Haslemere to the Devil’s punchbowl

Map of the planned route.

The Greensands Way starts in Haslemere, an historic market town – where parking is a bit tricky! We did our research beforehand and left our car at the recreation ground to the south of the town.

The “mere” element of the name is thought to refer to a lake that used to exist on the west side of the High Street (but which had been removed in the latter part of the 19th century). The “hasle” element may refer to the hazel tree or to the Heysulle family from Chiddingfold, who are known to have owned land in the area until the 14th century.

We started by walking down into the town, and made our way to the town hall – which feels like it is now located on a traffic island in the High Street! There are lots of plaques on it commemorating historical events and people, but we couldn’t spot a plaque for the beginning of the Greensands Way, so we continued North down the High Street. Where the path turns off the main road we managed to find a plaque to take our ‘start’ photo of:

Our walk was going very nicely until we came to Polecat Valley. We turned left too early and got ourselves a bit confused where we were, but still joined up with the same lane in the bottom of the valley. We hoped the variation to our route might help us spot King Kong … we did see some big trees, so potentially we did spot him from a distance.

We somehow went wrong again as we came out the valley and walked different path than we intended, but we saw another nice tree – a lone apple tree with lots of fruit. They tasted a bit tart!

It’s a good job that there were some good landmarks at the rim of the punchbowl, so we were able to work out where we were and find our way to the National Trust cafe for some lunch, which by this time was well deserved! We treated ourselves to cake. The slices were so generous we had to ask for doggy bags!

We were more careful with the map reading on the way back, and the route went along the sides of a valley, so that helped navigation. Where the path reached the lane at Coombswell Copse, we did find a giant redwood we could get up close to, but we’re not sure if that one has a name!

We then walked along country lanes back to Haslemere and retraced our route (with a couple of detours into some of the shops!) back to the car.

We planned our walk to be 6.5 miles – but being as we didn’t stick to the plan very well and walked a mile or so further!