With all this glorious weather Charlotte and I were longing for some beautiful walks and lunch in The Surrey Hills.
We adore the stunning views of Newland’s Corner, a chalk ridge of the North Downs that over look the Weald and the ridge of the South Downs. We discovered the eerie Silent Pool a short distance away as well as a nosey walk around a couple of idyllic villages. We had lunch at the timber framed Gomshall Mill, full of beams, creaking floor boards and tables in every nook and crannie.
We have have enjoyed taking walks and lunch in The Surrey Hills over the years and have already thoroughly explored the Village Of Shere. It is one of those villages you see in films. In fact its the village in The Holiday. So, today we decided to visit a few others. We didn’t look far because just a little further along the River Tillingbourne is Gomshall and Abinger Hammer, two very pretty villages in the Surrey Hills that make you feel proud to be English and are tiny but wonderful to walk around.
Newland’s corner is for those of you who either want to sit and stare with glazed eyes at some of the best views over The Surrey Hills, or you want to put on a good pair of walking shoes and head off to explore the open chalk downland and woodlands.
There is a large car park, a cafe, toilets, picnic tables and benches scattered around. You’ll find some guides on various walks and cycle paths here.
As well as enjoying this Area Of Natural Outstanding Beauty it’s also rather a nice spot to people watch. Expect to see plenty of happy dogs charge by and on windy days we’ve seen quite a few kites flying.
There are yew trees that are 100 years old. When we walked through them we felt like we were walking into some scary fairytale scene. Today we were happy to sit among the wild flowers.
The Silent Pool
The Silent Pool is a bit creepy. It really is silent and it comes with an eerie tale.
It is a shady hollow surrounded by box trees and it is believed to be an ancient quarry. The water that fills it comes directly from springs.
The legend is that King John was trying to seduce a daughter of a woodman. She must have become desperate because it is said she drowned herself here.
The silent pool was a popular attraction in the 19th century, but it is fairly peaceful today.
After we popped into the Kingfisher Farm Shop (famous for its home grown watercress), we head to the river near the village cricket pitch.
There were families with blankets laid out ready for picnicking. Some young ones had nets bought from the fishing shop opposite.
In the summer it can get packed with kids and families. Locals call it the Abinger Riviera!
The famous clock is still in great condition despite being built in 1909. If you visit the village, you can’t miss it! It is Jack the Blacksmith ringing the bell.
We were having lunch at Gomshall Mill. One of our favourite local restaurants is Kingham’s In Shere and we also love The Dabbling Duck, a café in Shere. But we decided to try somewhere new and eating in a mill with the water rushing through sounded rather exciting!
We had 20 minutes before our table so head towards Goose Green, a big open space surrounded by lush trees and picturesque cottages.
The Tillingbourne river flows through other restaurant gardens…
The Tillingbourne trout farm is between Gomshall and Abinger Hammer and the water is crystal clear.
Gomshall appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as Gomeselle, and was held by William the Conqueror. Its Domesday assets were: 1 mill worth 3s 4d, 20 ploughs, 3 acres of meadow, woodland worth £30.
Parts of the current mill date back to 17th century and it was used to grind corn.
Corn milling, whereby farmers could make their own flour, was introduced to England by the Romans. Eventually landlords decided to take a cut. This caused a peasants revolt in 1381.
The bread was used to supply Guildford, then and now, a thriving market town.
Today it is a friendly pub and restaurant serving good honest food.
Lunch at the Gomshall Mill
There are two gardens at Gomshall Mill. The one at the front is pretty with English country flowers, bunting and a wooden stock.
Charlotte’s tiny wrists slip through easily. I think it’s another opportunity to show of her beautiful engagement ring!
We are given a pretty table near to where the water rushes through the mill. I jumped up immediately to explore – there is so much to take in!
This is probably the largest dining space in the mill. I love that the beams and walls have slightly differing angles everywhere.
Memorabilia is placed all over, there are loads of things to look at. It’s stuffed with character relating to it’s historical past.
There are tables found tucked in everywhere! But in a good way. I makes it hard to pick a table!
Some tables are in the rafters taking in the atmosphere of the whole mill.
There are steps and different levels with nooks and crannies all over. Charlotte had an explore and popped up behind me!
Finally we settle down feeling really happy. What can be better on a Sunday than walks and lunch in The Surrey Hills ?
It wasn’t long before our starters came.
Charlotte’s was a fantastic homemade pâté. We’d definitely recommend you order that.
However, my pretty dish of scallops was a little tasteless and disappointing.
I order a (very tasty) local ‘Silent Pool’ gin and tonic and Charlotte stuck with water. There are tables in the bar area too. Friendly dogs on leads are welcome in this area.
We went on a Sunday lunch and practically everyone was ordering one of the roast dinners. There are five options. Charlotte chose the rare roasted sirloin of beef.
The roast went down a treat, as did my choice – this really tasty burger. The burger itself was charred, which actually tasted really good, a delicious tangy cheese melted over the top and the chips were excellent. Yum!
Those of you who have followed this blog would know how much Charlotte enjoys an Eton Mess, leading me to create many recipes such as Eton Mess Ice-cream Cake and Summer Berry Eton Mess With Passion Fruit Cream.
So, she couldn’t resist trying this Eton Mess with blackberries and cinnamon cream…
My choice of a crème brûlée was a good one. The set custard was smooth and delicious.
Gomshall Mill is great for a reasonably priced lunch of good home-cooked food in a historical building. So if you want walks and lunch in The Surrey Hills this is well worth a look!
Tel: 01483 203 060
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