Nature breaks in Guildford

Hello again,

I’m back today for a post about all the lovely greenery around Guildford, and the amazing walks you can go on for a breath of fresh air and a touch of nature.

I’d say I’m somehow reminded of how lucky I am to have been offered a place at GSA just about every single day, and going for a walk in the Surrey Hills is one of those reminders.

As the days get a little longer and the occasional sunny Sunday comes along, a nice long hike in the hills or along the river can be the answer to everything, and a much needed break from all the Uni stress and pressure. 

The hills can be quite bleak around this time of year, but still very beautiful. Soon enough though, the first daffodils will be out, and then, before we know it, the bluebells too will bloom, spreading their marvellous carpet through the Chantry Woods. 

Every time I go for a countryside walk, I think of how crazy it is that one can be strolling in the countryside and yet only be 40 minutes away from central London! 

There are so many walks and loops you can do around here, either in the hills, the woods or along the river Wey, and each have their own particular and very different feel. 

Hill Walks

From the High Street in Guildford, you can get to the hills in about 15 minutes by walking up Pewley Hill (near the castle). From there, there are multiple loops possible – they are all quite long though – or you could just stroll around and come back the way you came if you don’t have much time. Just going down to the Chantry Woods, a short walk away, can be amazing, and so refreshing.

And make sure you catch the bluebells in flower in April, they’re an impressive sight! 

Or, for a longer walk, you can walk to St Martha’s church for example, which is a lovely little isolated church perched on a hill with a stunning view.

Sometimes, they sell tea and Victoria sponge cake on a little table outside, and the money collected goes to a charity. There is nothing quite like a slice of homemade Victoria Sponge when you’ve just walked a few hours and built up a hunger – and nothing more English either, I may safely say ! 

A short walk away from this and you get to Chillworth, with its gunpowder mill ruins and lovely network of brooks running past, a manor house and a few cottages on the way.

Riverside walks

From the Bottom of the High Street in town, you can access the path along the river (past the theatre), which runs a long way. You can walk all the way to Shalford (a neighbouring village) along that path should you wish too. The path gets very muddy in autumn and winter, so I usually keep it as a spring or summer walk, and I think it’s at its most beautiful in June, when all the Cow Parsley is in flower on the riverbanks. There is a marvellous variation of flora growing around here, and some wooded areas too. 

I’ve seen people swim in the river in summer, although as a Swiss who’s used to crystal clear water, I wouldn’t swim in there myself. I did however kayak on it, and people do quite a lot. It’s a lot of fun! 

The Castle

If you want a quick getaway and don’t have time to go all the way up to the hills or by the river, the castle grounds can be a nice place to stroll around. Although it is quite a small area, the flower arrangements are lovely, and it’s a nice place to sit and read on a bench, just around the corner from the High Street. 

Closer to Campus

Very close to Campus, there is a riverside path that leads to Lidl on one side, and town on the other.

Along that path, there is Dapdune Wharf, where barges used to be made in the past. It is now a National Trust site, and there is a small cafe there, as well as a marvellous second hand bookshop in a shed.

It’s a great place to go for a quick getaway. It feels like a little oasis of greenery and history, and I find there is something very special about browsing through books only meters away from the river.

So that’s a little overview of the natural beauties around Guildford – I feel very lucky to live in a place where one can get the best of two worlds, from London’s exciting bustling streets, to the calmness of rolling hills and wide horizons.

Thanks for reading 😉

Audrey x