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.

Waverley Abbey


England’s first Cistercian abbey was built near Farnham. The now ruins of Waverley Abbey are situated in a peaceful loop of the River Wey and still give an impression of the solitude experienced by the monks who founded a monastery here almost 900 years ago.

The monastery at Waverley, the first Cistercian abbey to be established in England, was founded by William Gifford, Bishop of Winchester, in 1128. It was colonised with 12 monks and an abbot from Aumone in France. By 1187 there were 70 monks and 120 lay brothers in residence.  In 1201 the abbey buildings were badly flooded. This became a common occurrence and as a result the abbey was substantially rebuilt during the 13th century. It continued to grow in the 14th century. The monks and lay brothers farmed the surrounding land, were active in the Cistercian wool trade and provided shelter for pilgrims, travellers and an infirmary for the sick.

In 1536, with the dissolution of the monasteries, the site passed to Sir William Fitzherbert, treasurer of the king’s household. Much of the abbey was dismantled and some of the stone was reused to build Sir William More’s house at Loseley, a few miles to the east.

Today the site is managed by English Heritage and is free to visit.  Only parts, some substantial, of the buildings remain standing, although archaeological excavation has recovered the complete ground plan.

Don’t miss the graphic panels that tell the story of this important monastery.

Opening times:
Daylight hours

Please note: dogs on leads are allowed and limited parking is available.

How to find Waverley Abbey

Farnham Castle Keep

Standing on the hill for nearly 900 years, Farnham Castle and the Keep is steeped in history. The Castle overlooks the historic town of Farnham and is now a unique venue for events, meetings and weddings.

The impressive motte and shell keep of Farnham Castle was founded in 1138 by Bishop Henry of Blois.  The accommodation in the keep was updated in the 1520s. The keep was abandoned after the Civil War.

The keep is managed by Farnham Castle in partnership with English Heritage and is free of charge to visit. See the English Heritage website for more information on access and facilities.

The Keep is open most weekdays (except over Christmas and New Year) from 9am to 5pm (or dusk, if earlier). The Keep is also open 10am to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays. It is advisable to contact Farnham Castle before travelling, as opening days can vary, and admission may be weather dependent. Last entry is half an hour before closing.

For more information on opening dates and times call 01252 721194.



Museum of Farnham

The neatest spot on earth – all there is garden.” William Cobbett describing Farnham.

Farnham is a town of outstanding Georgian architecture and a designated town of craft with a lively and artistic atmosphere. The museum aims to reflect this in a varied programme of exhibitions and events for adults and children alike. The museum was founded in 1961 to provide the Farnham community with a collection dedicated to the history of the local area. The elegant Grade I listed Georgian townhouse retains many original features, including a beautiful walled garden perfect for picnics.

Displays include items from a large and eclectic collection; from archaeological artefacts to nationally important artworks by local artists and an extensive costume collection. The museum holds three major exhibitions per year which aim to please and surprise, from artistic collaborations to exhibitions designed for children and families.

Five things to see and do at the museum

1. Discover the history of a beautiful Grade I listed Georgian townhouse and its many occupants

2. Try the children’s trail or one of the activity packs for all ages

3. Have a look at the exhibitions and find out if you are an adventurous archaeologist or a civil war buff

4. See the wonderful history garden spanning from Roman gardening to a working World War II allotment

5. Join in with brass rubbing or a crafty half-term activity for children or sign up for Museum Club

If you’ve got a bit longer…

6. Ask at the local studies library for assistance with your latest school project

7. Have a picnic in the garden

8. Enjoy one of the new temporary exhibitions

9. Join the hunt for the hundred year old biscuit!

Audio guides, tours and children’s guides are available.

The Garden Gallery

A modern community venue for the town. The beautiful garden gallery in the museum garden is available for parties, conferences, exhibitions and weekly courses.

Hiring the Gallery

The gallery is self-contained and consists of a entrance hall, a main area, kitchen and toilet (disability accessible and baby changing). The building is fully wheelchair accessible and can accommodate up to 80 people. It is available for hire throughout the week, including evenings and weekends.

Opening times

Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm
Admission FREE

Wheelchair access to ground floor, shop toilet, Garden Gallery and garden.

Museum of Farnham garden room

The Rural Life Centre

The Rural Life Centre is set in over ten acres of garden and woodland, housed in purpose-built and reconstructed buildings including a chapel, cricket pavilion and school room.

Numerous events are held throughout the year from donkey days out to Weyfest. See the museum’s events calendar for details.

Opening times

Summer opening (March to the beginning of November) – Wednesday to Sunday plus Bank Holiday Mondays 10am-5pm

Winter opening – Wednesdays and Sundays only – 11am – 4pm.



Birdworld one of the largest bird parks in the country, located on the Surrey border with Hampshire it is a great place to explore for a fun and informative day out. In addition to a walk around 26 acres of aviaries and beautiful landscaped gardens, visitors can admire over 800 birds and 180 species from around the world and take part in educational feeding sessions throughout the day. Popular exhibits include The Terry Pratchett Owl Parliament, Penguin Beach and Flamingo Cove whilst, Underwater World and The Jenny Wren Farm also prove to be a big hit with all who visit.

Opening times

Open daily from 10am until 6pm (30 March – 28 Oct inclusive) and daily from 10am until 4.30pm during the winter months.

Last admissions are an hour before closing.

Free things to do

Keeping the cost of a family day out down Farnham has the brilliant Alice Holt forest (just  pay for parking) with its excellent trails to explore on wheels or by foot and wooden sculptures to clamber (plus Go Ape if you are looking for something higher off the ground)  and for the local beach visit Fresham Ponds (again just pay for parking in the summer). The  free Museum of Farnham with its changing exhibitions and local history, children’s activities and events is well worth a look and Farnham Castle keep, overlooking the town, is free of charge to the public. Waverley Abbey is wonderful to explore, managed by English Heritage and free to visit. Over the summer months every Sunday afternoon enjoy free live music at Music in the Meadow (Gostrey Meadow).

