In the Shadow of the Workhouse


Join local historian and writer David Rose on a walk from Guildford town centre taking in a visit to The Spike Heritage Centre in Charlotteville, and on to Pewley Down, The Chantries, Shalford Park and back.

Imagine what it was like for tramps, vagrants and those ‘on the road’ around 100 years ago as they made their way from town to town seeking a bed for the night in the casual ward of the local workhouse. Men, women and children would tramp up to 20 miles a day, and by the time they got to Guildford’s Union Workhouse they would have been shattered. The first part of the walk follows the last part of the route they probably took when heading for the workhouse in Warren Road (originally Union Lane). And as walk leader David Rose is also a volunteer tour guide of The Spike, there will be a short tour of it to see the preserved cells of the vagrants’ casual ward and hear what life was like there. And then onwards, as the tramps did after a night’s kip, imagining they were heading east. The walk will go up and over Pewley Down and will then turn back - going along the edge of the Chantries, then along Pilgrims’ Way and through Shalford Park, finishing at the Town Bridge. There will be plenty of stops to hear snippets of Guildford’s history and lots of time for discussion on any aspect of it.

Time: Arrive 9.45am for a 10am start, back in time for lunch!

Meet: Tunsgate Arch, Guildford High Street

Grid Reference for start point: SU 997494

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Travel Note: If using Guildford town centre car parks, suggest Millbrook.

Length of walk: 4.25 miles

General Notes:  There are one or two fairly steep inclines during the first part of the walk. These include Bright Hill on the way to The Spike, and then the public footpath from Cline Road to Pewley Down.

Book: Click HERE

Contact: 07530 949302




Led by: David Rose