Sir William Perkin’s School fair

Round & About

Guildford

There are so many Christmas fairs to choose from at the moment but if you’re out Surrey way then you should definitely put this one in your diary.

Sir William Perkins’s School in Chertsey will open its doors to the local community for its annual Christmas Fair on Saturday, 23rd November.

Soak up the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas during the afternoon as you stroll around the market stalls stocking up on gifts, crafts, artisan food and drink (don’t forget to bring your own bags).

There will be live music playing while you shop and a luxury raffle will take place at the end of the afternoon where you can win the chance to have a go at winning a cookery course, gym membership, a brand new iPad mini or a family photoshoot. There will also be luxury gift hampers filled with some amazing prizes so try your luck.

If you get hungry then Olu will be serving his famous bbq along with mulled wine and mince pies. Hot waffles on a stick with toppings and other goodies will be available to buy as well to keep your tummies feeling good.

The main attraction this year is Bubble Zorbing which is great fun for kids and adults alike. Blow off some steam and climb inside a harnessed bubble to safely crash, bump and tumble about and have a laugh with your friends and family. The costs just £3 per go or £8 for three goes in advance, you can purchase tickets for the bubble zorbing via [email protected]

The family friendly event is open to all from 11.30am to 3.30pm and entry is free so go along and have a great afternoon at the school in Guildford Road.

Half term at National Trust

Round & About

Guildford

Autumn is the perfect time to get outside with the family and create unforgettable moments this October half-term. With all kinds of family-friendly events, woodland adventure days and spooktacular Halloween trails on offer, the kids won’t get bored at the many National Trust properties in the area.

Here are just a few ideas for you –

The Vyne, near Basingstoke, RG24 9HL (just over the border in Hampshire) 
01256 883858
Young witches, ghosts and all manner of things can wander The Vyne’s gardens enjoying Halloween trails for all ages. Two mysterious trails will keep under 7s and over 8s entertained. Families can embark on their challenge by paying normal admission and £2 for each Halloween trail sheet at Visitor Reception from Saturday 26th October to Sunday 3rd November, 10am-5pm
Halloween spotter trail (up to age 7)
In the gardens, collect your £2 activity sheet from the Halloween tent and look out for 10 photos of animals mistakenly linked with witchcraft. Return your completed sheet to the tent for a chocolate prize. £2
Halloween rune trail (ages 8+)
On this mystical adventure through The Vyne’s gardens, decipher 16th-century runes to reveal a secret word. Collect your £2 activity sheet from the Halloween tent and look out for ten signs hidden around the gardens. Each sign will translate a symbol into a normal letter. Write each letter in the corresponding box on your activity sheet to work out the mystery word. At the end, return to the Halloween tent to collect your chocolate prize. £2

Hatchlands Park 
There’s a whole host of activities at Hatchlands Park this half term including plenty of pumpkins for you to carve and a new trail in the parkland. The little ones can scamper about in the tree house and bug burrow. Explore Wizard Wix’s Willow Warren and get to grips with hand-crafted willow tunnels, domes, balance beams, sculptures and a totem pole.
October half-term trail 
Saturday 26th October to Sunday 3rd November, 10am-4pm
Pick up a sheet from reception to discover forgotten folklore and seasonal superstitions on a trail through the parkland and claim your pumpkin prize at the end. £3

Dapdune Wharf 
As darkness falls on Saturday 26 October, test your fitness and your fears in the 2k night time run around the haunted Wharf and island. Look out for the witch of the Wharf and a string of spooky surprises on the way. 2k run, jog or walk.  Soup from 4.30pm, warm up from 6pm.  Run starts at 6.15pm
Dressing up encouraged.
£2.50 for bowl of soup and fun run.
Booking essential, call 01483 561389

