looked up the train times for Saturday 29 August. They show a 10.15 train. So every week SWT says the Milford train will be 10.15 and then at the last minute change their mind and make it the 9.45. Nuts!

On the other hand PSD is definitely to blame for me miscalculating the likely arrival time at the pub. What planet was I on there? I hope no one made a lunch booking based on my previous estimate.

I will now check the return train times. Sigh! It is not that I have anything better to do....
Just for the record I missed the scheduled train due to engineering works on my train line but did the whole walk on my own with a bit of help keeping on track from other walkers and horse riders. Navigation by the sun through the heather and heathland south by south west did incur a bee sting as the honey bees were very active and almost invisible. No lunch served after 2.30pm as the Three Horseshoes is a community pub and closes at 3pm! Probably can’t justify keeping a chef on any longer but it’s good to see the pub thriving and looking good. Luckily I had a baguette from Greggs purchased at the Milford petrol station on route which together with a large cappuccino cost £3.80. A bargain! Am on the 18.11 train with 3 other SWC walkers who no doubt had a nice tea in Darnleys. Sorry to miss everyone Marion
22 on this walk: 21 at the start, but one apparently ended up on a later train having missed the specified one: she did the whole walk alone and met up with others on the train home. The weather was sun and cloud: possibly a bit more sun as the day wore on. There were at least three newcomers who we hope enjoyed their day

The start of this walk is not good too much main road walking. One of our number did an alternative route that looks like it would be worth writing up. But eventually we gained the peace of the heaths. The heather here was good, though one walker reckoned a week more would bring it to its best. I was happy though. Thursley Common in particular was awash with purple and wherever the fire was in June, it was not on the bit crossed by our route.

Three of us had phoned at the start of the walk to nab the last table in the garden of the Three Horseshoes. Two of the newcomers had also booked in advance. My apologies to any others who wanted to lunch and were disappointed. I later realised that one person on the train had expressed a desire to have a pub lunch and could have joined our table. I did not think of this until too late unfortunately.

We initially felt a bit aggrieved that our table was the only one in the garden under a tree. Two weeks ago the shade would have been welcome: now a breeze made it a bit chilly. But we had the last laugh, since while we were eating there was a sharp shower the only rain of the day. The rest of the garden emptied, but with waterproof jackets and the shelter of our tree, we were able to remain at our post.

After lunch I think most took the rim route around the Devil’s Punchbowl, though one thought we had gone the wrong way and so did the original route down into the bowl. Many managed to get tea at the National Trust cafe, but when my backmarker group got there at 3.20pm it had abruptly shut due to problems with the water supply or staff fatigue or I don’t know what. This is not the first time this establishment has let me down in this fashion and to say I was most seriously displeased would not be exaggerating. My NT subscription just came out of my bank account, but I am not sure I will be renewing next year.

Anyway, I recovered, and a bunch of us pushed on to Gibbet Hill, where the view was fine but not quite sharp enough for London to be visible, except through binoculars. We got to Haslemere and the excellent Hemingways at 4.45pm, to find some other walkers at an outside table. I said to a staff member: “Are you about to close?” They said “We close at 5pm”. I said “Do we have time for a quick tea and cake?” They said “Yes, take a seat” and came directly to take our order. This is private enterprise at its finest and the kind of spirit we need to get the economy moving again. The chocolate cake was scrummy too moist, gooey and chocolatey. The pigeons appreciated the crumbs I dropped for them too (the lockdown must have been tough for them...)

Afterwards three of us joined five others (at separate tables, outside) at the Swan, where government rules were being strictly (maybe even fanatically) enforced. We had beer, wine, chips and sweet potato fries and discussed decarbonising transport from a socialist perspective. Having discovered that the train service was now only hourly, we then rushed for the 19.11 train, back to a fairly busy Waterloo. So busy that it looks like the M&S store might finally be preparing to open.... Easy, tiger...
Sat, 25-Aug-18 38

Saturday Walk - Milford to Haslemere - Third time lucky/unlucky [heather] walk

Length: 18.7km (11.7 miles)
Toughness: 6 out of 10

10.15 train from Waterloo (10.22 Clapham Junction) to Milford, arriving 11.05.

Buy a day return to Haslemere.

