Winter Warmer Walks – Leave Your Boots at the Door

Well hello and Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and that 2018 has so far treated you kindly.

Ours has not gone so well thus far with the sudden loss of another one of our family horses. We rushed Dachnik to Liphook Equine Hospital on New Year’s Eve, with what was originally believed to be red worm damage and a secondary infection of colitis, which was bad enough.  However it soon became apparent that there was more going on internally than we all thought, lymphoma. Despite this very sad start to 2018 I am remaining optimistic that better things are to come.

On a rather chilly note, hasn’t it got cold lately? Although it’s a shame the cold down south has bought this bitter wind rather than those lovely frosty days I was so looking forward to.

I am kicking off my first post in 2018 with the initial instalment of my winter warmers posts. I will be sharing with you some of my most loved winter walks in Surrey and Sussex, with a highly recommended cosy pub or tea room stop in order to warm up in after a cold winters day walk.

Last Saturday my Father visited from London for the day, he shared some rather exciting news that he and his partner Pam are getting a puppy in February! I am super excited about this news as it’s been years since my Dad has had a dog in his life, and I know how just how much he has missed having one.  My Father has recently retired from his job in the City so this gives me even more reason to be excited as it means we can spend more quality time together, for which we can spend doing things we both love, walking in the countryside and I can draw upon his gardening skills more frequently.

Braving the cold, Chris, my Dad, the dogs and I headed out in the car to one of the beautiful local villages, Hascombe.

I absolutely adore this village; if I had the funds would move here in an instant! It is quite simply idyllic, with many charming cottages surrounding a pretty pond, all nestled in the Surrey Hills.

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The first time I walked here was years back with my friend Charlie, we got utterly lost (nothing new there)! We went around and around in circles until we met a lovely vet nurse out walking her collie who was kind enough to walk us back to our desired location, the village pub! I remember on this walk sitting in the pub and thinking how I would like to live here one day.

As it was lunch time when we arrived it was straight into the pub, The White Horse to get some food fuel in us to keep us going on our windy walk.

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Upon walking up to the door (front, side or back) during the winter months you are greeted by an array of muddy boots on the steps.

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My Father after being converted to being a city dweller for many years, was most bemused when I took mine own boots off, asking what would I wear on my feet inside. I beamed him a smile and retorted with my socks!  Before merrily entering into the warmth.

As you step inside this 16th Century coaching inn, along with a friendly welcome, you will be instantly charmed as you are surrounded by timber beams, oak/brick floors and the roaring log fires.

I would recommend making a reservation if you intend to take your dog/s as you will need to sit at a dog friendly table in the Bar/Restaurant area, opposed to sitting in the dining room. There were at least half a dozen dogs of all shapes and sizes dozing at the feet of their masters who were enjoying a lunch out or a drink or two!

The food is delicious and much of the produce is sourced locally, in my mind you can’t go far wrong whatever you choose on the menu. My Father and I went for a healthier option of the smoked haddock fish cake, poached egg, and parsley sauce from the starter menu but as a main meal and it did not disappoint. Chris went for The White Horse burger with smoked cheese, bacon, pickles, and chunky chips with tomato chutney. The chips looked very tempting; unfortunately he did not wish to share.

After we had refuelled, we (or I pulled my boots back on) and headed off in to the Hills, passing a couple of Highland cattle across the road.

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There is an abundant amount of footpaths and bridleways surrounding the pub, either at the back or directly opposite.  On this occasion we headed out and crossed the road at the front.  The walk we did was only around 2.5 miles (I wanted to ease my Father in gradually to my walks).

Once passed the cattle in the right hand field, we continued on the bridleway on the right instead of going straight up the hill.

From this point you end up on a lane which we followed passed the old Manor House and then up the steps on the left hand side.

All the while we walked, over the hills came the faintest sound of the Surrey Union Hunt.

The walk is mainly through woodland and can get VERY muddy so you will need plenty of towels to dry dirty dogs off with back at the car.

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The steps lead in to open fields with a slight incline, the dogs love this part of the walk and charge around like nutters.

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Once at the top of the fields you look down at the secluded manor house nestled among the trees which was passed on the lane.

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We followed the woods right up as until reaching the fence line at the top of the hill and turned left. The walk then levels out and you are in to the woods for a long stretch on a sandy track.

Passed all the newly planted trees running along on either side of the path. Until eventually turning left on a sweeping corner. Passed yet more newly planted trees, coming to a very narrow footpath for which we took.

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Remember the hill? Well clearly if you go up a hill you inevitably need to come back down at some point and I can tell you now this one has a very sleep decline. Although there are rails to support you, they are a tad wobbly so ensure you have boots with a decent grip!

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Once down the hill and through the gate you will be opposite the pub once more.  Maybe you will even need another warm up or be inspired to come back in the warmer months to try out another walk, or perhaps stop by the White Horse on a visit to Winkworth Arboretum

Shiva feels this is a truly scrumptious pub walk.

Love for now Emma, Chris & of course the Dals xxxx

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