Petworth House and Park 
Visit Petworth House and Park this October half-term and join in some awesome autumnal fun. Take part in the fun, imaginative trail, helping a little bat plan a party. Plus make your own Bat Box at one of our craft days over half term.
Autumn Trail 
26th October – 3rd November, 10am-4pm
It’s party time at Petworth! One of the young bats is throwing a huge spooky Halloween bash for the creatures in the Pleasure Ground but he can’t find any of them. Some of the animals are just too scared of bats to come to the party. Can you find them and discover if bats are as scary as they think?
Find all of the animals and answer the questions on the trail sheet to complete the trail and win a prize.
The trail is suitable for children aged 5 and upward and is accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs. Prizes can be claimed at either Church Lodge or Car Park Receptions. £3
Spot the pumpkins 
Pumpkins have been spotted growing in the strangest of places at Petworth this Autumn. Some have even popped up in the mansion! Can you help find them for our house team? Find them all and get a sticker reward. £3
Halloween Crafts ‘Make Your Own Bat Box’ 
29th, 30th and 31st October, 11am-4pm
Come to one of the autumn craft sessions and build and decorate your very own bat box to take away and hang in your garden. £5

Find out more

For more details about these and other events at National Trust properties

Naturals wonders

Round & About

Guildford

Giant bird boxes, crocheted funghi and a striking metal sculpture are among the artworks you can enjoy as part of this year’s Heathland Artworks.

Now established as an annual event, all work is inspired by the RSPB Farnham Heath.

Local emerging artists studying craft, fine art and textiles at the University for the Creative Arts have explored the wildlife, geology and history of the heath all year to develop a series of artworks that are temporarily placed on Farnham Heath and incorporated into a walking trail.

This year pieces include giant bird boxes, crocheted funghi, ceramic birds and a striking metal sculpture. There is also the added bonus of The House of Invisible Hands by sculptor Walter Bailey and a result of his research into historical forest glassmaking locally.

Heathland Artworks is a Surrey Hills Arts project and provides a new way to view and learn about the heath. Visitors can get up close to each of the 12 artworks by following a specially created trail.

The project has given the students an invaluable experience in preparing a proposal, presenting this to a panel, and developing the necessary skills to create and install the works.

Surrey Hills Arts aims to engage and inspire people in the natural landscape through the arts programme, promoting heritage, health and tourism.

Programme co-ordinator for Surrey Hills Arts, Ali Clarke said: “It has been fascinating seeing the students develop their artworks in response to the wildlife and environment on the heath.

“The final pieces will be enlightening for visitors of all ages providing pauses for thought along the route.”

Heathlands Artworks is free to enjoy and open to visitors until 27th October at Farnham Heath which is next to the Rural Life Centre. Visitors are welcome to use the facilities.

For more information

Lions goodbye

Round & About

Guildford

There are just a few days left to join the Lion Trail around Windsor and Maidenhead before the lions and cubs head back to the ‘den’ ahead of the Lions Roar Goodbye weekend.

After three months the trail comes to an end on Sunday, 27th October when the lions will then go for a brush up before they are displayed in one large pride for the auction preview weekend on 9th and 10th November. The charity auction will then take place on 28th November.

Lion Trail maps  are available from Windsor, Eton and Maidenhead visitor information centres and venues across the region.

All 46 of the lion and cub sculptures will be gathered in one pride at Windsor Yards, the former Fenwick store from 10am-6pm on Saturday, 9th November and 11am-5pm on Sunday, 10th November.

Visitors can also enjoy lion decorating, a lion artists’ exhibition, live entertainment from Lion King star David Albury, competitions, Windsor & Eton Brewery bar, lion merchandise and much more.

The Lions will then go to auction, coming under the hammer at Runnymede on Thames Hotel & Spa on Thursday, 28th November.

The dazzling evening will feature performances from Lion King and Motown musical stars David Albury and Cherelle Williams and fun activities including a Lucky Simba prize tree, an exhibition of images from Tusk’s Year of the Lion Photo Competition, pin the tail on the lion competition and a variety of fabulous prizes to win.

