Hat adjustment - near Brook, Greensand Way

05-Jan-19 • stephenmid on Flickr

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Walk in woods - near Brook, Greensand Way

05-Jan-19 • stephenmid on Flickr

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Gorse in full flower - near Thursley

05-Jan-19 • stephenmid on Flickr

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Exiting pub in Thursley

05-Jan-19 • stephenmid on Flickr

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Pub window decoration - Thursley

05-Jan-19 • stephenmid on Flickr

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05-Jan-19 • stephenmid on Flickr

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Tinsel by the graveyard - Thursley

05-Jan-19 • stephenmid on Flickr

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Greensand Way 1 : Witley to Haslemere via Thursley, Surrey Hills walk

Greensand Way Stage 1 : Gibbet Hill, Devil's Punch Bowl and Hindhead Common


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: Thu, 17-Jan-19

Date # Post
Sat, 05-Jan-19 22

Saturday walk - Witley to Haslemere via the Greensand Way

Length: 17.3km (10.8 miles) T=3.145
Toughness: 5 out of 10

10.15 train from Waterloo (10.22 Clapham Junction) to Witley, arriving 11.10

Buy a day return to Haslemere.

This is NOT the book one walk but a map-led walk along the most westerly section of the Greensand Way. Walk details are here, a printable OS map here and the GPX here. There are no written directions but waymarking on the Greensand Way tends to be fairly good.

The midweek walkers gave this an outing in late November, when the weather was wet and only four people turned up. But it struck me as an interesting idea - a different route across familiar territory (including the famous high heathland surrounding the Devil's Punchbowl).

The lunch pub is the Three Horseshoes in Thursley: I have slight trepidation about this, since in the summer it failed to serve food to a large group of us due to a wedding. Hopefully love springs less eternal in January, but ringing ahead to secure a table might not be an awful idea. The emergency backstop would be the National Trust cafe at the Devil's Punchbowl, open till 4pm and also an early tea option. Otherwise the familiar tea delights of Haslemere are outlined in the walk details.

Trains back from Haslemere are at 02, 15, 32 and 39 past the hour, the 02 and 32 being the fastest (49 mins and 51 mins), but the 15 and 39 not that bad (58 and 61 mins)

Thanks for scheduling this. I will be looking out for the poignant gravestone you mention.
Shall be attending this walk and thanks for the posting as I could not make it the last time. Hope to see some of you.
18 got off the train at Witley, 2 had come by car and joined us soon after the start of the walk and 2 who had got the train an hour earlier were seen briefly just before lunch. So 22 in all.

The weather was cloudy, to the disappointment of some who had hoped the previous day’s sun would be repeated. But it was dry at least and dry too underfoot. Was there ever a January walk with so little mud? My boots needed no cleaning at its end, which is almost unheard of at this time of year. Sandy soils may have helped, but a lack of recent rain is the most likely reason.

As for the route, a fair chunk of it is used in other SWC walks (Milford to Haslemere, Haslemere to Farnham) but this version of it was very pleasant and contained some nice new bits. I particularly found the route up the east side of the Devil’s Punchbowl very interesting, albeit that we did vary it a bit with a visit to Gibbet Hill and a diversion onto the route of the former A3 for better views. Earlier we found the murdered sailor’s grave in Thursley churchyard and in the same location and on a later grass verge saw some unseasonably early snowdrops.

Most of the group ate in the Three Horseshoes. Booking a table for 8 was not a bad idea but a similar number also found a place in the bar area without any trouble. Service was friendly and reasonably fast. The pizzas were declared a bit bland and I found the menu a bit over meaty, but in the end all, including two vegans, were adequately fed.