Farnham Town of Craft

England’s Craft Town

From the University for the Creative Arts to major museum, exhibition and specialist retail outlets and craft-related businesses, Farnham is home to both world renowned craft artists and to the next generation of emerging makers. Craft sits at the heart of Farnham’s distinctiveness and this special feature was acknowledged in 2013 when Farnham was designated as England’s Craft Town.

The roots of Farnham’s engagement with craft can be dated back to the time when Farnham exported white clay to the Romans. In the 16th century, potteries in Farnham were major suppliers of pottery to London. But its real emergence as a town with a special leaning towards craft is in the Victorian era and the establishment and great success of The Farnham Pottery, Wrecclesham, with its reputation for the distinctive style of work known as Greenware (so called because of the copper-green glaze).

The establishment of The Farnham School of Art in 1880 strongly promoted the education in craft subjects as part of its curriculum, and a powerful reputation was developed that has lasted throughout the 20th century and to the present day especially in courses in textiles and ceramics. Craft courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels are offered at the University for the Creative Arts at Farnham, the successor institution to the Art School. Craft courses in jewellery, metalwork, glass as well as in textiles and ceramics offer today’s emerging craft makers unrivalled opportunities in some of the best equipped studios and workshops in any specialist university in the country.

The opportunity to exhibit, sell and present contemporary crafts in Farnham is a significant feature of the town’s creative programme. The emergence of the Farnham Maltings as an arts centre in the 1970s has been of especial importance to the cultural life of Farnham, and the crafts have very strongly featured in its contemporary programme: right at the heart of its diverse cultural offer. There are year-round exhibitions featuring young as well as world class craft makers. There is a particular focus on the craft fair, with an unrivalled series of events featuring everything from textiles to sugarcraft, drawing international audiences to the town and having a powerful and positive effect on the creative economy. Craft studios are established in the Farnham Maltings to sustain the craft infrastructure.

Craft across the centuries can been seen and researched from Farnham Greenware in the town’s museum through to the unrivalled collections of the Crafts Study Centre. The New Ashgate Gallery offers a diverse range of craft work for sale and is especially focused on creating opportunities for emerging makers.

Craft is embedded into the fabric, the homes as well as the cultural life of Farnham.

Steering Group

Farnham Craft Town celebrates the role of craft at the heart of the town and the following organisations sit on a steering group which aims to embed craft into the everyday life of the town by encouraging new audiences and visitors to Farnham; supporting a vibrant marketplace of craft-makers and promoting the role of craft in improving health and well-being:

Crafts Study Centre
Farnham Maltings
Museum of Farnham
Farnham Pottery includes 318 Ceramics , Farnham Sculptors , Pugmill Bakehouse  and West Street Potters
Farnham Town Council
New Ashgate Gallery
Surrey Cultural Services includes Adult Learning , Library , Heritage and Arts
University for the Creative Arts
Waverley Borough Council

Other Craft organisations and venues in and around Farnham

The Sculpture Park

Established in 2003, the Sculpture Park specialises in the sale of 20th century modern and contemporary sculpture in a superb natural setting. It aims to boost the careers of some of the world’s most talented artists in an environment that is sculpted and adapted to suit.

Watts Gallery and Watts Chapel

The Watts Gallery is dedicated to the work of the Victorian era painter and sculptor George Frederic Watts OM RA. With over 100 paintings and sculptures on permanent display, visitors can experience the Watts’ collection in the historic galleries with its original decorative schemes.

The Surrey Guild of Craftsmen

Surrey Guild of Craftsmen members are selected professional craftsmen and designer makers of contemporary and traditional applied arts. Their work is distinguished by fine craftsmanship and innovative design.

Farnham Art Society

Records of an ‘Art Club’ in Farnham survive from the 1860s. In 1948, James Hockey formed the Farnham Art Society and arranged meetings and demonstrations as well as the high quality annual exhibition showing work from the prestigious membership. Among its membership of highly gifted amateur and professional artists, many are also members of the Wapping Group, the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour, the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, the Society of Graphic Fine Art, the Society of Women Artists, the Pastel Society, the Society of Floral Painters , the Chartered Society of Designers and are Fellows of the Royal Society of Arts, keeping the standard of work exhibited at an annual exhibition to a high standard. A selection panel of professionals ensures the annual exhibition, held in the James Hockey & Foyer Galleries of the UCA, reflects the vitality and diverse ambitions of its membership. Around 4,000 visitors view the 400 paintings, ceramics and sculpture exhibited, giving them a great opportunity to access unique affordable art.

Farnham Maltings

Set in the heart of Farnham, Farnham Maltings is a creative organisation that works with artists and communities  to encourage people to make, see and enjoy the best art possible. The Maltings offers a diverse programme of events and activities, including theatre, cinema, craft, music, comedy and workshops.

There are six resident theatre and dance companies who produce and tour work regionally, nationally and internationally. The Farnham Maltings also host a number of resident companies in the 16 studios, darkroom and pottery studio specialising in everything from art, textiles and jewellery to photography, hairdressing and golf landscaping.

The Farnham Maltings also host a monthly market.

Opening times:

Box Office

Monday – Wednesday 9am-5.20pm

Thursday-Friday 9am-7pm

Saturday 10am-2pm

Riverside Café Bar

Monday – Tuesday 9.30am–5pm food served 10am–2.30pm

Wednesday – Friday 9.30am–8pm food served 10am–7.30pm

Saturday 10am–4pm food served 10.30am–2.30pm