Upon descending from the train at Witley we discovered a Ramblers group assembling next to ours. After some last minute transfers of walkers we set off.
We headed west into the woods beside the Witley estate. This was the setting for the Xanadu-inspired palace (with underwater lair) of Whittaker Wright, the infamous Victorian railway magnate. We climbed the slightly boggy paths south with several river crossings on timber bridges and the obligatory railway crossing. A local shoot was underway with the sound of gunfire resonating through the woods.
After passing several impressive manor houses, we reached the timeless village of Chiddingfold and visited the medieval church with its outstanding stained glass windows. The Crown Inn was our lunch stop beside the village green and pond. The 13th century pub is one of the finest in England with its own stained glass windows and medieval stone fireplaces. Jan found herself sitting below an oil painting of a 17th century doppelganger so posed for photos.
After lunch we continued south, hiking through National Trust estates, passing hammer ponds and several timber bridges in the forests of ash and sweet chestnut trees. We reached Haslemere where Rob C led us to the newly restored railway hotel (featuring original railway carriage luggage racks above the booths) for warming drinks before taking the train back to London.
New joiner Adrian joined regulars Brian, Neil, Rachael, Jan and Rob C.
Report by Brian
Arrival at Witley - Photo by Brian
Climbing on Greensand Way - Photo by Brian
Crossing at Coombe Hill - Photo by Brian
Chiddingfold church - Photo by Brian
Village green - Photo by Brian
Jan and doppelganger - Photo by Brian