The Countryside on our Doorstep
This edition of the blog was created by our volunteer administrator (Ben Carter) who recommends visiting another fantastic natural space in our Borough - the Chantry Woods. These are located a short distance south of the main town centre of Guildford and you can park for free at the Chantries Car Park, Pilgrim Way, Guildford, Surrey GU4 8AW.
Walking into this green woodland after a busy day of work is an enjoyable experience. There are numerous species of trees towering overhead to make a dark green canopy in mid-Summer, these include English oak, beech, ash and American redwoods, as well as various evergreens. According to the Woodland Trust, ‘green spaces can help to make us physically healthier and improve our mental wellbeing. Nature alleviates stress, stabilises blood pressure and treats anxiety and depression.’ We certainly found the woods a very special place to be as we breathed the fresh air in deeply.
The woods are managed to encourage bird and insect life to flourish and you are instantly surrounded by the sound of birdsong as you walk. There are also areas of ongoing woodland restoration work. These includes clearing spaces and replanting with a wider mix of native trees to improve biodiversity. We also spotted different bees and butterfly species including the Red Admiral, Marbled White and Comma Butterfly.
In Spring, the woods are famous for their display of colourful bluebells that carpet the woodland floor. These beautiful flowers put on a lovely display of colour, but you must be careful to stick to paths and not damage the bluebells as they are very delicate and do not recover well from human feet.
Reaching the top of the hill we emerged from the woods into open meadow and downland. There are amazing views over the rolling green countryside of the Surrey Hills which is lovely to take in. Guildford Borough Council also runs a ‘wild’ campsite here which has now re-opened to the public. See further information on their website. https://www.guildford.gov.uk/chantrywoodcampsite.
The woodland is very hilly and steep and sturdy walking trainers or boots are required as well as moderate levels of fitness. We passed runners, mountain bikers and local dog walkers enjoying an afternoon walk between the rain showers of the day as we looped back towards the car park, refreshed and with a renewed positive sense of mental wellbeing.