December 29, 2007

Frensham Ponds

To celebrate my first Saturday off in over five years that I didn’t have to ask for or arrange around other people we decided that we needed to do something! Nothing too adventurous just a bit of a walk with the cameras and some fresh air and having driven past it several times but never stopped to look we decided to have a walk around Frensham Great Pond in Surrey.

Frensham Ponds consists of roughly 1000 acres of attractive countryside. It’s midway between Farnham and Hindhead on either side of the A287. The site is owned by the National Trust, but most of the land is managed by Waverley Borough Council. The Common comprises a large area of heathland, together with some coniferous and mixed woodland, and two large ponds, known as Frensham Great and Little Ponds, which were built in the Middle Ages to provide fish for the Bishop of Winchester's estate.

The common was once important to local communities as a source of fuel and other materials, and as rough grazing for their livestock. These days the site is valued for recreation and nature conservation and it's many miles of footpaths and bridleways on which to explore the Common. The common supports a wealth of wildlife. Species found on the heath include sand lizard, smooth snake, woodlark, Dartford Warbler and nightjar. The ponds also attract rare visitors such as the osprey, especially during spring and autumn although we didn’t come across any on our walk this time.

Originally we were just going to walk a little way around it then head off for the obligatory visit to a pub on the way home but once we started we just carried on and ended up walking all the way round, as someone who's not usually a fan of walking too far I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed walking the full two miles around the circumference of the pond.

It’s a great place for a walk with a camera (although Matt probably would have had better results if he’d put the memory card in his camera, I did share mine for a little while though!) I got a little obsessed with the rushes that grew all around the pond and needless to say I was in my element when we found the ducks and spent quite a while shooting off countless photo’s of them and a Swan that got a little too close for comfort (lovely birds but I’m very wary of them, especially when they get out of the water and start heading towards you!)

It was a lovely afternoon and I’d recommend a visit if you fancy a walk, or in warmer weather a picnic and maybe even a swim if you’re feeling brave and it was a great way of kick starting my plans to spend my new found weekends doing something a lot more fun than sitting in front of the television and/or drinking too much.

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