Eight of the smaller lion cubs are going back to the schools which sponsored them with the remaining 38 available to bid for. All profits from the event will be donated to Thames Hospice, The Lions Club of Windsor, Look Good Feel Better and Tusk.

For information

To find out more about the trail, the roar goodbye weekend and the auction visit the Lion’s of Windsor site

Sunday races

Round & About

Guildford

Today is clearly a good day to run with events taking place in both Oxford and Guildford, the half marathon and 10k, respectively.

The fast and flat 13.1mile course through the streets of the university city of Oxford takes in the colleges, museums and parks that mark out the route.

Runners will cross over the River Cherwell, out into the village of Old Marston and then back past the spectacular colleges. Live music, bands and DJs will be helping to keep their spirits up and if you’re not taking part go along and line the route and cheer them on.

Across in Surrey, Guildford’s first closed-road town centre run, the Guildford 10k, takes place.

Starting from the cobbled high street, run 5km or 10km towards Clandon and back before receiving a huge finisher’s medal.

Some 2,000 runners are expected to take part in the Guildford 10k, which raises money for local charity Harrison’s Fund raising money for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

The event starts with a warm-up led by Field of Fitness training studio. The Mayor and Town Crier will then officially start the historic town’s first closed-road running race.

Porsche Centre Guildford will lead runners along the gently undulating “out-and-back” routes – which will be lined with local bands, a live DJ and spectators.

An experienced team of race pacers will encourage runners across the finish line where they can then enjoy a post-race massage.

Whether you’re in Oxford or Guildford get out on the streets and support the runners and help some great causes.

Sahara marathons

Round & About

Guildford

Brothers’ two marathons in two days in the Sahara challenge to raise funds for Dementia UK

If you’re just back from your morning run and thought that five miles was tough, spare a thought for Morgan and Theo Rushton.

The brothers from Farnham are taking part in The Saharan Challenge from tomorrow (10th October) to Monday 14th in support of Dementia UK and in memory of their late gran who sadly passed away last year.

The challenge will be to walk, jog and run two marathons across the Sahara desert, in two consecutive days. The UNESCO World Heritage Draa Valley provides a stunning backdrop for the epic challenge across rocky trails, through Moroccan villages and palmeries, down to the dunes of the desert. After a tough day under the sun, in temperatures in the mid-20s, they’ll get to relax in the private Bedouin campsite and enjoy a refreshing shower and a bar.

On their Just Giving page, Theo said: “My brother and I will be taking on a challenge to raise money towards Dementia UK this October 2019.

“Last year, I was fortunate enough to raise over £1,000 towards the health care of my gran, Joan Eardley-Wilmot by completing a 10k swim. I could not have asked for more support and thank you all for raising money towards this challenge, which she was also lucky enough to celebrate until she passed away a few months after.

“This October we will be raising money for Dementia UK by completing 2 marathons in 2 days in the Sahara Desert. The 4-day round trip which starts on Thursday 10th October (flying out to Morocco), Friday 11th October & Saturday 12th October consists of Marathon 1 & 2 before flying home on Monday 14th October.

“Both Morgan and I are completing a challenge neither of us thought possible a year or so ago, however with recent events and our determination we would love it if you can help us raise money towards Dementia UK Charity.”

The boys have paid for the trip themselves and any money donated will go directly towards Dementia UK

Show your support

If you would like to show your support to these two brave men, please visit their Just Giving page

Guildford Book Festival

Round & About

Guildford

Guildford Book Festival, 6th-13th October, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

Over the years it has hosted some very well-known names but it began in 1989 with a free lunchtime event with an at the time little-known author, Sebastian Faulks. His first novel The Girl at the Lion d’Or had just come out, the first part of the French trilogy which went on to include the emotional First World War best-seller Birdsong and later the Second World War story of heroine Charlotte Gray.

Events this year include Chris Ryan (Electric Theatre, 6th October) speaking about his experiences in the SAS and how events such as Brexit may impact in intelligence sharing and our security, as well as talking about his latest book Black Ops.

