Industrial Heritage Trail

Industrious Farnham

Throughout its history Farnham has never been regarded as an industrial town. However industry in its broadest sense has always been present as this walk around the town centre will reveal.

Evidence for everything from the famous hops the town produced to potters from Roman times can be found in Farnham and its surrounding villages.

On this walk, you’ll find out about whalebone corsets, the greatest wooden roof in England, the winding of countless miles of twine and many buildings which are not really quite what they seem.

Start your exploration at the entrance to the Waggon Yard car park  at the foot of Downing Street or pick and choose from the numbered sites on the map during your visit. In this short leaflet we can only scratch the surface but if you’d like to learn more we suggest you visit the Museum of Farnham.

Download Farnham’s industrial heritage guide and trail or pick up a copy from the Farnham Town Council office.



Farnham Tree Trail Guide II

Farnham’s second tree trail is a self-guided walk devised by Peter Bridgeman.

This trail includes trees within the Victoria Garden, the Haren Garden, Borelli Walk, the leisure centre, East Street, the southern part of Farnham Park including The Avenue, the grounds of Farnham Castle and the top of Castle Street.

Download your map of the Farnham tree trail guide II or see the first Farnham tree trail guide.

  The Victoria Garden

1. Hawthorn or quickthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
A common small native tree or hedging plant producing masses of white flowers in May and is often called May blossom and with red fruit or haws in the autumn. If you see similar bushes flowering in March it will be a blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) or sloe. The sloes or small plums in the late summer are bitter but useful for making sloe gin!

Tree trail II no-1-hawthorn-may-blossom

Hawthorn, May blossom

 2. Snowy mespilus (Amelanchier larmarchii)
A large shrub or small tree originally form the North America but naturalized in Europe and Britain. Lovely, but brief white flowers in spring at the same time as coppery pink new foliage which turn to green then dramatically to red in the autumn.


Snowy mespilus bush


Leaves in autumn

The Victoria Garden was created in 1997 on the site of the former Victorian open-air swimming baths and is maintained by volunteers. It is well worth spending time here. It is like a secret garden and has won awards from the RHS and gold medals in the Britain in Bloom competition.

 Rear of Council Offices

 3. Purple Dawyck beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Dawyck Purple’)
The original green upright or fastigiate Dawyck beech was discovered at the Dawyck Botanic Gardens, near Pebbles, Scotland in the mid-19th century. This purple form, like a golden type, was raised in Holland in the mid-20th century. A splendid, tall specimen tree – but this one is a little hidden. There are three other beech on this tour, including the native common green as well as purple and cut-leaved cultivars. There is also a weeping beech along West Street.

Farnham tree trail part II. No-3-purple-dawyck-beech

Purple Dawyck beech

The Haren Garden

 4. Norway maple (Acer platanoides)
A large impressive tree from Europe and long cultivated in this country. There are many cultivars including purple, golden, variegated, cut-leaved and erect types. Note the angles of the seed wings compared with sycamore and field maple.

Farnham Tree trail II No. 4 Norway maple

Norway maple, autumn colour

Farnham tree trail II. No 4 Norway maple leaf and seed.

Norway maple leaf and seed.

5. Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus)
Another large tree in the maple family originally from Europe and Western Asia but long established in this country where it can become a weed problem with its abundance of seedlings. Again there are many cultivars. The timber is used in furniture making and treen.
There is a field maple later in the tour and these three maples can be readily identified by their leaves and the differing angles of the seed wings.

Farnham tree trail part II. No 5 sycamore leaf and seed

Sycamore leaf and seed

The Haren Garden commemorates the friendship between the people of Farnham and those of Haren in the Netherlands by whom the plaque was presented. People of Farnham sent food parcels to Holland at the end of WWII and again helped following the North Sea floods in 1953.

 Into Borelli Walk

 6. White poplar (Populus alba)
Long cultivated and naturalized in this country and readily reproduced from suckers. It is often a multi-stemmed low spreading tree but we will see some larger specimens at the Sports Centre. Gets its name from the white under side of the leaves. Attractive whitish bark with dark diamonds. Like most poplars it is relatively short lived.

Farnham and Farnham park tree trail II No 6 white poplar

White poplar

 7. English or pedunculate oak (Quercus robur)
Probably the most well known of our native trees producing a large spreading and long lived tree with some in Farnham Park dating back 500 years. There is another native oak, Quercus petraea or the sessile oak. Sessile means stalkless and this appears confusing as the leaf of Quercus petraea has a leaf stalk and Quercus robur does not. The term sessile here refers to the stalkless acorn. There is an evergreen oak in the Library Gardens in West Street and in Wrecclesham and an upright or fastigiated oak outside the Maltings café and at the Water Lane Sainsbury’s. All are recognised by the unique acorn seed.

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Ancient English oak

Farnham and Farnham Park tree trail II no-7-english-oak acorns

English oak acorns and leaves

 8. Red oak (Quercus rubra)
A native of North Eastern America and Eastern Canada and introduced into Britain in 1724. A large spreading tree with brilliant red autumn colour. Grown as a timber tree in America but as an ornamental in this country, it does not grow so well up north. There are good large specimens in Beavers Road.