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

Following the failure of my last two attempts to produce a heather walk I was all set to move on this week, but then our resident train expert pointed out that this is the ONE weekend when the RMT, in a rare show of consideration for the traveling public, is NOT striking on South Western Railways.

Knowing this, it was a little hard to resist this walk, which crosses acres of glorious heathland. If heather is to be found, here it will be, and it was in full bloom in this time of year in the past. But wisely in view of my record to date, I offer no guarantees.....

Otherwise the great glory of the afternoon is the Devil's Punchbowl, which offers wonderful views. The alternative route along its rim is recommended here over the original main route down into the bowl. Also do not neglect to do the short detour to Gibbet Hill, which among other things gives you fine views of where the A3 used to be but no longer is, having been buried in a tunnel.

Lunch is at the Three Horsehoes in Thursley, after 5 miles. Will they be busy on a bank holiday Saturday? God knows. We usually squeeze in and they do have a garden. If you want to book for you and your chums, you can expect to arrive there at about 1pm. The next refreshments are 4 miles later at the National Trust tea room at the top of the Devil's Punchbowl. Down in Haslemere, Hemingways is usually favoured for tea over Darnley's these days, but it closes at 5pm. Costa Coffee is your late tea stop, open to 7.30pm.

Trains back from Haslemere are at 02, 15, 32 and 39. The 02 and 32 take 50 minutes, the other two about an hour. T=1.27
If doing the short detour to Gibbet Hill, I recommend retracing your steps onto the very scenic Polecat Valley route as opposed to taking the long bridleway into Haslemere (ie the green line on this walk's OS map rather than the red line to haslemere/map.html). There could well be heather there also.
Another platform blocker of a group (pity any non SWC passengers getting off at Milford) 37 in all, plus one walker who got the train to Haslemere by mistake and met up with us late morning, having done the afternoon in reverse. So 38 in all. The weather was a bit of everything: quite grey at times, spots of rain, the unexpected sun. Variable sun and cloud is my term for this.

Inevitably with such a group we soon got split up, especially since this walk has remarkable amounts of wilderness an immense bracken filled wood in the morning, then Thursley Heath. We took varying routes across the latter, some bearing little relationship to the walk directions or GPX. The little group I was in went right, which was wrong, so had to bear left to find the right route which was to the right once we got on the plateau. It was that kind of day.

Was there heather? Reader, there was. Not 100% out, but certainly 80%. A very grand display. See our Facebook page for a couple of photos. The pub did not seem too busy and eight of us got our order in before the management abruptly stopped taking food orders because a wedding party of about 30, occupying about a quarter of the available seating, had to have priority. We were told they had “pre ordered” but actually half an hour later were still studying their menus. The net result was that eight of us (me being the last to squeeze my order in) got delicious, if pricey, food and everyone else gave up. I would be fascinated to know how the pub takings compared to a normal Saturday lunchtime, but with half their tables unoccupied I am guessing they were sharply down.

On through wooded holloways at one point it was like going into Hobbitland and up onto the rim of the Punchbowl. A big bunch of us managed to get tea (for some this was lunch) at the National Trust tea room before it too went into meltdown, closing early because of a water supply problem. Many then took the main route but a few of us detoured to Gibbet Hill where the view included a Red Arrows display over a distant air show and amazingly a pin sharp view of the towers of the City of London 38 miles away.

Down in Haslemere we took pity on the non lunchers and went to the White Horse, which had delicious nosh including vegan lasagne.
To add to Walker's post, the best description I head of this walk was "enchanting". And it was. For some, the Devil's Punchbowl Hotel was available for lunch and the Polecat Valley route was the cherry on the cake with it's fine display of heather and view across the sweeping valley.
Sat, 27-Jan-18 25

Saturday walk - Milford to Haslemere - Sandy heaths = less mud?

Milford to Haslemere (Book 1, walk 27)
Length: 18.7km (11.7 miles)
Toughness: 6 out of 10

9.15 train from Waterloo (9.22 Clapham Junction) to Milford, arriving 10.05.

Buy a day return to Haslemere.

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

I don't think this walk has ever been done in winter, but it crosses lots of heathland, at least in its later stages and so one might hope that it would have less mud than other walks (heath = sandy soils). This might be less true in the early stages out of Milford, but keep the faith....