David Suchet, better known as Poirot, will talk about his passion for photography, his life and career, with Michael Buerk (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, 6th October). Behind the Lens: My Life in Photos features images from his life which he’ll be sharing.

Monday 7th includes the start of a week-long creative writing workshop; Deborah Moggach and Nicholas Coleridge at the Literary Lunch; broadcaster Kirsty Wark will be talking about her second novel The House by the Loch and historian Max Hastings will be looking at Operation Chastise – The Dambusters Story 1943.

If you haven’t already got a ticket you’re too late to enjoy a coffee morning with The Countess of Carnarvon when she’ll be sharing secrets of Christmas of Highclere, aka the fictional Downton Abbey, but there are a host of other great events to enjoy on Tuesday 8th.

There are still a few tickets left for William Clegg QC’s Under the Wig – A lawyer’s stories of murder, guilt and innocence, John Craven’ sHeadlines and Hedgerows and Luke Jennings is talking about No Tomorrow, the second in the Killing Eve trilogy, now a hugely successful BBC series.

Among the highlights on Wednesday are a look at life on the glamorous French Riveria with Anne de Courcy’s Chanel’s Riviera – Life, Love and the Struggle for Survival on the Cote d’Azur, 1930-1944. Virginia Nicholson takes us into the 1960s with How Was It For You? Women, Sex, Love and Power in the 1960s and there’s the chance to enjoy Cocktail Night with Signe Johansen’s Spirited – How to create easy, fun drinks at home.

Thursday puts the spotlight on Leonardo da Vinci with Ben Lewis’s book The Last Leonardo, Andrew Lownie shares secrets of The Mountbattens: Their Lives and Loves while Paul Arnott looks at Windrush – A ship through time and Professor Mike Berners-Lee examines the ‘very hot’ topic of the environmental and economic challenges we face in There is no planet B – A handbook for the make or break years.

Fans of Dirty Dancing – and who isn’t – will be excited by the showing of this eighties classic on Friday evening after Katy Brand’s talk on her book, I Carried a Watermelon – Dirty Dancing and Me which tells of the comedian’s lifelong obsession with the movie in her love letter to the iconic film.

Saturday is Readers’ Day with the mini festival in a day, which is already sold out – book very early for next year! There’s still fun to be had courtesy of Pam Ayres with her collection of verse, Up in the Attic.

Guildford Book Festival winds up on Sunday 13th with an extra session of Peter FiennesA Walk in the Woods, Steve Backshall shares his latest adventures in Expedition – Adventures into Undiscovered Worlds before it winds up with an evening with Louis de BernieresCaptain Correlli and Beyond.

More info

For details about all these events and more visit

Farnham craft town

Round & About

Guildford

Farnham is getting set to celebrate Craft Month and this year it has extra cause for cheer as the initiative has been given funding to develop further.

The Surrey town was designated as England’s craft town in 2013 and has just been given a boost from Arts Council England.

October celebrates the town’s deep craft roots since its involvement with the pottery industry in the 16th century and the founding of the Farnham Art School in 1880.

This year will feature the most ambitious programme of events yet and will include something for all those with an interest in crafts, from makers to enthusiasts.

Among the highlights are a clay feast at Farnham Pottery organised by the West Street Potters who will honour the 19th century tradition of the clay diggers being paid by the potters and sharing a festive meal. Hands-on workshops will explore the relationship between clay and food with cooking in clay and making a feast based on 19th century menus.

Farnham Maltings will take an international perspective, working with the Crafts Council and the University for the Creative Arts to develop links with Bornholm Craft City and Craft Town Scotland and explore joint working.

The Surrey Hills AONB will present Unearthing Landscapes, a symposium which will focus on how to connect people to the landscape through craft and the arts.

Surrey Artist Open Studios will partner with venues, cafes, shops throughout the town to display local makers and craft organisations work in shop windows.