A few got to the National Trust tea room at the Devil’s Punchbowl in time but most, I think, pushed on to get to Haslemere before it got too dark. It was a while since I had done the old book one descent from the Punchbowl and it was interesting to remake its acquaintance. Others tried more scenic ways off. Several of us got to Hemingway’s in time for tea and cakes: a few of us went to the White Horse pub too (or instead).
Wed, 28-Nov-18 4

Wednesday Walk - Map-led but easy to follow: The start of the Greensand Way (in reverse): Witley to Haslemere

Length: 17.2 km (10.7 mi) [18.2 km if going to the lunch pub]
Ascent/Descent: 282/333m; Net Walking Time: 4 - 4 ½ hours
Toughness: 4/10
Take the 10.15 Haslemere train from Waterloo (10.22 CJ, 10.43 Woking), arrives Witley 11.09.
Return trains from Haslemere are on xx.02, xx.15, xx.32, journey time from 52 mins. Buy a Haslemere return.
This walk is one of 11 stages of the Greensand Way - a waymarked long-distance path in the Southeast of England. This is the first section of it, but for logistical reasons, it is posted in reverse, as Haslemere is a better place to finish, having pubs, tea rooms, and more frequent trains.
The walk starts gently over open agricultural land, and crosses the A3 to Thursley. Its St. Michael and All Angels church is worth a visit. There are some benches with a lovely view in the churchyard (a good picnic spot). A nearby grave has a poignant 'husband died 1917 wife died 1980' epitaph. Lunch is in The Three Horseshoes, a gastro-pub with a nice beer garden, just off the route, north of the church.
After lunch you climb a peaceful spur to Gibbet Hill (272m), with dramatic views into Devil's Punch Bowl. The area was once notorious for highwaymen. In 1786, a sailor (buried in Thursley's church, and commemorated by the Sailor's Stone) was robbed and murdered after drinking at a pub in Thursley. The three murderers were caught and hung here. After the summit, the walk follows the rim of Devil’s Punch Bowl to Hindhead (NT visitor centre and café, pub). Finally, it’s down the south side of the hill into Haslemere. The centre has some nice old buildings, tea rooms, and a Wetherspoon’s. The station is about 10 mins walk away.
Lunch: The Three Horseshoes in Thursley (500m off-route, after 6.1 km/3.8 mi, food to 14.30).
Tea: Lots of choice in and around Haslemere’s High Street, including Darnley’s and Hemingway’s Cafés, plus The Station House, opposite the railway station.
For summary, map, height profile and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.145
Good morning !
I’m just checking if there are any others interested in doing this walk despite the rain ? As I suddenly had an uncomfortable vision of lurking alone in the train station ...
Have changed my mind about walking due to the high winds forecast. The lunchtime pub has had an over run on electrical work. Although they will be open will only be offering a limited menu. Another reason for me to choose a shorter walk today.
I'm not going to go either then, I don't have that particular OS map so am concerned about walking alone. what a shame. thank you for replying, I appreciate you taking the time.
4 walkers in windy with drizzle to start and always overcast with afternoon rain kind of weather. Autumn! You gotta love it. The sky grey all day, the wind (although weaker than forecast) bending the trees and blowing down leaves. Hardly anyone out and about (certainly no dog walkers, although some hardy mountain bikers in shorts were on show). Some mud, but not much really. The fields and woods of the morning were pleasant, the lunch pub warm and welcoming as always (a reduced menu was in place of 3 each: starters, mains, desserts, pizze). The afternoon although the GW admittedly does not take the best route through Hindhead Common pleasant as always. Visibility from the various tops and viewpoints was severely restricted, of course. But we were all happy.
1 had left her walking poles on the platform when putting on waterproofs, and returned to fetch them, so the lunchers moved on anyway, and the picknickers were behind. We met again after lunch and stayed together to H'mere, all forgoing the diversion to the NT Cafe at the Devil's Punch Bowl. But we resisted the temptation to cut short down the road straight to the station and diligently followed the GW to the High Street, where we were greeted by some low key but splendid Xmas lights, as well as a large Xmas tree by the War Memorial.
16.02 train for 2, The Station House pub for the others, #teainpots #beeringlasses
Sat, 17-Mar-18 2

Saturday Walk – The Greensand Way to Haslemere

Extra Walk 145 – Witley to Haslemere, via Thursley
Length: 17.2 km (10.7 miles). Toughness: 5/10

10:15 Haslemere train from Waterloo (Clapham Jct 10:22), arriving Witley at 11:09. Buy a return to Haslemere.

There are four trains an hour back from Haslemere, at 02, 15, 32 & 39 minutes past.

