My Neighbourhood | Meryl Wingfield on Farnham

Meryl Wingfield, Trustee at the Surrey Wildlife Trust, reveals her favourite places to dine, visit and shop in her local neighbourhood of Farnham, in Surrey.

Home is…
I live in central Farnham with my partner and our rescue lap cat. I moved here a couple of years ago and have spent quite a lot of time renovating the house and I’m now on to the garden. I’m enjoying working out how to make the garden good for wildlife, despite being a tiny space.

Work is…
I work in research and development for fuels and lubricants, working to improve fuel economy of vehicles. I’ve recently become a Trustee at Surrey Wildlife Trust, which is the only charity solely concerned with the protection and conservation of wildlife in the county. I’m passionate about nature and with so many housing and road developments planned for the county, wildlife needs our help now more than ever before. As a Trustee I hope to help stand up for wildlife and ensure it has a place to live and thrive in our beautiful landscape. The Trust is actively working to improve habitat for water voles and otters and I would love to see both of these wonderful creatures back in Surrey. We’re also committed to educating the next generation about the importance of nature in our lives. The rebuilding of the Trust’s flagship Nower Wood Education Centre near Leatherhead is a project I am very proud to back. The £1.1m centre is due to open in the spring, so I have come on board at a very exciting time for the Trust!

Favourite thing about the area where I live….
I love being able to do practical and fun things all weekend without having to get in the car. I can walk out my front door, about five steps into Farnham park and wriggle through into proper countryside. Or I can walk to a pub or a restaurant, or go shopping, or hop on the train somewhere, or go to see an art exhibition, all within 10 minutes’ walk.

Favourite place to spend a relaxing Sunday…
I have a love affair with trees. I can gaze at them for hours, get impatient for them to come into leaf in the spring and marvel at how they work. So on a Sunday I love going for a long walk, sometimes with a picnic. There’s so much choice for walking and I usually pull out the Surrey Wildlife Trust map and pick somewhere I haven’t been before. One place I keep going back to though is St Martha’s Hill near Guildford because of the stunning view. I like walking through the trees up the hill and emerging at the top to a beautiful view across the county.

Favourite spot for some retail therapy…
I absolutely hate shopping! However, Farnham is an easy place to shop and also has some lovely independent shops for specialist items. Paisley Cat on Downing Street has loads of quirky, interesting things, which are good for presents. Elphicks department store on West Street has a small but well- stocked haberdashery, amongst other things, and Pullingers is a treasure trove for arts supplies.

Favourite local discovery…
The Farnham Repair Café takes place every second Saturday of the month at the United Reformed Church on South Street. It’s a place where you can take a broken item, like electronics, clothes or bikes, and volunteers repair it or help you to repair it. It’s a great way to reduce landfill, save money, learn and share skills with other people.

Favourite place to soak up some culture…
Farnham Maltings has almost every type of cultural event you can think of – concerts, art and ceramics exhibitions, comedy, jazz nights, films, dance, craft workshops. I love having so much variety on the doorstep and particularly like the curry and comedy nights. I play in Farnborough Symphony Orchestra and we do two concerts here each year so it’s interesting to see it’s like backstage, too.

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