Tuesday, August 17, 2010

All Hollows – 15 August 2010

After the rain and thunderstorms of the last two days, it was a pleasure to get out in the countryside, and we enjoyed a circular drive starting at Farnham. Despite having twice travelled to the Farnham Airshow, we have never visited this very lovely town before, with its well maintained old buildings, a castle and lots of coffee shops open, even on a Sunday morning.

The next stop was Waverley Abbey, a reminder of the havoc Henry VIII caused in every part of England. Not far from here is a lovely little town called Tilford, which as it's name suggests, is built by a stream, and on both sides of the town are medieval arched bridges.

August is the month for heather, and we found pockets of it flowering everywhere, but particularly around the Frensham Great Pond, which was dug in the 13th century to farm fish for the Bishops of Winchester when they visited Farnham Castle. The other large area of heather was nearby, at the Devils Punch Bowl. This large bowl shaped hollow got its name from the superstition that the devil frequented the area and used it for his exercise.

During the day we walked around several lovely towns, and apart from Farnham, the two we enjoyed most were Haslemere and Godalming. Both are full of wonderful old buildings, and in particular the octagonal shaped old Town Hall in Godalming.

The last stop of the day was a visit to Compton church. This church is so old, pilgrims were stopping there in the 12th century on their walk to Canterbury. The church is unique in England for its double chancel and Norman wooden balcony above the inner chancel. We found it a very special place.

Many parts of today's drive were through hollows, the sunken lanes which are typical of many areas in southern England.

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