There's an increasing trend for people to do these walks by simply following the line on a GPS device, and one or two have queried whether written directions are necessary. This section of the Greensand Way is one of several walks which have found their way onto the SWC site in this minimal format. It had a midweek outing in 2015 and the GPS route was fully revised after some helpful feedback, so it's overdue a weekend posting.

A short section at the start is the same as the Witley-Haslemere walk in Book 1 (#44) but the rest of the walk is completely different. The suggested lunchtime pub in Thursley is also on the Milford-Haslemere walk (#27), and as four Book 1 walks finish in Haslemere most of you will be familiar with the tea places there.

You can get more details of the lunch/tea places and download the walk's GPX/KML file (or print off a map of the route) from the Greensand Way 1 page (ignore the "Draft - under construction" notice). T=swc.145
hi Sean am a bit confused so is this walk basically a map led one ? for those of us who don't use GPS'..

+ with respect really don't agree with those who say written directions are unnecessary..

Yes, there are no written directions so you have to follow a line on a map. I'm not planning to make a habit of posting map only walks but this one has a good lunch pub and tea places and it seems reasonable to give it another club outing, especially since our webmaster took the time to revise the gpx route after its debut (when 17 people showed up).

If there's a strong demand then one of our indefatigable walk authors *might* survey the route on the ground and write directions for it, then wonder if all this effort was worthwhile when he sees everyone whizzing along behind someone with a GPS device. In my experience very few people seem to want to find their way round using written directions these days.

What do other people think?
Prefer written instructions.
It pains me to have to agree with Sean, but on last Saturday’s Guildford to Horsley Walk the only person visibly consulting the directions was me and I wrote them and was updating them. (Full disclosure one stalwart walk direction reader apologised for having inadvertently left her directions at home.)

People seem to like to have the written directions just in case....but the person doing the navigating these days does often seem to be using the GPX. I wouldn’t mind, but the directions do take quite a bit of updating, rural landowners having the irritating habit of moving fences, letting stiles decay, etc....
regarding the GPS situation 'maps.me' is 'alright' imho with its spidery thin green line which one has to chase all over the screen.. I did try to get a subscription with the Anquet OMN but alas their Outdoor Map Navigator App messed up my phone good and proper & wouldn't even install properly! so it means shelling out about 400 quid or so for a decent dedicated unit..and quite frankly can think of other things I would like to spend £400 on...what to do.. what to do..
Thanks Sean for your input anyways
Anonymous #5 needs to check out the Anquet/OMN web site as there are annual subscription deals for OS 25k maps at very reasonable prices.

(5 year user of Anquet OS maps)
I'd recommend ViewRanger, which I used on Saturday along with instructions! As well as free open source maps, you can now subscribe to OS maps for £23 a year.
being guilty of over the last few years having written up quite a few formerly map led walks that had originally been created by other people to a full blown write up, I'd say that well waymarked and signposted routes like stretches of the Greensand Way/South Downs Way/North Downs Way would be way down my list of priorities should I tackle more write ups of existing map led walks. even walkers that don't trust their ability to follow a line on a map should find these easy enough to follow, or in any case they would be good walks with which to start trying...
the wider point highlighted by those other eminently productive walk authors, sean and walker, is of course the slightly worrying and certainly demotivating trend of more and more walkers just following a fellow (and it usually is a man, so much for gender equality) with a handheld device with a line on a screen and a beeping noise should he stray off the gpx route. most of our gpx routes are precise enough to allow this methodology to be successful most of the time (but still sometimes leads to groups walking the wrong side of a hedge or following the wrong narrow path in a wood), but of course people who walk like that and all those that follow them, inevitably miss out on any auxiliary information contained in the text, may that be historical, architectural or other info, hints to turn around for a view or similar. seeing that quite a good few hours of work (days, in reality) go into producing a proper walk writeup, this is not good news for the writers, and will almost certainly lead to them loosing interest.

Handhelp Devices: just another 'advance in technology' that then becomes instrumental in the Further Stupification of The Masses? Discuss...
thanks PeteB for tip but as said b4 the omn app messed up my phone!
The write up says the walk is 10.7 miles, 5/10. The instruction says 10.1 miles and 4/10. Which one is it? There appears to be a short cut close to Haselmere, how many miles does it cut out? Thanks.
The walk length is as per the GPS, and my estimate of toughness. I suspect the walk introduction wasn't updated when the author revised the GPS route.

