One of the great joys of travelling is the excitement of discovering exciting new places whether they are a spectacular national park or a great restaurant. I have travelled far and wide in search of the next adventure and so you can imagine my surprise when I stumbled across two great places which were right on my doorstep. I thought I was acquainted which pretty much everything in my immediate area but I was wrong and my little adventure started with a Christmas tree!
Somewhere Near Godalming
I have always used plastic varieties. It seemed easier and cheaper to just pull the old friend out of the loft every year but gradually the poor tree started to fall apart and with whole branches now missing it was time to get a new one. I was on the verge of purchasing the same sort of tree when a friend suggested that I try a real tree. I was suddenly struck by a wave of nostalgia and agreed. All I had to decide was where to buy it. A quick search online revealed that a local farm sold a good selection and so for no particular reason I headed for Oxenford Farm near Elstead in Surrey.
When we pulled into the driveway I realised I had found somewhere rather special. The setting was stunning with the farm buildings next to a lake and what looked like the ruins of an Abbey as the backdrop. It transpired that what I could see was Waverley Abbey and that the farm originally belonged to it. The architecture at the farm was stunning and featured the work of celebrated architect Augustus Pugin. I was so wrapped up in my surroundings that I had almost forgotten why I was there until one of the staff members roused me from my reverie and asked what I was looking for!
I mumbled something about a 6ft tree and was taken to a wonderful selection of different species. I was then distracted by the gorgeous reindeer on display! I finally managed to apply myself to the issue of the tree and chose a wonderful specimen which just about fitted in the car. I had the tree but I wanted to linger. I was later to discover that the farm had been used as a filming location on several occasions, notably for the movies Wolfman and Robin Hood. It was certainly a special place.
Eventually I drove away but only made it a mile up the road before pulling into a local pub called The Mill which looked so wonderful from the road that I just had to pay it a visit. Again the building was stunning and dated from 1648. The enormous water wheel was now a feature of the interior which was spectacular enough but it was the food that blew me away. So often I find pub food rather uninspiring and often quite poor but the fare at The Mill was brilliant as was the service and the general atmosphere.
I hadn’t known about the existence of Oxenford Farm or the pub but I have a feeling that I will be visiting both again. The farm is only open to the public at Christmas and so I think I know where my next tree will be coming from! I am now a convert to the real Christmas tree. My lovely fir is now resplendent with decorations and pretty ribbns and the house smells wonderful. It was worth the price of that tree to find the farm and the pub!
Article by Sally Stacey