August 13th. Farncombe to Godalming

Eleven of us  got off the train at Farncombe. We were  pleased to have been joined by Jenifer who was checking us out with a view to perhaps becoming a member. The day was overcast with sunny periods  forecast for later. Making our way down towards the Wey and Arun navigation, we paused to admire some well tended allotments, their abundance putting our own efforts to shame. Perhaps  the Wey alluvial deposits are better for growing stuff than our London clay.

We headed up, via leafy lanes and paths to Winkworth Aboretum which although perhaps at its best in the spring and autumn, is always worth a visit. The day had warmed up and  ice creams were most welcome. Onward and upward we reached Hydons Ball. This was formally the site of a signalling station for setting the time of day, similar to the time balls at Greenwich. There’s a memorial to Octavia Hill, who apart from being one of the founders of the National Trust, was a tireless campaigner for improving conditions for factory workers. We ate our sandwiches and enjoyed extensive views to the south.

Heading north and west, we reached Tueslay Farm, the innocuous name being no indicator of the type and scale of the operation. It occupies over 450 acres and is given over to growing soft fruit for supplying our major supermarkets. The cultivation takes place in polytunnels, much of on raised platforms to make things easier for the pickers. Here and there are covered areas with tables and benches for meal breaks and there are banks of portable loos, worthy of rock festivals. We all found it fascinating ; you can read more at

Although we have been to Godalming a few times, this is the first time I   recall reaching it from the south. Descending a set of steep steps, you get a fine view across the town. There is much to see and appreciate in the  historic town centre, but our needs were rehydration and so we fell into the excellent Star pub before catching the train back to London.

By this time the weather was sunny and quite warm, and the majority of the group came back to Sandra & my home in Wimbledon for drinks and nibbles. My Padron pimiento plants were fruiting and Sunita fried some up by way of a tapa. The small ones were generally adjudged to be sweet and pleasantly spicy but even Sunita and Siew-Kee found the bigger ones a tad on the fiery side. A fine day out, the only sombre note being that it was the first Saturday of the football season, marking the start of autumn.