Normally a 10.15 train is specified for this walk, but (before you complain....) normally we are doing it on a long summer day. I thought an extra hour's daylight might be useful, given the walk length: also given that there is just one lunch pub (quite popular: gastro with prices to match).

In the afternoon the original version of this walk took a somewhat quixotic route down into the valley. The variation which keeps to the ridge is much to be preferred and the diversion to Gibbet Hill is recommended

The National Trust cafe at the Devil's Punch Bowl is closed for a few weeks for refurbishment, but despair not as "hot drinks and snacks will be available from a catering outlet on site". Otherwise, carry on to Haslemere where my good friend Dr Google says Hemingways, the cafe opposite Darnleys that gets all the plaudits from walkers these days, closes at 5pm; Darnleys itself closes at 5.30pm; and Costa Coffee, with that boring inevitability that makes it such a successful chain, closes at 7.30pm.

Trains back from Haslemere: four an hour: the faster ones are the 02 and 32 past, taking around 50 minutes. The 15 and 39 past are ten minutes slower. T=1.27

I've done this one in winter before. I think it's a good choice. The stretch across Bagmoor Common in the morning may well be boggy but after that there's plenty of sandy paths.
25 at the station. A dry morning and wet windy afternoon
Despite the presence of sandy soils, there is mud a plenty on this walk in winter. Quite a tough walk with its ups and downs and long muddy bridleways. Not that I’m complaining mind, I can’t get enough of the stuff myself :( .
Anonymous was right about Bagmoor Common being boggy. I managed to step off the path into a ditch :( The welcome signs have gone, btw.
The 3 Horseshoes was OK I guess. I don’t know about the food, I wasn’t on the same table.
After lunch about half wimped out and headed for Witley. Diehards such as myself went the whole way.
I think I still prefer the descent into the Devil’s Punchbowl over the detour round the right hand side. The views would be good if it wasn’t for the trees. I wonder if a detour round to the left would work.

Sorry to hear about the mud. This is a challenging time of year to pick walks......
After a splendid lunch at The 3 Horseshoes in Thursley, 10 of us, lightweights / people who have a life outside of just walking ( delete as appropriate ) took an off piste route to Witley which reduced our total walk for the day to 15.6 km ( it didn't seem that far but so the sat nav told us and apparently The Sat Nav is the truth much as in Google is the truth. In the old days you would argue a point in the pub and it would likely never be resolved but now you check Google and that is the truth and no argument but maybe that is a discussion for another time, I will check with Google )

The morning was a bit of a route march resulting in us doing something like 6 k an hour and one of the fellow walkers quoted
We have no time to stand and stare.
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

I should have slowed and we, who wanted to, could have slowed down but the lazy gene was whispering in our ear something along the lines of 'if we keep those walkers in front in sight we won't have to find the route for ourselves' and thus we followed.
Note to self for the future let those at the front go and then relax into the walk and the lazy gene has just piped up with ‘ yes and then we can follow a slower walker ‘

But i digress in the afternoon we duly followed the person in front who did a sterling job of leading us and arrived at Witley around 5 to 3 time for refreshment but sadly there was none to be had. We could wait 15 minutes or so and catch a train to Haslemere and then catch a fast one of we could wait 40 minutes or so and catch the next stopper to Waterloo. 9 of us chose the train to Haslemere where the man at the station Pucino had his busiest session of the day whilst he served us drinks and snacks.
We then caught a fast train back to Waterloo and waved to the one who had stayed on the platform at Witley but

Woe are we Alas Alack Alarm There is no turning or going back For in the Present In the Here and Now we are and always shall be.

and she waiting on the platform did not see us

Good day out but wayyyyy tooooooooooo fst
Monsieur Whin Gin
Thanks very much to Arthur Dent and Bridie for leading us in the afternoon to Witley. Great day out plus time and energy left to enjoy London's night life!
Sat, 13-Aug-16 25

Saturday First Walk - Heather in bloom and the Devil's Punchbowl

Book 1, Walk 27 - Milford to Haslemere
Length 18.7km (11.7 miles)
Toughness: 6 out of 10
10.15 train from Waterloo (10.22 Clapham Junction) to Milford, arriving 11.05
Buy a day return to Haslemere
For walk directions click here.
In case anyone is confused, this is not not not the same walk as last week (that was Milford to Godalming) and it has nothing in common with it except the same starting station.