Farnham Park tree trail II no-8-red-oak-summer-leaf

Red oak summer leaf

 No 8 red oak autumn colour
9. Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica)
The green leaved tree originating from the Atlas mountains of Algeria and Morocco was introduced into this country in the mid-19th century. This specimen is the blue Atlas cedar (C. a. ‘Glauca’). There are also a golden, upright and a weeping cultivars. There is a large specimens of the Atlas cedar at Farnham Castle and there is another fine specimen at the War Memorial near to St Thomas-on-the-Bourne Church.


Blue atlas cedar

Farnham and Farnham Park tree trail IIno-9-blue-atlas-cedar-foliage

Blue atlas cedar foliage

 10. Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica)
 A small to medium-size, often low-spreading tree with peeling bark like the London plane and splendid autumn colour. Originating from Northern Persia (Iran) to the Caucasus and introduced in 1841. This particular tree is Parrotia persica ‘Vanessa’, a cultivar with a more tree-like habit and was raised in Holland in the 1970’s.

Farnham and Farnham Park tree trail IIno-10-persian-ironwood

Persian ironwood

11. Sweet gum (Liquidambar styracifera)
A native of E.USA and introduced into this country in the 17th century. Grows into a large tree with selected forms having wonderful autumn colour, one of the best is for this is the cultivar Liquidambar styracifera ‘Worplesdon’ There are many good specimens around the town with one with great autumn colour on Bourne Green.

Farnham and Farnham Park tree trail no 11 Sweet gum Bourne Green

Sweet gum, Bourne Green

The Borelli Walk along the River Wey off South Street was named in honour of Charles E Borelli a prominent resident of Farnham and Chairman of the former Farnham Urban District Council for many years until his death in 1950. Much of his work was in conjunction with Harold Falkner, Farnham’s famous architect and together they founded the original Farnham Society in 1911.

 Over the footbridge to the Sports Centre

You will see large specimens of purple Norway maple and white poplar.
 12. Aspen (Populus tremula)
A medium size tree, long established in this country but originally from Europe, Asia and Northern Africa. Readily distinguished from other poplars by the trembling foliage even in light winds due to its slender, flattened leaf stalk. Found outside Lidl.

Farnham and Farnham Park tree trail no 12 Aspen poplar

Aspen poplar

Through to East Street

13. Cut or fern-leaved beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Asplenifolia’)
A long established cultivar of the common beech with long, deeply cut leaves looking like a fern. Forms a very attractive large tree. There is a good specimen near the library in Aldershot. This one is suffering from an invasion of wooly scale insects on the trunk and branches. The insect is hidden by white down and, although not particularly damaging, they can weaken the tree and more importantly allow the entry of the more serious beech bark disease, caused by a fungus.

Farnham and Farnham Park tree trail no 13 cut-leaved-beech

Cut leaved beech

14. Copper or Purple beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Riversii’)
Another cultivar of the common beech. There are many examples of this cultivar in Farnham which exhibits wonderful coppery coloured leaves in the spring but change to a rather dull dark purple in summer.

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Purple beech summer foliage


Purple beech in spring

To the front of the Woolmead

15. Red horse chestnut (Aesculus x carnea)
A hybrid between A. hippocastanum, the common white species and A. pavia. This is a more compact tree and is likely to be the cultivar ‘Briotii’. There are other specimens of the common and red horse chestnut in Farnham Park.


Red horse chestnut tree


Red horse chestnut flower

Up Bear Lane

16. Fig (Ficus carica)
Originating in Western Asia but grown in this country since the early 16th century, there are many varieties producing the edible fruit which take two years to develop. The leaves vary in size. However all have this very distinctive shape. Best grown against a wall.

Farnham and Farnham Park tree trail II no 16 fig

Fig tree


Fig leaf

 Into Farnham Park

 17. Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
Ultimately a large tree from the eastern side of North America and introduced in 1688. It has very distinctive leaves which turn a rich butter- yellow in the autumn and tulip-like flowers in June/July. There is a large specimen standing in the grass verge on Farnborough Road near Optiplan Kitchens showrooms.


Tulip tree


Leaf of tulip tree

 18. False acacia (Robinia pseudoacacia)
A native of USA but found in this country since 1600 and now naturalized, it produces a good display of large pea-like white flowers in May/June. There is a large specimen at the top of Green Lane. There is an attractive compact yellow-leaved cultivar Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’ but this is prone to disease.


False acacia flowers


False acacia bark

19. Maidenhair Tree (Ginkgo biloba)
Introduced in 1754 from China with an early planting at Kew Gardens in 1762 which is still there. In its native China there are specimens some 3,000 years old.
This is a very ancient species pre-dating the dinosaurs and thought to go back 150 million years. The oddly shaped leaves are easily recognisable and there is a smaller specimen a little later in the trail.


Maidenhair tree


Maidenhair tree autumn colour

20. Japanese Elm (Ulmus davidiana var. japonica)
Planted here on the recommendation of the Forestry Commission following the loss of the elms in The Avenue in the 1970’s as it was thought to be resistant to Dutch Elm Disease. This has proved to be the case but due to a weak branch and fork structure several have fallen apart and their future will need to be assessed.

Farnham and Farnham Park no 20 Japanese elm foliage

Japanese elm foliage

 The Avenue

 The avenue of huge elms was one of the main tree features running though the centre of the park for 1km. During the 20th century some of these had to be felled and replaced but the final blow was the introduction of the more virulent form of Dutch Elm Disease which killed the remainder.