The shortcut at the end saves half a mile at most.

I for one greatly value the detailed instructions and the background information that is painstakingly provided, even if I am often guilty of assuming that I will read them on the train and then chatting instead.

Having recently gone on a map reading and navigation course in the Peak District I am now, very belatedly, wakening up to the vast richness of a map. Without being a luddite I do enjoy the challenge of using a paper map and compass and look forward to the day when I will feel empowered by them.
Another fan of written guides. I always carry a 1:25000 OS map as well. Its battery never runs out. And the writer is free to add interesting details of points along the way.
Just want to add my great appreciation for the written instructions and notes on points of interest always used.
Although I regularly use gpx as a backup for when I lose track in the instructions, I very much appreciate the prompts to take in the view etc, and the feel you get for the walk from the text. Also, the blue line can't tell you to divert to a good pub!
Two (2) on this walk along a snowy Greensand Way one with GPS and the other with an OS map & compass. The snow was falling lightly as we set off and there was a covering of snow on the hills and trees creating pretty vistas. Only when the wind picked up did it feel cold, but we were sheltered by woodlands and valleys most of the time.

We stopped for refreshments (in the spirit of St Patrick's Day) at the cosy Three Horseshoes pub in the quiet village of Thursley. The food looked very appealing but alas, we had our packed lunches and didn't want get too waylaid. The nearby church (dating back to Saxon times) was worth the visit and judging by the visitors' book, attracts quite a number of travellers from near and far.

After taking in some far reaching views from the top of the Devil's Punchbowl, we made it to Haselemere in good time for a hot drink on the platform and the 16:02 fast train back to London (miraculously, without any delays) in time to see the rugby crowds disperse and an evening of films and relaxation. An enjoyable walk just a couple of sections with the potential to take a wrong turn, but the GPS and local knowledge soon put us back on track. The only downside was the A3 that slices across the route but we soon shook it off. Thanks for posting, E.
Wed, 17-Jun-15 17

Midweek Day Walk - Witley to Haslemere

Witley to Haslemere

Gibbet Hill, Devil's Punch Bowl and Hindhead Common

Book 3* Walk 145

* Online only
Length: 16 Km or 10 miles
Toughness: 4 out of 10
Getting there: Catch the 10:15 am from London Waterloo to Witley

Meeting point: Witley Station at 11:09 am
Tickets: Buy a Cheap Day Return to Haslemere
Brief Description:
This is a request walk by Mike whose birthday is on this very day (that should get him a drink or two!) ...
The walk is in draft format at the moment and you may find details here

Suggested Lunch stop
The Three Horse­shoes pub in Thursley (01252 703268) has an informal eating area and restaurant inside the pub plus extensive seating outdoors in the attractive beer garden.

Suggested Tea stops
Hemmingways or Darnleys in Haslemere town centre

Explorer Map 133
Return train times from Haslemere:

Trains return to London Waterloo from Haslemere and there are about four an hour. The station is 10-12 minutes from the town centre,
The directions for this walk are somewhat scant. However, be assured the poster will bring copies of a route map to ensure folks don't get lost en route.
Does this walk follow parts of book 1 walk 44 Witley to Haslemere route?
Does anyone fancy staying in Haslemere,at the end of the walk, to eat at Pizza Express to avoid hitting London at the rush hour? Pizza Express have a 30% off food offer on their website, and Vouchercloud website has a 2 for 1 Wednesday offer for Pizza Express on 17 June only, (print your own vouchers). Just a thought.
Yes the second half of the walk follows closely the book walk from Witley to Haslemere.

It's easy to get confused with all the Haslemere walks in Book 1. The second half overlaps with Walk 27 (Milford Haslemere: same lunch pub in Thursley), although the route around the Devil's Punch Bowl is different. At the start of the walk, only the first 750m is the same as Walk 44 (Witley Haslemere).
I do quite fancy the idea of supper in Haslemere, so have printed out a pizza voucher (thank you tartanrug)! But I noticed also that it's burger night at The White Horse (burger & a drink for £9), and the burgers do look very good, so this would be a tempting alternative (details on The White Horse website).
...approximately, I hear from someone who has been on the walk