One of the the great glories of this walk is a large expanse of heather heathland around the lunch pub, and usually in mid August this is in full flower (see photo).

Otherwise in the morning you have shady paths through ancient woodlands, and in the afternoon the highlight of the Devil's Punchbowl, a dramatic valley now thankfully freed from the noise of the A3 road (which was put into a tunnel). There is a choice of routes as you approach this, and personally I prefer the newer variant along the rim of the bowl.

The National Trust cafe at the Punchbowl is a good tea stop if the queues are not too long, and after it the variant to Gibbet Hill etc is recommended. Speedy types may get to Haslemere in time to enjoy Darnley's tea room, but personally I would take it easy and enjoy the magnificent scenery.

Trains back from Haslemere are at 02, 15 and 32 past, the 15 being slightly slower. There is also a 39 past, slower still and only worth taking if you just miss the 32.
Just to clarify it's a Book 1 walk.
Thank you, MG: corrected!
Your lunchtime stop on this walk is the Three Horse­shoes pub in Thursley (tel. 01252 703268)
25 or more showed up. (Hard to count that high, not enough fingers). cloudy start hot and sunny later. Dry underfoot. So dry on the heath that the sand was difficult to walk through. But not impossible. The heather put on a good show. 3 Horseshoes fine. Did a nice cider called Hazy Hog.
Two more latecomers arrived on this walk on the 12.15 train from Waterloo. Lovely walk with heather at its best. No walkers or people around until the pub and Devil's punchbowl. Orientation problem at Bagmoor common, found it easier to use new footpath with yellow arrow (perhaps directions need updating here). Finished with tasty dinner and good service at the Swan Inn in Haslemere.
Sat, 16-Apr-16 9

Saturday First Walk Milford to Haslemere TOCW1.27

TOCW1 walk 27 Milford to Haslemere
11.7 miles (18.7km) rated 6 out of 10, but the proposed route is apparently easier.

There are options on this walk and I propose the route keeping to the Punch Bowl rim (para 47), and then taking in Gibbet Hill & Sailor's Stone option (para 69). This walk has had some updates and I would recommend using the download instructions for the proposed options.

The description mentions sandy bridleways and heathland as well as a number of fine views.

Travel: Take the 1015 Haslemere train from Waterloo (Clapham 1022) arriving Milford at 1105 . There is a good return service from Haslemere xx02, xx15, xx 32 and a slower xx.39 (check times after 2000). Buy a return to Haslemere. If you don't have a railcard, check the SWT £15 offer.

Lunch: Three Horse­shoes pub in Thursley (tel. 01252 703268), 5 miles from the start. I'm advised that it is worth calling to book (lunch is 12.30-14.15).


cold wet dry sunny
l=lunch for 4 in the excellent Three Horseshoes pub in Thursley. Superb beer, cider, and food. Table was booked the preceding Monday. Don't try and eat your own rations at this pub, either in the back garden or in the smokers shelter at the front, otherwise you will be chased off the premises.
m=mud one man down, seriously someone turned back before lunch. In the afternoon we seemed to fragment Into 3 groups with four making it back to Haslemere station, without a stop for tea.
Two enjoyed tea and scones at the National Trust cafe.
One on a later train. A lovely walk with nice views and I will definitely do it again.
Sat, 21-Mar-15 23 Milford to Haslemere
Sun, 24-Aug-14 10 Milford to Haslemere
Sat, 01-Mar-14 17 Milford to Haslemere
Sat, 24-Aug-13 7 Milford to Haslemere
Sun, 29-Apr-12 Milford to Haslemere
Sat, 02-Jul-11 Milford to Haslemere
Sun, 06-Mar-11 Milford to Haslemere
Sat, 30-Oct-10 Milford to Haslemere
Sun, 01-Aug-10 Milford to Haslemere
Sat, 04-Jul-09 Milford to Haslemere
Sun, 26-Apr-09 Milford to Haslemere
Sat, 16-Aug-08 Milford to Haslemere
Sun, 30-Mar-08 Milford to Haslemere
Sat, 07-Jul-07 Milford to Haslemere
Sun, 15-Oct-06 Milford to Haslemere