The Avenue, lime and beech trees


The Avenue in autumn

21. Beech (Fagus sylvatica)
One of the most noble and versatile of our native trees with many attractions from lime green spring foliage, deep summer shade and glorious yellow to gold to copper autumn colours. It is grown as a timber tree for furniture, a stately parkland tree or as a domestic garden hedge with the dead leaves persisting through the winter. Not as long lived as, say, the oak but there are late 18th century specimens at the southern edge of the RSPB reserve at Bourne Wood. Pigs even eat the seeds known as beech mast.
There are many cultivars and there is a weeping beech along West Street.

Farnham and Farnham Park tree trail II no 21 Beech Bourne woods trunk

Beech, Bourne woods

no-21-beech in autumn colour

Beech in autumn colour

 22. Limes (Tilia species)
 There are over 20 species of lime grown in this country. The common lime (Tilia x europaea) and Tilia platyphyllos, the broad-leaved lime, are the most commonly planted but both produce honey-dew, a troublesome sticky substance caused by sap-sucking aphids. Both are tall stately trees suitable for parkland and for roadside planting as they tolerate heavy pruning and pollarding. Tilia x euchlora is another, slightly smaller species which does not suffer from honey-dew. Tilia cordata is a smaller-leaved native but is not commonly seen in this area. All have heart-shaped leaves and a unique seed and seed wing.


Lime, Pollarded street tree

Farnham and Farnham Park tree trail II no 22 Lime seed

Lime seed

23. Turkey Oak (Quercus cerris)
A native of Southern Europe and Asia Minor and now naturalised in Great Britain. A very fast- growing large tree but unlike the English oak, the timber has little value. Readily distinguished from the common oak by scale-like hairs on the buds and acorn cups. There is another large specimen on Langham Recreation ground in The Ridgeway.


Turkey oak foliage

 24. Field Maple (Acer campestre)
 A medium sized native tree commonly seen on chalk soils as a stand-alone tree or as part of a hedgerow. Produces lovely butter yellow autumn colour. There are two other common maples, the sycamore and Norway maple. Note the 180 degree angle of the seed wings.


Field maple flower and seed


Field maple autumn leaves

 Near the cricket ground

 25. Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa)
A long-lived, drought-resistant large tree which originated from North Africa and Asia Minor but was likely imported to Britain by the Romans. Large spear like leaves are quite distinct. Produces long yellowish catkins in July, followed by the edible chestnuts housed in a very prickly seed case which helps protect them from being consumed by animals. It has been used as timber for centuries as it makes very durable timber and responds well to coppicing (cutting back to ground level on a cycle of years).


Sweet chestnut summer flowers


Sweet chestnut autumn fruit

26. English Elm (Ulmus procera)
This large native tree was a common and very impressive site in hedgerows and field boundaries and an important timber tree but most were lost in the 1970’s when a more virulent form of Dutch Elm Disease was imported from the USA on infected timber. It has been estimated that over 20 million trees were lost. The fungus is unknowingly spread by the elm beetle which transmits the disease from an infected tree to a healthy one. There is hope of a cure but at this time suckers, will grow from the deceased tree and they will be free of the disease until the bark is thick enough to provide a nesting site for the female beetle to lay its eggs. There are a few remaining pockets of mature elms, the best being in Brighton, which holds the ‘National’ collection of elms.

no-26-the-effect-of-dutch-elm-disease copyright Peter Bridgeman

The effect of dutch elm disease

Farnham Castle

27. Hickory (Carya species)
There are several species of hickory grown in this country and this is likely to be the shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) introduced from the States in the 17th century. Another hickory (Carya illinoinensis) produces the pecan nut in America. The very large pinnate leaves are up to 50cm in length and produce lovely yellow autumn colours. It’s in the same family as walnut. There is a larger specimen at the Alice Holt Arboretum.

Farnham and Farnham Park tree trail II no-27 Hickory leaves

Hickory leaves

28. Giant redwood or Wellingtonia (Sequoiadendron giganteum)
A native of USA and introduced into this country in 1853. There is an early planting at Stratfield Saye planted in 1857 on the death of the Duke of Wellington; hence the common name in the UK but he had nothing to do with the tree. In California one of these trees, ‘The General Sherman’ is some 84m tall, weighs around 2,500 tons and is estimated to be about 3,000 years old. Occasionally trees in this country get above 50m. This one is 30m-plus but has lost its top few metres.

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Giant redwood tree at Farnham Castle

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Leaves and cones of giant redwood

29. Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani)
A large broad-crowned tree, a native of South West Asia and Syria and introduced into this country in the mid 17th century. Not as fast-growing as the Atlas cedar but it does achieve great size and spread with huge flat tiered branches. This one is a little battered by its exposed situation and there is a better specimen in the museum gardens in West Street and some old vets at Rangers House, Farnham Park.


Cedar of Lebanon at Farnham Castle

Back to Castle Street

30. Purple-leaved plum (Prunus cerasifera ‘Pissardii’)
A small tree a native of Persia and introduced in the late 19th century. It has attractive white/pinkish flowers in very early spring but forms into a rather scruffy, twiggy tree and Alan Mitchell, Farnham’s late, great tree man, called it ‘the unsightly pissy plum’ – judge for yourselves. There’s one planted outside Cote Brasserie in the Lion and Lamb Yard.