The 10 artists in residence at UCA will curate an exhibition of their work to show how they have developed during their year in England’s craft town. There will be demonstrations of craft skills ranging from weaving and making cordage to looping and printing as well as opportunities to meet the makers.

Local maker Rebecca Skeets, a member of the Craft Town Steering Group who led the bid for Arts Council funding said: “Farnham has such a diverse and exciting cultural heritage, which together with the support of Arts Council England, Farnham Town Council and the rest of the Craft Town team, means we can be really ambitious with this year’s month long celebration of craft.

“This year promises to be the best yet and brings a range of new events, collaborations and ideas.

“We invite everyone to become part of our town’s creative community and celebrate Farnham’s place as England’s Craft Town.”

For more information

about Farnham Craft Town and the programme of events

Autumn walks

Round & About

Guildford

Photo: National Trust – John Miller

Autumn casts a new light on familiar landscapes. When trees blaze with orange, red and gold, shady woodland is transformed into a dappled golden path. Nature’s last hurrah before the long sleep of winter, it feels rude not to enjoy the show.

I’m lucky enough to work for an organisation that loves and looks after woodlands. The National Trust cares for more than ten million trees across the country and last year we funded 38 different tree and woodland projects across the South East.

Everyone is welcome in the woods we look after. We want them to be loved, explored and enjoyed by as many people as possible. There are also things we can all do to help look after woodlands, such as taking our litter home, picking up after our dogs, not allowing them to chase wildlife or disturb nesting birds and keeping to the paths.

A mature oak tree has about 700,000 leaves, providing food for the tree and enough oxygen for 10 people for a year. As leaves start to die, the tree takes back reusable proteins and green chlorophyll, revealing the yellow and red pigments produced by sugars remaining in the leaf. The best and most long-lasting colours develop with warm, bright days and cold nights, slowing the transport of sugar from the leaf. Try to catch a falling leaf – it’s trickier than you think! A good way to identify wildlife is to look for nibbled nuts; an excellent high-protein food for fattening up before winter.

Here are some favourites in your local areas…

Surrey & West Sussex

Winkworth Arboretum, near Godalming, is the National Trust’s only arboretum. Enjoy a walk through the woods as the autumn explodes with colour while younger ones can clamber over the new tree adventure, complete with climbing wall, fireman’s pole, rope tunnel and ladders. Dogs welcome. Normal entry. Facilities & tea room.

Hatchlands Park at East Clandon, near Guildford, has a 4.5km circular walk which follows the edge of the park through woodland. Dogs welcome. Free parking. Facilities, café & shop.

Admire the colours over the Devil’s Punch Bowl on the Hidden Hindhead Trail, the lovely walk crosses the A3 and takes in some spectacular views. Dogs welocome. Car parking. Café and food kiosk & facilities.

Take in Dapdune Wharf to St Catherine’s on a River Wey walk at Guildford. This dog friendly route offers some spectacular views at the highest point of the walk before you descend to the valley bottom. Parking available.

Petworth boasts 700 acres to explore – but you don’t need to do them all in one day! Stroll round the Pleasure Grounds, enjoy a three-mile walk through the park or discover the ancient trees that dominate the skyline here. Parking, café and facilities. Dogs allowed off leads in deer park and on a lead in the Pleasure Grounds.

More information

Visit the National Trust website for more information about any of these walks and those further afield

Headlines & Hedgerows

Round & About

Guildford

Our countryside & its wildlife is at risk. We encourage you to join the campaign to save our endangered hedgerows and share an exclusive extract from John Craven’s new book.

The hedgerows that criss-cross our countryside are not only an iconic sight, but a vital habitat and corridor for many of our native species. However, they are becoming increasingly fragmented which is threatening the wildlife that depends on them.

We’ve lost about half our hedgerows since WWII. Although the rate of direct hedge removal has been reduced, hedgerows are being lost simply through how they are managed.

