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Away From The Crowds


Our coordinator Steve Mustoe already knew that we were likely to have a record turnout for our April walk, but even he must have been as surprised as the rest of us at the crowds gathering around us on this sunny morning in Compton.

This is serious walking territory and we had found ourselves in the youthful company of the Haslemere and Godalming Ramblers. Outnumbering us two to one, we were quickly relieved to find out our proposed routes were unlikely to converge.  What’s more very few of their members were likely to stay for lunch at our chosen historic pub The Withies.

Almost as soon as we left our busy RV point our leader for the month Spencer Needs had us in the woods on the slopes of the North Downs, enjoying the Surrey countrside that we had almost completely to ourselves.

As we progressed westwards we paused to admire the handsome hard work being done amongst the practice jumps of Coneycroft Farm before taking to the woods again in the direction of Surrey’s Artists Village at the Gallery first established in 1904 by George Frederick Watts and his wife Mary. 

Spencer briefly outlined the colouful life of the renowned artists acclaimed here but today we were destined for the hills and the glorious weather was beckoning us. It was great to welcome Paul Elphick to his first outing with the Walkers. He couldn’t have picked a better day to join us. 

The route of the North Downs Way involves carefully negotiating a number of rural crossroads.

The several check points that we passed, coupled with Spencer’s patient guidance, ensured that we were are able to accommodate the different paces at which each of us wanted to progress.

Everyone was able to cope with our mild gain of height and take time to fully appreciate the magnificent countryside around Conduit Farm and Polsted Manor.

As we passed the pond to the north of Loseley Park we sensed we were on the homeward stretch and a minute or two later the observant amongst us spotted the weloming sight of The Withies and the prospect of lunch waiting for us across the fields. 

A hostelry since the times of the Tudors, this pub, in its spectacular location, has these days become a not infrequent lunch spot for the walkers of Moleside. 

Today everyone enjoyed the opportunity to take our modest but well earned meals in the garden. The Hot Salt Beef sandwich, the most popular choice amongst today’s group, can be highly recommended.

Our thanks to Spencer for his walk and, as ever, to Steve who pulls our monthly programme together.  David  & Hazel helped with the photos and we all enjoyed a fantastic, sunny day on the slopes of the North Downs.   


Click TAGs for reports on our other recent Moleside Walks.

Our next Moleside Walk is on Thursday 18 May when we plan to explore the springtime splendour of Richmond Park and the Isabella Plantation.