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It’s amazing how much top-notch mtb’ing can be found in leafy Surrey; and this intricate little tour of the woods and commons around Godalming provides an excellent example. It’s about undulations rather than relentless climbs and never-ending descents, and nowhere does it gain or lose more than about 50m in one go. But the wooded sections twist and turn sweetly, with roots and the odd rocky section waiting to catch out the unwary. And tackled with a bit of venom, it can get quite interesting in places. It’s quite long for a Medium route, but there’s not too much climbing, and there are plenty of escape routes if it does all become a bit too much.
Puttenham Common’s a great place to kick-off and the drop to the North Downs Way, early on, certainly sets the tone for the rest of the ride. The Way itself is a proper potpourri: sandy in some places, broad and stony in others; and it even gets snaky and sinuous at times. The drop from it, near Polstead Manor, narrows into a steep and stony gulley and provides one of the true highlights of the outing. Other short and sweet plunges come south of Godalming; with the most memorable plummeting sharply to Busbridge Lakes, where it’s twinned with a rather cruel steep and sandy clamber back out — grab that small ring early. And on the subject of climbing, be warned: the biggest single grapple with gravity comes as a real sting in the tail — with a steep final pull from Cutmill Ponds back up on Puttenham Common. Just what the doctor ordered after 40km!