INTRODUCTION TO WINDLESHAM WALKS by Mrs June Green, Bagshot, 2012
In the early 1980s, the Windlesham Society's Footpath and Bridleways Sub-Committee set to work to produce a series of walks leaflets. The aim was to record every footpath and bridleway in the Civil Parish of Windlesham (which includes Lightwater and Bagshot) through a series of circular walks which almost everyone could enjoy. They ranged in length from just over a mile to four and a half miles.
The first leaflets, illustrated with line drawings and maps, were published in 1982 with publication costs met by Windlesham Parish Council. A total of 18 walks followed over the ensuing years. However, nothing stands still and in 1986 some of the walks had to be revised as landmarks had disappeared and clearance work and development had resulted in alterations to the terrain. The Walks were again revised between 1996 and 2000.
I was a member of the sub-committee until I left the area in December 2000. When I returned to live in Surrey Heath in 2011, I discovered that some of the walks leaflets were now seriously out of date. So, to mark the 30th anniversary of their first publication, I volunteered to revise them all. Rather than go to the expense of having them reprinted, the Parish Council has agreed to publish them on its website as I complete them, so they can be downloaded by members of the public who would like to explore the area.
Windlesham parish is fortunate in having a wonderful network of public footpaths and bridleways, all of them well maintained, waymarked and accessible. Some take you into a secret world far away from the bustle of traffic, where the only sounds are birdsong and the rustle of small creatures in the hedgerows. In others the hum of the M3 is never very far away - some will take you within yards of the motorway, with traffic whizzing by oblivious to the ancient routes which run alongside under and over it.
When you tread these paths, spare a thought for all those who have gone before you over the centuries. Take time to stop, look and listen; you may discover a badger's sett; catch a fleeting glimpse of deer in a sheltered glade, hear the distinctive call of the green woodpecker; spot a red kite soaring overhead or find yourself admiring the beauty of hawthorn and blackthorn blossom. Take a bag and collect blackberries, sloes, rose hips, chestnuts and mirabelle plums - all of which can be found in season.
In revising the walks I have tried to keep to the spirit in which they were written, combining an illustrated descritpion of the route with notes of historical or general interest. None of the walks are too strenuous, although a couple may make you puff a bit! There is no rush, so take your time and enjoy them at your own pace and when you have done them all, do them again - in the reverse direction to see them from a different perspective. Happy walking!