“With 70% of UK land being agricultural, hedgerows offer the safest route for wildlife to travel across farmland,” says Megan Gimber, key habitats project officer at PTES. “Sadly, many hedgerows are becoming ‘gappy’, which fragments this amazing network. And, without more sensitive management, many hedgerows are at risk of being lost altogether. This is problematic, especially when we’re seeing a fall in numbers of the animals that depend on them, such as hedgehogs, bats, hazel dormice and song thrush.”

In Britain, habitat fragmentation is thought to be a limiting factor for the distribution of some species and a threat to others’ survival. Corridors play a vital role preserving a number of species deemed ‘at risk’. Some 16 out of the 19 birds included in the Farmland Bird Index, used by government to assess the state of farmland wildlife, are associated with hedgerows.

Healthy hedgerows reduce soil erosion, flooding damage and air and water pollution. They provide forage for pollinating insects, predators to keep crop pests in check and shelter for livestock, reducing deaths from exposure and improving milk yields. Hedges help us fight climate change by storing carbon and reduce the damage from flooding.
To take part in the Great British Hedgerow Survey or find out more, visit hedgerowsurvey.ptes.org

Hedgerow. Credit Allen Paul Photography & Shutterstock.com
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An extract from John Craven’s new book

Headlines and Hedgerows is published by Michael Joseph

We have all heard that well-known piece of advice first coined by W.C. Fields: “Never work with animals or children.” Well, I’ve done both throughout my career (in fact, I couldn’t have succeeded without them!) so in my case at least that old adage is totally wrong.

I suppose one reason for my longevity is that I have never been very ambitious. I have not sought the headlines, never seriously courted celebrity nor been tempted to take chances on high-profile but potentially risky and short-lived programmes – apart from one, and that was Newsround, which was a six-week experiment in 1972. Thankfully it is still going strong so, as it turned out, it was not much of a gamble and a recent poll in Radio Times placed Newsround at number three in a list of the top 20 children’s programmes of all time.

And Countryfile is often in the top 20 of most-watched shows. During my 30 years there I’ve seen rural issues ranging from social isolation and deprivation to the way our food is produced climb higher and higher up the national agenda. That our audience is split pretty evenly between country dwellers and townies proves to me that, united as a nation in this at least, we want to preserve, protect and enjoy our glorious countryside…

For my Countryfile interview with Prime Minister David Cameron, we met for an hour at Cogges Manor Farm, a rural heritage centre in his Oxfordshire constituency. The cameras were set up around the kitchen table and before he arrived a lady who seemed to be in charge of his “image” wanted to know where he’d sit. She checked the angles and saw a large Welsh dresser in the background. “Could we move some of those plates and ornaments,” she said. “It’s too fussy.” It proved that politicians have learned to be careful what’s behind them on screen. An exit sign, for instance, would be the last thing they wanted.

When Mr Cameron came in, dressed casually in a jumper – this, after all, was Countryfile – he said “I was brought up on you, John!” I don’t feel particularly old but it’s alarming when the man leading the country says you were part of his childhood! We had a wide-ranging conversation and he had no idea of the questions beforehand. I challenged him on his plan to make his administration the greenest government ever (which didn’t really happen) and overdevelopment threats to the landscape. “I care deeply about our countryside and environment,” he told me earnestly. “I’d no more put them at risk than I would my own family.”

Today, I wonder what he’d make of the report by the Campaign to Protect Rural England revealing 15,500 new houses have been approved in areas of outstanding natural beauty in the years since. We also talked of his plans for a free vote in Parliament on bringing back hunting with hounds (which never happened) and persuading all other EU countries to enforce farm animal welfare laws as diligently as the UK (still waiting for that). I was impressed by his detailed knowledge of rural issues, even when pressed for details. A few months later at a Downing Street lunch for people involved in all aspects of the countryside, he smiled and said he hadn’t expected to be grilled by “a rural Jeremy Paxman.”

The Great British Hedgerow Survey

To take part in the Great British Hedgerow Survey or find out more