Friday, 22 May 2015

Two steps to the pub and three golf courses

It’s been more than a few days since I managed to fit in a reasonable walk.  That was rectified today with a moderate length walk around Pyrford.  The route took me east through the middle of what appeared to be a very upmarket golf course.  After checking the internet I discovered it is reputedly one of the top 100 courses in the world (The Wisley Golf Club).  It’s a private, members only, club and I expect the fees are well beyond me.  Not that I’m old enough to play!

It didn’t take much effort to realise the course was well maintained.  I observed at least 10 grounds maintenance staff and it’s the only public footpath I’ve walked where the path was wide with a smooth sealed surface.  My guess is the owners probably resent the fact a public footpath runs through the middle of it!

After crossing the River Wey (not the navigation) I passed through Wisley Village to reach Wisley Common.  Most of this was woodland with a few open areas.  The M25 orbital motorway prevented me from going any further east so I changed direction heading south until I was stopped by the A3 motorway which links London and Portsmouth.  I now needed to turn west reaching the Royal Horticultural Society Gardens (RHS) at Wisley.  Entry isn’t free, but the public footpath cuts through the gardens.  Got to love these public footpaths!  The footpath has a high chain mesh fence on either side and the RHS has gone to some effort to obscure the view from the footpath.  Not that this worried me.

From there is was back into woodland and some of it was rather marshy underfoot.  This probably shouldn’t be surprising because the entire area is likely to be regularly flooded.

The ground changed to water meadows just prior to reaching the River Wey.

The footpath reached the Wey Navigation at the weir adjacent to Walsham Gates.  It was interesting to note the volume of water passing over the weir.  No doubt that flow was assisting us yesterday on the river sections of the navigation.

Walsham Gates is actually one of the original turf sided locks but are now only used as flood gates.  A pretty setting.

The former lock keepers cottage is now a family home.  Access must be difficult as there is not a road.  It’s either by water or over the narrow footbridge.  I took this photo from the middle of the footbridge and then walked back to the weir so I could continue north.  I wanted to reach Newark Lock and get a better look at Newark Priory.  It’s another of those wealthy church properties Henry VIII dissolved and collected all the loot.

It’s situated on a private island which meant all my photos were taken from a distance.  

I was able to circumnavigate the ruins eventually arriving at St Nicolas Church on the northern side of the island.  The church was built in 1140AD and is a good example of the Norman style.  It’s less than 400 metres from Newark Priory.  Obviously not rich enough to attract the interest of Henry!

From here the footpath took me southwest, eventually reaching Traditions Golf Course.  This course didn’t look to be in the top 100 but certainly had more golfers.  The footpath once again took me through the middle of the course.

Looking back.  Fortunately only one golfer attempted to embed a small white ball in my tubby body during the crossing.

A short length of woodland path led me to a footbridge over the Wey Navigation.  By now I was north of our mooring.  Walking south I passed the third golf course reaching our mooring outside The Anchor.

Can’t get much closer to the pub

Not a very long walk, about 17km.  Rehydration was required after a shower and change of clothes.  I should have ordered a pint rather than the half. We decided to have dinner in The Anchor and can report the food was good.

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