SURREY LANDSCAPES

ORIGINAL ETCHINGS

BY

PERCY ROBERTSON
A.R.E.

Works by Percy Robertson
rule
Click here to view a larger image. Frensham Great Pond

A mile or two south of Farnham lies the valley of the stripling Wey, green with the meadows and woods of Moor Park and Waverley - Moor Park, where Sir William Temple once lived, where Swift first made love to Stella ; and Waverley, whose Southron name was taken for the hero of his first novel by the "Wizard of the North" ; Waverley, the first Cistercian Abbey in England, and the walls of which were pulled down by former proprietors to supply material for the modern house - now in the possession of Mrs. Anderson.

But to cross this smiling valley and ascend the further slope is to enter instantly upon a wide track of desolate heath, sombre and forbidding under a sunless sky, but in summer glowing with crimson heather, in autumn, with the yet brilliant colour of the dead ling. Long ridges, like those of the Aldershot country, intersect this plateau, rising at their southern end into the abrupt bluffs of Kettlebury Hill and the Devil's Jumps, and then merging in the northern slopes of Hindhead. In the hollows between these ridges, the little streams are frequently caught and dammed up into ponds, of which the largest is Frensham Great Pond, a sheet of water some 90 acres in extent ; in shape an irregular square with a long western arm.

This is a strangely desolate place to come across within 40 miles of London. The low hills surrounding shut off all sight of human habitation, save the lonely cluster of buildings about the waterside inn. Beyond these ridges lie a few scattered homesteads, sheltered by firs and silver birches which grow in the less windswept hollows ; but the nearest village is a long mile away, and on these heaths one may go for miles without meeting a soul. There is little to disturb the wildfowl that come here in their season. Summer is the time for human visitors. The pond is a favourite spot for picnic parties, which drive over from a dozen miles away. Anglers come too, and the fishing punts are often to be seen working over the broad expanse of water, for there are abundant perch, and carp and pike and tench to be caught. Quite numerous, also, are the cyclists who have learnt the excellence of these heath roads, the smoothness and firmness of whose surface more than compensate for the unceasing ups and downs of their course.


Go to top