Sometimes life in London becomes a little too much to bare; there is only so many armpit-to-face scenarios that one can take before feeling the need to flee to the countryside. But a woodland escape need not to be a far-flung, far-fetched plan, there are plenty of glorious outdoorsy adventures to be had right on the Capital’s doorstep.
The Devil’s Punch Bowl, a National Trust site located in Hindshead, Surrey, is the perfect place to fill your lungs full of fresh air, rather than the fumes of the 188 bus. By car, it is around three-quarters of an hour from London and parking is available either through the National Trust (for a fee) or free on Gorse Hill. By public transport, a 45 minute train from Waterloo will take you to Haslemere station, where there are regular buses into Hindhead.
The route around the Punch Bowl is what you make it; I used this plan from Fancy Free Walks as my inspiration, but the free National Trust maps that you can collect on arrival give ample direction and the routes are heavily sign–posted so it’s up to you how many steps you want to rack up on your FitBit! A leisurely 5 miles took us around 2 hours, after which I felt rosy–cheeked and refreshed, whilst simultaneously justified in going home and getting my slob–on in front of Gilmour Girls.
Don’t bother with the National Trust cafe – whilst I fully endorse supporting such charities, it is ridiculously unorganised and painfully slow, and the overpriced coffee and cake is average at best.
Take: water, your camera, your pal, your four-legged fur-baby, wellies or walking boots and a bit of enthusiasm for the hilly areas!