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  • Writer's picturekenneth

Anyone fancy lunch?

Walking – whether as part of Walkfest, with other groups or just with a friend or two - has a strongly social element. Chatting along the way, pointing out sights or interesting features and, as a by-product, getting to know people better is a great way to get the most out of the walk. These activities also make social walking an important part of improving mental health and wellbeing.

However, probably the most popular social aspect seems to be the eating and drinking that often accompanies a walk. From my own experience with various walking festivals, local groups such as Surrey Hills Society and of course walks with friends, I can confirm that a walk that ends up at a cafe, pub, picnic or other refreshment opportunity will be more popular than one that doesn’t!

Whilst Walkfest is primarily an opportunity to walk and discover the area, we do try to take the refreshments aspect into account. Obviously, on long all-day walks one doesn’t want a heavy meal at lunchtime but the picnic stop along the way is much more than just a refueling session. In contrast, a good number of the shorter walks are around Guildford and timed so that a meal or drink, before or after the walk, can become an integral part of the experience – often with other folk from the walk and including newly made acquaintances.

We even manage to incorporate food and drink into a small number of the events. This year, one such event is our walk from Gomshall on 23rd September. Whilst researching Gomshall for another walk earlier in 2022 we discovered a newly opened café as part of the Marquis Caravans complex beside Gomshall Station. Following the closure of Gomshall Mill and the nearby café/restaurant, options had seemed extremely limited in the village – which was a pity since there are several walks which start or finish there. This new café partially makes up for that loss. To support them and to introduce our walkers to a new venue, we are gathering there for coffee before we set off on our exploration. At that point you will be able to check out their menu because the intention is for us to return to the café at the end of the walk where some of us will certainly be stopping to enjoy lunch.

If you can’t get to Gomshall, other series of walks on offer include the Guildford Health Walks and the walks around Send (led by volunteers from the local Evangelical Church). As you will note from the walk summaries on their Walkfest pages, they all offer the opportunity for drinks or meals after their gentle walks.

So, don’t think of Guildford Walkfest as groups of people clocking up the miles for exercise. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The walks are social outings with the focus on enjoyment, discovering new places and enjoying sharing the experience (over a drink or meal, perhaps) with like-minded people.

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