GODALMING Forever prosperous, Godalming thrived first on the wool trade, then as a coaching stop on the London to Portsmouth road, now on café culture. Since the 1870s it has been the home of Charterhouse, the co-educational private school. The High Street contains a wonderful collection of 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century buildings, and in the centre is The Pepperpot, a distinctive colonnaded building with a clock tower. Its shopping is typically small-town, with one or two specialist shops, a Waitrose in the centre and a Sainsbury’s on the edge. There are good walks along the River Wey that runs from Godalming Wharf to the Thames at Weybridge, complete with locks and weirs. For autumn colour the place to walk is the National Trust’s Winkworth Arboretum.
The two most fashionable areas of Godalming are Busbridge and Charterhouse, both with views of the Hog’s Back. Busbridge offers an excellent range of primary and secondary schools, including Prior’s Field independent school for girls. Its quiet leafy streets are lined with properties spanning every period from Victorian to the Thirties, and a famous water tower converted into an eccentric house. A three-bedroom detached house here will set you back £450,000, though you could pay up to £1m for a large house with half a dozen bedrooms and a capacious garden. Charterhouse is similar. The tail-end of Mark Way is a private road where some of the older houses were built in such enormous acreages that strips of garden were sold off for building plots in the Fifties. A four- or five-bedroom house set in a third of an acre will cost at least £550,000. At the lower end of the market are some two-bedroom terraced houses on small modern developments that sell for around £225,000 to £250,000.
The nearby village of Dunsfold is lovely if you can afford it. The houses, some of them dating from the 15th and 16th centuries, are gathered around an open common, with a pub, small shop, nursery school, and church picturesquely set apart on a mound next to a 1,000-year-old yew tree. Even a tiny two-bedroom period farmworker’s cottage will fetch over £250,000. Larger houses start at £500,000.