Purple leaved plum


summer foliage

31. Coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)
The other of the redwood trees from USA, this one grows nearer the coast in California and Oregon and was introduced into this country in the 1840’s. In its natural habitat it will grow to 100m-plus and is a contender for tallest tree in the world, but some say the gums (Eucalyptus) in Australia would challenge that. There are good specimens of both redwoods in the Alice Holt Arboretum


Coast redwood leaves

Farnham and Farnham Park tree trail II no 28 giant redwood

redwood at Alice Holt

32. Deodar or deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara)
The cedar is readily recognised by its drooping leading shoots. A native of Western Himalaya which first came to the UK in 1831. Grows to a large, splendid tree and this one is likely to be the golden form Cedrus deodara ‘Aurea’ with bright yellow spring growth turning green/gold by summer.


Deodar cedar




Farnham’s Tree Trail

A self guided circular tree trail of central Farnham by Peter Bridgeman.

Download the Map of trail

Starting in Gostrey Meadow

1. Lombardy Poplar (Populus nigra ‘Italica’)
Introduced into Britain from Northern Italy in 1758. Often looks taller than it is due to its fastigiate or upright form. Can grow to 40m. This is around 30m (100 ft) and is one of the tallest trees in Farnham. Like many poplars, they are comparatively short-lived. One was felled this summer due to decay. There are several other species of poplar in Farnham.

Lombardy Poplar (Populus nigra ‘Italica’) copyright Peter Bridgeman

Lombardy Poplar and Gingko

2. Maidenhair Tree (Ginkgo biloba)
Introduced in 1754 from China, with the first recorded planting at Kew Gardens by Princess Augusta, mother of George III, in 1762 and it’s still there at 250 plus years old. There are specimens in China some 3000 years old. A very ancient species pre-dating the dinosaurs, with some saying they go back 150 million years. The dried leaves have many therapeutic properties and the Institute for Natural Products Research claimed can prevent bed-wetting, soothe bladder irritation, treat intestinal worms and cure gonorrhea!
3. Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glytostroboides)
This native of China was thought to be extinct until found in the Szechwan region in 1941 and first introduced to England in 1948. One of the original plantings is at Cambridge Botanic Gardens and is already over 20m tall with a wonderful fluted trunk. It is a deciduous conifer like the swamp cypress (Taxodium) and larch (Larix). This one is some 40 years old

Dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyostroboides), Gostrey meadow copyright Peter Bridgeman

Dawn redwood

Dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyostroboides), Gostrey meadow (2) copyright Peter Bridgeman

Dawn redwood foliage

4. Golden Weeping Willow (Salix x sepulcralis ‘Chrysocoma)
Introduced from France in the early 19 century. Frequently planted as a landscape feature near water but will grow on most soils. It’s a very thirsty tree so not suitable close to buildings on shrinkable clay soils. Probably the most recognizable of all large trees.

Golden weeping willow (Salix x sepulcralis), Gostrey Meadow (2) copyright Peter Bridgeman

Golden weeping willow

5. Alder (Alnus glutinosa)
A native of Britain and Europe and will grow in most soils but very tolerant of wet conditions, as can be seen either side of the wooden walkway at the southern end of Frensham Little Pond where they are growing right in the boggy area. The timber was used to make clogs in northern England. The cone like seed case is quite distinctive.
6. English or Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur)
There are some 600 species of oak worldwide and there are over 180 listed in the Hillier Manual. There are many specimens of the native English oak in Farnham and the oldest are in Farnham Park where one is thought to date back 500 years. The hard and durable timber was used for ship-building and structural timbers in building construction. The only other native is the sessile oak. You will see three more oak species on this walk.

Oak tree Gostrey Meadow copyright FTC

English Oak tree

7. Golden Rain Tree or Pride of India (Koelreuteria paniculata)
A medium sized tree from China and Taiwan introduced into this country in 1763. Grows up to 12m tall with attractive small yellow flowers in July/August and bladder-like, three sectioned orange/pink- coloured fruit in the autumn.

Golden Rain Treet or Pride of India (Koelreuteria paniculuta) copyright Peter Bridgeman

Golden Rain

8. Ash (Fraxinus excelsior)
Native of Europe and Britain, a common hedgerow tree with many forms and varieties. There are thousands of young ash along the Hogs Back and on many main roads around Farnham. Now threatened with a fungal disease Chalara. The flexible timber was used for aircraft construction during and after WW1 and now for quality tool handles, snooker cues and it makes by far the best logs for open fires and wood-burning stoves. Easily recognized by the black buds and divided (pinnate) leaves.

Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) copyright Peter Bridgeman


Cross Longbridge

9. Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)
Native of the borders of Greece and Albania and introduced into Britain in the early 17 century.
One of the most attractive large trees with its flowers in May and the kids’ favourite with the autumn conkers. In recent years this species has suffered from the double problem of a leaf minor moth on the leaves and a bacteria (Phytophthora) causing a bleeding canker on the trunks. There are two red horse Chestnuts in the pedestrian area at the Woolmead.

