The Greensand Way is a spectacular long-distance walking route across two counties that encompasses some of the most beautiful viewpoints, historic sites, and quintessentially-English scenery the south has to offer.
Starting in the vibrant market town of Haslemere in Surrey, the trail follows a ridge of greensand rock east for its entire 108-mile (174-km) duration and finishes at Hamstreet in Kent, just south of Ashford and not far from the coastline.
As the route explores two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), as well as many nature reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest, the countryside is stunning and the wildlife is abundant throughout. Picnic spots and photo opportunities are everywhere on this trail.
The stretch from Hindhead to Leith Hill traverses the Surrey Hills AONB, and the Sevenoaks Ridge, from the county border to Borough Green, explores the Kent Downs AONB. Both afford breathtaking scenery and traditional villages, including England’s most haunted village, Pluckely.
There is a lot more than beautiful countryside to this route, though. You pass some historic places along the way, including: the 12th-century Reigate Castle; Chartwell, the home of Sir Winston Churchill and his family from 1922 until shortly before his death in 1965; Kent’s last medieval deer park, Knole; the 14th-century Ightham Mote, hailed as one of the most beautiful country houses in England; Sutton Valence Castle, a 12th-century Norman keep; and many Grade I-listed churches from the 13th century and beyond.
The walking is generally easy and the trail never strays too far from civilisation, making it a good choice for beginners and seasoned long-distance hikers alike. The route is waymarked throughout but it can be patchy in places.
In this Collection, I split the route into eight stages, each averaging 15 miles (24 km). Any stage that creeps above this average has a suggestion on how it can be split or, where possible, shortened. Public transport links are great along this trail, so you can conveniently tailor the itinerary, or walk single days and segments.
Every stop is relatively well-served with accommodation. However, places to stay can be limited so it is worth planning in advance and scheduling your rest days accordingly.
Both Haslemere and Hamstreet have train stations and good public transport links, making it super-easy to get to the start and finish of the trail.
The first stage winds through the northern tip of the South Downs National Park, exploring historic spots and epic viewpoints. To ease you in gently, Stage 1 is the most-leisurely …
You climb to one of the highest points in Surrey on this stage and admire a viewpoint that inspired a famous Beatles’ song.This hike takes it up a notch from the previous stage with 13.4 miles (21.6 km) of distance and 1,325 feet (404 m) of uphill, the most of any stage in the Collection.You begin with a leisurely saunter through farmland before rising over Hurtwood and descending into Hascombe, which has a unique Victorian church.
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Expect views that stretch as far as the South Downs and a slice of quintessential-Englishness on this hike. With 15.6 miles (25.1 km) of distance and 1,150 feet (350.5 m) of uphill, this is a challenging hike. However, with a general downhill-trajectory, it might not be as tough as expected. (For a suggestion on how to split the hike, read on).
This historic hike visits a 12th-century castle, an 11th-century church, and a village that featured in the Domesday Book of 1086.At 15.8 miles (25.4 km) long and with 1,100 …
You visit Sir Winston Churchill’s much-loved family home on this stage, as well as a ruined manor and a picturesque garden with panoramic views.With 15.6 miles (25.1 km) of distance, 1,300 feet (396 m) of uphill, and 1,275 feet (389 m) of downhill, this hike will really test your fitness and endurance. (For suggestions on how to split the route, see below).
You climb a hilltop with awe-inspiring views over the Weald and visit one of the most beautiful country houses in England on this stunning stage.At 16.3 miles (26.2 km) long and with 1,025 feet (312 m) of uphill and 1,175 feet (358 m) of downhill, this is another challenging hike. (For a suggestion on how to split the route, read on).
Are you afraid of ghosts? I hope not, as this hike takes you to England’s most haunted village — where you will spend the night cosying-up with no-less-than 12 different ghosts.With level walking throughout and 15 miles (24.1 km) of distance, this is one of the more-leisurely stages, leaving you plenty of time to get-to-know the ‘locals’ in Pluckley.
The final stage takes you through pretty nature reserves and quintessential English countryside.While this stage has the least amount of uphill of any in the Collection, 16.3 miles (26.2 km) is still a hefty distance. (For a suggestion on how to split the hike, see below). After saying a fond-farewell to the ghosts and ghouls of Pluckley, you hike through crop fields to East Chart and continue past Coldham Woods to Hothfield Heathlands Nature Reserve.