London celebrations

Guildford Walkers celebrate 200th anniversary of semaphore chain from London to Portsmouth

RAMBLERS OF GUILDFORD: the four-storey tower of Chatley Heath


Among the walks led by Guildford walkers as part of this year’s Guildford Walk, several celebrate the 200th anniversary of the construction of the chain of semaphore towers that ran from the Admiralty in London to Portsmouth Dockyard.

Started in 1822, there were originally 15 towers in the chain which could send a message from London to Portsmouth in around 15 minutes.

The only remaining and complete four-storey tower, now owned and restored by the Landmark Trust, stands at Chatley Heath, just off Junction 10 of the M25.

At Guildford it is still possible to see the remains of a tower incorporated into a house on Pewley Hill, while there were other sites near Witley and Haslemere.

The chain of semaphore towers operated until about 1847, when the electric telegraph succeeded them.

On Saturday 10th September there will be a nine mile walk from Horsley Station to Guildford Semaphore Tower via Newlands Corner.

On Monday 12th September there will be a four mile walk from Bolder Mere car park near Ockham Bites cafe to Chatley Heath Semaphore Tower, past Samuelson’s Mausoleum, part of the disused Wisley Airfield, and back to Bolder Mere.

Then on Saturday 24th September there will be a 9.4 mile walk from Guildford mainline station to the Witley Tower site on Bannicle Hill via the Wey towpath to Godalming then via Milford to Witley and back by train.

All are invited to join these walks, whether they are hiker members or not.

Full details of all September walks led by Guildford Ramblers, including walk duration, start time and location, and walk leader contact details, can be found by going to www.guildfordramblers .org.uk