Horse chestnut tree (Aesculus hippocastanum), Longbridge copyright Peter Bridgeman

Horse chestnut

 Up Longbridge to junction of Red Lion Lane

10. Weeping, Willow-leaved or Silver Pear (Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula)
A native of the Caucasus and introduced in the late 18C. An attractive small tree suitable for very confined spaces with white flowers in spring and very small inedible pears.

Weeping, willow-leaved or Silver Pear (Pyrus salicifolia), Bridge Square copyright Peter Bridgeman

Weeping, willow-leaved or Silver Pear

 11. Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris)
A true native of Scotland and Northern Europe but has grown naturally in the south, particularly on acid heathlands. There are thousands at Bourne Wood and Frensham Little Pond. It is also planted as a quick-growing forest tree and the trees felled to recreate the RSPB reserve at Bourne Wood were planted to be felled for timber. The wood is used for building and furniture and is durable if kept dry. Lovely orange bark in the higher crown.

Scotts pine (Pinus sylvestris), Firgrove Hill copyright Peter Bridgeman

Scotts pine

 Bridge over the bypass


12. English Elm (Ulmus procera)
Native of Britain and Europe but over 20 million large trees were lost to Dutch Elm Disease in the 1970’s. These are just suckers from the original parent trees and they too will succumb to the disease once trees produce sufficient bark to attract the elm bark beetle that transmits the fungal disease. There was a wonderful avenue of elms in Farnham Park but they were lost and replaced with limes and beech. The timber is used for furniture, especially chair seats, and Ercol stored many felled tree trunks in old gravel pits as the wood will not deteriorate under water. There is a ‘National’ collection of elms in Brighton.

English Elm (Ulmus procera) copyright Peter Bridgeman

English Elm

 Back to the Maltings

13. Upright or Cypress Oak (Quercus robur Fastigiate group). Outside the Maltings café
This is an attractive more confined upright shaped oak. Other examples of oaks in and around Farnham are a large evergreen oak to the rear of the Museum which we shall see shortly, a Turkey oak in Langham Recreation ground in The Ridgeway there is a red oak later in the tour. You can always recognize oaks as they all have acorns.

Upright or Cypress Oak (Quercus robur), Maltings cafe copyright Peter Briedgeman

Upright or Cypress Oak

 St Andrew’s Parish Church

14. Yew (Taxus baccata)
A native conifer frequently seen in churchyards but also makes an ornamental tree and is good for hedging and topiary. One of the longest living organisms in the world, with trees in this country thought to date back 4,000 to 5,000 years. There was one in the churchyard at Selbourne thought to be 1500 years old but this fell over in 1990 and was propped up by students from Merrist Wood – but it finally fell to pieces in 2011. The foliage and fruit are toxic. Robin Hood’s long bow was made from Yew wood and the timber is used for decorative veneers.

Yew (Taxus baccata), St Andrew's churchyard copyright Peter Bridgeman


15. Irish Yew (Taxus baccata ‘Fastigiata)
An upright clone first discovered in 1780 by George Willis in the gardens of Florence Court in Northern Ireland and now widely planted as an ornamental tree. Again often seen in churchyards due to its sombre appearance. There is also a golden form.
16. Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)
Native of Great Britain and Europe and common in hedgerows in woodlands, especially on the clay soils of Essex. Like beech it makes a good hedge and again like beech hedges holds its dead leaves though the winter. There are several forms and cultivars and these two trees are of semi-fastigiate form. You will see a good specimen of hornbeam at the entrance to the Bush Hotel car park with a sculptured-like trunk.

Hornbeam, St Andrew's Churchyard (Carpinus betulus) copyright Peter Bridgeman


West Street

17. Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani). In the library gardens
A native of NW Asia and Syria and introduced into the UK in 1645. This specimen is likely to be over 250 years old. There are also large specimens at Rangers House in Farnham Park planted in the 18th century and another storm-battered old tree in the castle grounds. The large spreading branches are prone to wind and heavy snow damage and the tree here has been braced to prevent damage. You will see a blue Atlas cedar later.

Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani) copyright Peter Bridgeman

Cedar of Lebanon

18. Evergreen or Holm Oak (Quercus ilex)
Native to the Mediterranean region but cultivated in this country since the 16C. It can grow to very large proportions but is not completely hardy up north. It is planted as shelter belts in coastal areas in the south and south-west as it is wind and salt tolerant. The bark of the cork oak (Quercus suber) is used to make the corks for wine bottles and is grown extensively in Portugal. Like the holm oak it is evergreen. The change to screw-top wine bottles has resulted in the decline in trees grown for their bark.

Evergreen or Holm Oak (Quercus ilex) copyright Peter Bridgeman

Evergreen or Holm Oak

19. Weeping Beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula) Along West Street
This is a cultivar first produced in 1836 and grafted onto the normal beech rootstock. Forms a very attractive large tree but needs space to grow; this one is too confined. You shall see a purple beech later on the trail and there is also a fastigiate form called the Dawyck beech discovered at Dawyck Botanic Gardens in Scotland. The native beech is a large, common tree with lovely lime green foliage in the spring and good autumn colour, there is a group of three 18th century beech on the southern boundary of the RSPB reserve at Bourne Wood opposite the entrance to Frensham Garden Centre.
20. Manna or Flowering Ash (Fraxinus ornus)
A medium to large tree first introduced from Southern Europe and South West Asia around 1700. Differs from the native ash by its large creamy white flowers in May and clusters of fruit seen in late summer. A sugary substance can be extracted from cutting the bark and rumour has it that this was the source of the Manna from Heaven that helped sustain the Israelites in their exodus from Egypt. Others state the manna came from the Tamarix tree, as will be seen in Potters Gate.

