A while back I was chatting with my Dad about how lucky we are that in the UK we have so much beautiful countryside for us to get out in and explore. A good long countryside walk is one of my favourite things to do. Especially in Autumn when it feels like the perfect way to balance out the cosy evenings curled up with a good book. Also there’s something about revising favourite walking routes with favourite people, old and new, that clears my head and makes me smile.
My love for a countryside walk probably stems from my childhood when we’d spend weekend afternoons walking with our parents through our local woodlands. We would race through the woods, stamp in muddy puddles and pause for a sit at our favourite trees. Now that we have a dog in the family this happens more and more. Whenever we are back home we will all join in on the daily dog walk, or we’ll plan a meet up at a midway point and discover a new walking route together.
So after a conversation about the joys of walking in the woods and reminiscing about the walks of our childhood today I wanted to share some of my favourite walking routes around Surrey and London.
The Drift Woodlands
The Drift is probably at the top of my favourite walking routes list. It’s so ingrained with my childhood because it is literally across the road from my parents’ house. Now this is super scary when you are walking home from the train station in the dark with this to your right, a road to your left and no street lights. But in the light of day it’s an absolute marvel.
Full of wildlife and with plenty of paths to explore I’m still discovering new sections. It’s teaming with wildlife from deers to pheasants, squirrels to all of the birds, plus it’s next to fields that house cows and horses. This is my go-to walk when I’m in charge of my parent’s dog. In fact on my most recent weekend of dog sitting three quarters of the dog walks happened over the road at The Drift. We’ve spent many a family walk traipsing through and exploring these woodlands, picking blackberries and then pausing for a sit down at our favourite fallen tree. If you’re ever in Surrey then you should definitely check it out.
Chobham common has everything you want from a favourite walking route. There’s open grass areas, sandy paths, wooded areas and even a marshy section to really give your wellies a work out. We tend to take the same route around the common and back along the golf course, but there are plenty of trails signposted if you fancy shorter (or longer) routes. Also there are cows grazing on the heathland too, so watch out for those with your dog, but also make sure to take a snap! If you do go for a walk here then I can highly recommend rounding off your walk with a delicious meal at The Sun Inn.
Ockham and Wisley Common
This is another walking venue that is close to where I grew up, although I don’t think I ever walked there until we had a dog. There’s so much space to explore here, plus a little slice of history with Chatley Heath Semaphore Tower on the common too. This is one of a group of semaphore towers that were used to send messages between Portsmouth and London. Apparently it’s open to the public at certain times in the year – I’ve never actually been inside it as I pick the wrong time to go. But if that’s your thing then do check the information and time it right so that you can pop inside.
Morden Hall Park
So Fi talked about Morden Hall Park a while back. Since then we’ve been on a very autumnal dog walk with 4/5 of the Evans family, plus the dog. It’s owned by the National Trust, but it’s free to walk around the grounds. Plus there’s an excellent cafe along with a garden centre and petshop too. On our latest visit we explored the wetlands area and stamped our way through the fallen leaves. Mum was also quite taken with the rose garden, so I think we’ll be back to explore that in the spring. We ended our trip with lunch at the cafe and a visit to the garden centre.
The final favourite walking route on the list is once again near where I grew up. I guess weekend walks were such a big part of my childhood that nowhere else can compare. Oh well, I’m embracing it! Now let’s get back to the Sheepleas. There are numerous pathways across the Sheepleas, which link the woodlands, grassy meadows and picnic areas with each other and offer a treasure trove of walks to explore. If I’m walking Luna and we’re not going to the Drift then it will most likely be on the Sheepleas instead. She loves it, there’s so much to explore and never a shortage of other dogs to play with!
So there they are, my favourite walking routes in the UK. What about you lovely lot. Do you have any favourite walks. What other areas should I explore and make the most of.