►On the North Downs Way

After a train ride through rather worrisome rain, a group of ten from the Longer Walks Group headed out of Horsley Station and were soon enjoying a walk beside the railway with the rain a thing of the past. We followed a path through fields and passed by West Horsley Church where Sir Walter Raleigh’s head and the whole of his son’s body are buried. We didn’t take the opportunity to view them however, but continued our walk through the Sheepleas, 300 acres of downland which is classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Eventually our route joined the North Downs Way and then meandered through Shere Woods until we reached our lunch spot at Newlands Corner. Here we enjoyed the spectacular views south over the Weald while rejuvenating ourselves with a much needed meal break. After lunch our route continued along the NDW descending Albury Downs only to climb steeply up the sandy St Martha’s Hill. This we were informed contains bands of iron ore, and in evidence we were presented with several rocks to identify!

Having trudged up the sandy incline we reached the pilgrim’s church at the summit of St Martha’s Hill. After admiring more lovely views to the south, supposedly encompassing eight different counties, our walk continued. The NDW, now also called the Pilgrim’s Way, descended through woodland and eventually reached the Wey Valley. Arriving at the banks of the River Wey, we left the NDW and headed north alongside the Wey, which led us to a riverside pub in the heart of Guildford. The ideal spot on a sunny afternoon to stop and toast another wonderful Crouch End and District U3A long walk.

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