 Across to Potters Gate and on to Beavers Road

21. Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
A native of NE America and east Canada and introduced to the UK in 1724. A large spreading tree that will tolerate a wide range of conditions including industrial. Can grow to 30m plus. Used as a timber tree in the States but does not grow that well in Scotland. Good autumn colour.
22. Mistletoe (Viscum album) At the entrance to UCA
A semi-parasitic plant that lives on many species of trees such as poplars, limes, rowan, birch, fruit trees and is seen here on maple. It does not usually cause much harm but in this case it is becoming too dominant and the weakened branches could break in high winds. There is much folklore and superstition associated with this plant from the pleasant Christmas custom to Druid and Norse mythology. The seeds are spread by bird droppings.
Please also see a white berried rowan (Sorbus cashmiriana), a small tree with gleaming white berries introduced from Kashmir.

Mistletoe (Viscum album) copyright Peter Bridgeman


23. Silver Birch (Betula pendula)
A native of Europe and the UK and a common tree in this area. Can grow quite tall but with slender and graceful branches and pendulous twigs. It is quite shallow rooting so is one of the first to suffer in drought conditions. There are many forms and cultivars including a true weeping form Betula pendula ‘Youngii’ a small tree with pendulous branches. There’s a good example in the front garden of a house at the junction of Firgrove Hill and Alfred Road.

Silver Birch (Betula pendula) copyright Peter Bridgeman

Silver Birch

24. Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica)
A small to medium sized tree with a wide spreading habit and often multi-stemmed. It has attractive peeling bark but its main feature is the magnificent autumn leaf colour turning from green to yellow though gold, brown and crimson. It is in the same family as witch hazel with small red flowers in winter. A native of Northern Persia to the Caucasus mountains and first introduced to Britain in 1841.

Hart Car Park

Please note the trees planted in the Hart car park, a few are growing well but most are struggling due to poor or inadequate soil preparation. Compare the London planes within the car park to those within the grassed area around the perimeter.

25. Himalayan Birch (Betula utilis var. jacquemontii)
One of the Himalayan birches with snowy white bark introduced in 1890. Grows to a medium sized tree. There are many forms and variations in bark colour.

Himalayan Birch (Betula pendula) copyright Peter Bridgeman

Himalayan Birch

Castle Street

26. London Plane (Platanus x hispanica)
A hybrid tree (P. occidentalis x P.orientalis). Found in Spain in the mid 17th century and first recorded in the UK in 1663. It has large maple-like leaves and wonderful mottled and peeling bark. Forms huge trees 40m plus tall and one tree planted in the Bishops Palace at Ely has a trunk diameter of 3m. Tolerates urban conditions and responds well to pollarding as can be seen here. These three trees were planted to mark Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 so are about 120 years old. The timber is used for furniture and is called lacewood.

London Plane (Platanus x hispanica), Castle Street

London Plane

 Across The Borough to Borelli Yard

27. Indian Bean Tree (Catalpa bignoniodes)
Native to North America and introduced to Britain in 1726. Grows very fast at first and soon appears quite old, this one was only planted in about 1990 so is only 25 years old. Showy large white spikes of flowers with yellow and purple marking leading to the long bean like pods that persist. A great tree for creating shade and is well suited to this location.

Indian bean tree (capalpa bignoniodes), Borrelli Yard copyright Peter Bridgeman

Indian Bean tree

Central Car Park

Note the Cockspur Thorn (Crataegus crus-galli) with huge thorns and the good and poor tree planting in the car park. Note the recent planting of Turkish hazel Corylus colurna) and the established box elder trees (Acer negundo) on the side nearest Victoria Road. The box elder has pinnate or divided leaves, unusual for maples.

Across South Street (on the way you will see the hornbeam at the Bush Hotel).

Hornbeam copyright Peter Bridgeman


28. False Acacia (Robinia pseudoacacia) Sainsbury’s car park
Native of USA but found in this country since 1600 and now naturalised. Good display of white pea-like flowers in May/June. There is a large specimen at the top of Green lane. There are several forms and an attractive compact yellow-leaved cultivar ‘Frisia’ makes a good small garden tree but is more prone to disease. Note the dead ivy, just cut it at the base.

Brightwells House

29.Purple Beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Riversii)
This is another variation of the beech commonly called copper or purple beech. This is a fine specimen but its future is uncertain as it is included within the Brightwells/East Street redevelopment scheme.

Purple Beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Riversii’) copyright Peter Bridgeman

Purple Beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Riversii’)

30. Walnut (Juglans regia)
A slow-growing round-headed tree that has been cultivated in this country since the Roman times both for its fruit, ornament and its prized timber. The fruit in the form of nuts does not normally ripen in this country unless we have a long hot and dry summer, but you can pickle green walnuts. The timber is used for veneers on fine furniture. There’s an Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica) nearby.

