Farnham Heath became a RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) site in 2002. Its history is rooted in English rural life. There’s even a Rural Life Centre, ‘next door’. We visited in the height of summer when the heather was resplendent in shades of purple. At the time, I was amazed at how sandy it was, but I know now the soil is naturally acidic and sandy; perfect for reptiles. Our trip to the heath was two-fold, one to see Walter Bailey’s art installation, House of Invisible Hands. The other reason for a vlogging. Now the season has changed, you can still have a fun-filled visit. Here are the top 5 things you can do on Farnham Heath in October.
About Farnham Heath
At one time, Farnham Heath, Surrey was a conifer plantation. However, since is acquisition by the RSPB, the heathland is gradually being reverted to its original state. From the highest points on the heath, there is a panoramic view of across the heath and forest.
Wildlife on the heath include roe deer, crossbills, nightjars, woodcocks and tree pipits.
Family-Friendly Things To Do On Farnham Heath
Being outdoors is exhilarating, all year round. If you are visiting Farnham Heath as a family, there several things you can do. Our top five are:
- Woodland walk
- Go on a minibeast hunt
- Build a den
- Follow the art trail
- Go fungi spotting
Going for a walk on nature reserve is truly exciting. In the case of Farham Heath, as mentioned earlier the soil on the heath is sandy. Buggies and other mobility vehicles would require wheels that can cope with that landscape.
It’s fascinating to see the games kids can create when they are exploring. It’s the ultimate sensory play experience. They can be wild and free … and grown-up, so can you. Reconnect with nature.
Go On A Minibeast Hunt
Families with younger kids may find the ‘Orange’ route an easier walk. The route is on a loop and takes roughly 30 minutes. Most of it was flat. Although, there is one short gradient. Be advised during wet weather; it can get muddy. On the ‘Orange’ route look out for the bug hotel, take peek, see what creatures are staying there.
Older kids and adults may prefer one of the other two routes, ‘Purple’ and ‘Green’. Both routes are longer and steeper also with rewarding views.
Build A Den
While walking, little ones can gather sticks along the way to build a den. Who knows, they may even find one in the woods that only needs an ‘upgrade’.
Building a den can take minutes for hours, the only limitation is the length of time you have to spend and how detailed they want to create them.
Follow The Art Trail
During our visit we went to see House of Invisible Hands by Walter Bailey. The installation is a permanent fixture and sits pride of place at the view point in the woodland. It’s a shelter from which life on the heath can be observed.
House of Invisible Hands is an emotive piece. It harks back to an age when young children worked long hours stoking the furnaces used to make forest glass. As well as this permanent piece, for the month of October the heath will also house art work of degree and MA students from the craft, design and fine art courses at the University for the Creative Arts. The exhibition is entitled Heathland Artworks. Artworks will focus on the wildlife, the flora or the history.
Go Fungi Spotting
There are 15,000 fungi species in the UK. Some fungi are edible, some are quite poisonous, and did you know some can be used in medicine?! It’s said that on the heath there are over 150 species. They range from dinner-plate sized parasols to the cute fairy bonnets.
Some species you may find along the way include the red and white fly agaric which belongs to the amanita family and the false death caps which are white with a lemony yellow tint.
Due to the wide variety, unless you know what is safe and what’s not, little ones should be supervised during their exploration.
Eating and Drinking
We tend to pack food and bring it along. The Rural Living Museum has a cafe. Additionally, in the area there are several pubs and a few gardening centres with cafes. Squires Garden centre is probably the closest to the heath.
If you are driving to Farnham Heath, take the B3001 south from Farnham. Take the right-hand fork, signposted Tilford, immediately past the level crossing. Keep to that road. Just outside Tilford village it is signed to the Rural Life Centre. Follow those signs. Entrance is on the right after 0.5 miles (c1 km). Parking is available.
For more details on other ways to get there, as well as the facilities available, visit the website.
Have you ever visited Farnham Heath, or done an art trail? What was your experience like? Comment below I’d love to hear from you.
Our Farham Heath vlog will be uploaded to our The Tiger Tales TV YouTube channel. However, in the meantime, I’d like to share with you our Surrey Hills feature, as part of their #MySurreyHills campaign. I hope you enjoy it.
Psst! October also marks Craft Month in Farnham, so if you are visiting the heath, you might also want to check what else is happening in the environs.
(Updated 13th October 2020)
(updated 12th October 2021)