Walnut (Juglans regia) copyright Peter Bridgeman


 Across to The Victoria Garden

31. Rowan or Mountain Ash (Sorbus aucuparia)
A small to medium sized native tree called the mountain ash as the divided leaves resemble ash and it will grow at high altitudes (even above 1000 feet in Scotland, higher than any species). There are many ancient associations with magic and witchcraft and these trees were planted around Scottish crofts to ward off evil. There are many forms and cultivars. The birds enjoy the red fruit and if you are desperate the same fruit can be used to make Rowanberry wine.
32. Whitebeam (Sorbus aria)
The same genus as rowan but very different. The leaves are simple and greenish-grey above and almost white on the underside – hence its name. The trees here are a cultivar ‘Lutescens ‘ The whitebeam is a native of Southern England, especially on chalk downs as can be seen along the Hogs Back. A good garden tree and there are many cultivars.

Back to Gostrey Meadow

33. Paper Handkerchief Tree (Davidia involucrata)
Passed the war memorial next to the (now closed) bowling green. A medium sized tree with very conspicuous pairs of white bracts in April/May. These look like flowers but are modified leaves looking a little like a handkerchief, a small dove or are a bit spooky. A native of China first described in 1869 and introduced into this country in 1904 by one of the great plant collectors, Ernest ‘Chinese’ Wilson.

pocket handkerchief tree Gostrey Meadow copyright FTC

Pocket Handkerchief

Paper handkerchief tree Arboreta copyright Peter Bridgeman

Paper Handkerchief leaves

Paper handkerchief tree fruit copyright FTC

Paper Handkerchief fruit

Other interesting trees in Farnham slightly out of the town centre:-

Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
There is a large specimen standing by the roadside on Farnborough Road nearly opposite the showrooms of Optiplan Kitchens.

Introduced from North America in 1688, this large tree has unique shaped leaves and tulip-like yellow/green flowers in June/July.

Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
Several large specimens along Frensham Road with a row on the boundary between the SE Water reservoir and Prior Court. (There is another odd tree in the grounds of the reservoir called a telephone tree, it’s a 12m tall plastic and metal telecom mast poorly disguised as a cypress tree!)

The Douglas fir is native to North West America where it was first discovered by Archibald Menzies in 1792 and introduced to GB in 1827 by David Douglas another of the great plant collectors. It can grow to over 90m (300 ft) in the States and is among the tallest trees in Britain, reaching over 60m (200 ft) in sheltered Scottish glens.

Giant Redwood or Wellingtonia (Sequoiadendron giganteum)
There is a good specimen in the grounds of Farnham Castle

A native of California USA where these trees form some of the largest organisms on earth. One, the ‘General Sherman’, is some 84m tall, has a trunk diameter of 8m, weighs around 2500 tons and is estimated to be 3000 years old. Only introduced into this country in 1853 and one of the first plantings was at Stratfield Saye in 1857 to mark the death of The Duke of Wellington; hence the name but he had nothing to do with this tree. There’s one at Benmore in Scotland at 54m and another at Polecat Copse near Haslemere nearly as tall. Our one is only a pup at some 20m.

Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)
There is one standing close to the road in the garden of Hamilton House just below the castle in Castle Street.

Another giant redwood tree from California and Oregon, again discovered by Archibald Menzies in 1794, introduced to Europe in 1840 and three years later into Britain. In its natural habitat it will grow to 100m-plus and is a contender for the tallest tree in the world, but the gum trees (Eucalyptus) of Australia would challenge that.

Golden Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodara ‘Aurea’)

Its drooping leading shoots distinguish this species and there is a fine example of the golden form in the front garden of a house at the top of Castle Street. The deodar was introduced from West Himalaya in 1831 and can grow into a very large tree.

Mulberry (Morus nigra) black (Morus alba) white

The ‘Mulberry Hotel’ near Farnham station is named after a mulberry standing in the garden. At one time they were claiming this tree to be 300 years old but in my estimation it’s less than 100. The tree was introduced in the early 16C from Asia and its leaves are the staple diet of the silkworm. It is quite a small-growing tree and can look gnarled and old when comparatively young. The tree at the Mulberry has suffered in the recent past by excavations around its rooting area.

Film Locations

Farnham and its wonderful countryside, in particular the coniferous woodland of Bourne Woods near Tilford, is frequently been used as a film location, including the blockbusters: Gladiator (2000), Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2009), Robin Hood (2010), War Horse (2011) and Transformers: The Last Knight (2016).

Frensham Ponds provided the prefect backdrop for Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) and most recently The Huntsman, the prequel to Snow White and the Huntsman (2015). Waverley Abbey has also hosted numerous filming and photography shots.
Though there might not be any sets left to view, the Greensand Ridge is lovely to stroll upon and admire local wildlife, such as woodlark, the Dartford warbler and even a sand lizard if you are lucky.

All of these locations are free to visit and explore although access might be restricted when they are actually filming!


If you are looking for a film location you will need permission from the relevant authority or land owner. For more filming information.


Image of Bourne Woods © Julian Paynter

St Swithun’s Way

St Swithun’s Way is a 34 mile track running between Winchester, the capital of Saxon England, and historic Farnham. Whilst not tracing the original route of the Pilgrim’s Way, as much of this is now the A31, St Swithun’s Way starts at Winchester Cathedral and weaves its way east through the picturesque Itchen Valley along the path of the River Wey to reach Farnham.
St Swithun’s Day, if thou dost rain,
For forty days it will remain:
St Swithun’s Day, if thou be fair,
For forty days ’twill rain nae mair.

North Downs Way

The North Downs Way is an inspirational journey from Farnham to Canterbury via Guildford and the White Cliffs of Dover, through a beautiful landscape rich in heritage. Download the North Downs Way leaflet.

In October 2015 a new start sculptural sign for the North Downs Way, designed locally by FdK Design and created by and Utopia Forge, Guildford Video of art work creation has been installed  at Hinkley Corner. With support from Surrey County Council.

Inspiring visitors

In the summer of 2015 the North Downs Way was captured by the Google Trekker; a panoramic Google Street View camera mounted on a backpack designed to go “off-road” to map areas Google has never been before. To inspire visitors to the trail. The images of the entire trail can be viewed at

The Google images will encourage people to explore the trail from the comfort of their homes and to inspire them to put on their shoes and walk the trail. This will attract more visitors to the communities and businesses along the trail and will have a positive impact on the local visitor economy.

For further information visit and


Accessible Trails

Alice Holt has an accessible double looped trail (1.5 miles/ 2.5 km) designed for those with limited mobility or with a buggy. Tel: 01420 520212.

Farnham Park has a lower wide path from which to view the landscape, becoming a circular walk taking in The Avenue of trees towards the castle when the ground is not wet.

The Basingstoke Canal and Blackwater Valley, off the M3 junction 4, offer a restored waterway and towpath linear trail suitable for wheelchairs and 23 mile of riverside path of which eight miles are accessible. Tel: 01252 370073.

Enjoy an accessible trail across open heathland on Elstead Common, which is also known for its many species of dragon fly. Start at the parking area at Royal Common off the B3001, bus service 46. (top image) There is also a short boardwalk at Frensham Great Pond, near the information point, which offers a pleasant short walk suitable for wheelchairs and small children. There are information panels near the car park.

With the development of the tunnel at Hindhead the area of Hindhead Commons and Punch Bowl is now traffic free, home to an abundance of wildlife and an area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). There is now an accessible route suitable for wheelchairs, scooters and bicycles next to the National Trust car park, along which you can enjoy the magnificent views across the Devil’s Punch Bowl. Map of Hindhead and the Devil’s Punchbowl.


Frensham Ponds

Frensham Ponds were originally created in the 13th century to supply fish to the Bishop of Winchester whilst visiting Farnham Castle.
Today the ponds (great and little) and the surrounding area is a sanctuary for wildlife and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Look out for reed bunting, sedge warbler and great crested grebe, as well as nightjars and woodlarks. The great pond is also the backdrop for an hotel and used for sailing and fishing.

Part of the Greensand Way that crosses Surrey, and once drained during WWII as they were visible landmarks for the enemy, Frensham Little and Great ponds provide a wonderful local location to discover. A perfect place to run, walk dogs, build sandcastles, sail and even paddle in the summer months. Both have cafe facilities.
Frensham Ponds are part of the National Trust network and managed by Waverley Borough Council.

For a relaxing day whatever time of the year, Frensham Ponds are a great escape from the hustle and bustle. Follow a beautiful walk with a cream tea at Frensham Pond Hotel, Frensham Garden Centre or the Rural Life Centre.







Banner image © Julian Paynter

Farnham Town Walks

Discover more about Farnham and its’ history. See things you have walked passed many times before and not noticed.
Meet at Waggon Yard car park the first Sunday of each month. Walks cover between 2-3 miles and last between 1- 1 and a half hours. The cost is only £3 per head and this goes to charity at the end of the year.

Alice Holt Forest

You can walk, cycle, play or have a picnic in these lovely woods. Find the wooden sculptures which younger visitors can climb and enjoy, the Timberline Trail. Experience life in the trees with Go Ape, take a relaxing break in the café and finish your visit with a quiet stroll in one of the more remote parts of the forest. Hire bikes or bring your own there is a family cycle trail to discover.

Alice Holt is free to visit, just car parking charges to pay for your day out. An annual car parking pass makes excellent value if you live locally. And with rooms to hire you can now hold an event or party here in the Farnham countryside.

Opening times

Alice Holt Forest is open everyday (except Christmas Day) 8am- 5pm (December-February), 6pm (March), 7pm(April), 9pm (May- Spetember), 7pm (October) and 6pm (November)


Farnham Park

This green flag status, 130 hectare medieval deer park, with its impressive one kilometre tree lined Kings Avenue offers tranquility, walking paths, two excellent playgrounds (including a brand new, wooden castle play structure), football pitches to hire, a golf course, a cricket pitch and a café and toilets.

‘To walk under the gnarled, ancient boughs of the Park’s oaks, and realise these are the same trees that Kings and Queens rode past some 500 years past, gives you an enormous sense of continuity and wellbeing’   There is also a famous quote from Alfred Lord Tennyson on his visit to Farnham Park in 1853   “…the Park here is delicious…”

For more information including wildlife and history leaflets including “The wildlife of Farnham Park” see the Farnham Park website.


Playground Farnham Park 2015 copyright FTC

Playground Farnham Park 2015 copyright FTC