Future Longer Walks

Thursday 28 June 2018: Box Hill
9.5 miles / 15.5 km

Booking open from mid-day Monday 30 April 2018
No bookings accepted before this date & time

In order to advantage of off peak fares, this walk starts a little later than usual at 11.20 a.m. from Box Hill and Westhumble railway station (National Rail from Victoria). The route heads north through Norbury Park to Mickleham, east to Headley Heath and then south to reach Box Hill itself. The final descent takes us to the famous stepping stones over the River Mole and back to our starting point. We will take a break for lunch mid-way through the walk, so all walkers will need to bring their own refreshments and plenty of drinking water, particularly if the weather is hot.

Please note that although this is not a long walk, it is not an easy one. There are a number of climbs (totalling 500-600 metres) and some steep descents, so be warned!

In the morning we head north-west from the station to climb through a wooded area to Norbury Park, where we emerge to some fine views across the Mole Valley. From here we descend to cross the River Mole on the outskirts of Mickleham. From Mickleham we climb again, crossing the Thames Down Link before heading NE towards Headley Heath and our packed lunch stop.

Having crossed the Heath, we head south towards Box Hill village, where we join the North Downs Way, following it along the Downs until we reach the famous Box Hill viewpoint at the Salomons Memorial. The final section of the walk takes us back into the Mole Valley, across the river on the stepping stones, and back to the station. In fact if we time it right, there may well be time for refreshments at the ‘Stepping Stones’ pub in Westhumble before catching the train home.

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Thursday 12 July 2018: Farthing Downs and Happy Valley 9.5 miles / 15.3 km

Booking open from mid-day Monday 14 May 2018
No bookings accepted before this date & time

This is a scenic Downs walk, which begins and ends at Coulsdon South station to the south of Croydon.

There are a number of travel options. More information will be provided once the summer rail timetables are finalised.

The walk itself embraces a series of woodlands, beautiful chalk meadowland and grand views over the North Downs. It also includes a stretch of the North Downs Way. The mediaeval Chaldon Church is also worth a visit as it contains one of the earliest known English wall paintings – dating from about 1200.

We begin the walk at Coulsdon South climbing rapidly to the top of Farthing Down, which at 147 metres above sea level provides magnificent views in all directions, including north towards Central London. From the Downs we then enter Devilsden Wood, emerging into Happy Valley, an area of chalk grassland stretching away to the south east. Soon after, we turn south west and head towards Chaldon Church, where we will take a short break to allow time to see the wall painting. Our walk then continues towards the south, gradually climbing until we reach the North Downs Way. As we are now over 200 metres above sea level there are further fine views, this time towards the Weald. Weather permitting, lunch will be taken on the crest of the Downs.

Our route now follows the North Downs Way, before turning north towards the village of Chaldon. From here we head north east across the fairways of the Surrey National Golf Club to the very edge of Caterham. After walking around the edge of Coulsdon Common, we turn south west to head back to Happy Valley, walking along the foot of Farthing Down to catch the return train to London at Coulsdon South.

We will take a break for lunch mid-way through the walk, so all walkers will need to bring their own lunch-time refreshments and plenty of drinking water, particularly if the weather is hot.

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Thursday 26 July 2018: The Sheepleas and St Martha’s Hill 11 miles / 17.7 km

Booking open from mid-day Tuesday 29 May 2018
No bookings accepted before this date & time

This is a scenically varied walk in the North Downs, which begins at Horsley railway station and ends in Guildford. Trains leave from Waterloo (an off-peak day return to Guilford required), with the 09:39 train arriving in Horsley at 10:36. Therefore we are aiming for a 10.40 start.

We begin the walk by following a path through the woods and fields to pass West Horsley Place and West Horsley church.  After a climb, we will hopefully be rewarded with lovely views north, which on a clear day can include the London Eye and the Shard. Continuing onwards, we reach the Sheepleas, 300 acres of downland woodland, designated as an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, where we will be able to enjoy the nature reserve. Soon, our route joins the North Downs Way and continues through Shere Woods.  The path now descends, passing a World War Two pill box and an organic vineyard, before reaching a pair of pools, the Silent Pool (said to be haunted by locals) and the Sherborne Pool. Our track now crosses open fields with views opening up to St Martha’s Hill.  As we ascend on part of the ancient Pilgrim’s Way, we continue to climb steadily, to be rewarded with views southward over the Weald.  We now re-join the North Downs Way and follow a sandy track to the hill top St Martha’s Church.  There has been a religious structure on this hill since at least the 12th century and the development of the pilgrimage route to Canterbury. In fact some suggest the name “Martha” is a corruption of the word “martyr,” a reference to Thomas Beckett.  From St Martha’s, we continue to follow the North Downs Way to reach the edge of Guildford.  At the banks of the River Wey, we turn north and continue into the town to end the walk at a very nice riverside pub (so I have been told). After suitable refreshments, we will head to Guildford station for our journey home.

We will take a break for lunch mid-way through the walk, so all walkers will need to bring their own refreshments and plenty of drinking water, particularly if the weather is hot.

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Thursday 9 August 2018: Knole Park and Ightham Mote
10 miles / 16 km

Booking open from mid-day Monday 18 June 2018
No bookings accepted before this date & time

At the time of writing Sevenoaks is one of the towns affected by the ‘new’ rail timetable. A precise start time and more information will be provided once things have settled down (!!).

This is a lovely, scenic walk through the Kent countryside, which begins and ends at Sevenoaks station and takes in two historic National Trust properties, Knole House and Ightham Mote. After a short walk through Sevenoaks town centre, our route crosses Knole Park before heading off through typical Kent countryside to the village of Godden Green. The walk continues past oast houses, through orchards and into more woodland before descending to Ightham Mote (a Tudor moated manor house), where we stop for lunch. At Ightham Mote we join the Greensand Way, which follows the crest of the Greensand Ridge and provides superb views south across the Weald as we head back to Knole Park. Finally as we continue through the deer park, we get a closer look at Knole House before heading back into Sevenoaks and on to the station.

Please remember to bring enough drinking water to last the whole day, particularly if the weather is hot.

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Thursday 23 August 2018: Faversham to Whitstable
10 miles / 16 km

Booking open from mid-day Monday 2 July 2018
No bookings accepted before this date & time

This day at the seaside provides a scenic coastal walk from Faversham to Whitstable along the Saxon Shore Way in Kent. It is a flat and easy walk.

In order to take advantage of off peak rail fares, the walk will start at Faversham Station a little later than usual at approx. 11.30 a.m. We return to central London from Whitstable and expect to arrive around 6.00 p.m. Further details regarding travel will be provided nearer the time.

The walk incorporates a good well marked path with lovely views of the Swale estuary, South Swale Nature Reserve, Isle of Sheppey and Whitstable Bay. It also provides an opportunity to spot a variety of sea and marsh birds and wild flowers.

We begin the walk at the pretty market square in the medieval town of Faversham which boasts nearly 500 listed buildings. Walking through this historic town we pass the Shepherd Neame Brewery heading towards the Saxon Shore Way – named after the line of historic fortifications that defended the Kent coast at the end of the Roman era. We weave through a fascinating boat yard and then cross a foot bridge across Faversham Creek and marshes – we may have a short wait here if the bridge is raised to let boats pass. Then it’s on to Nagden Cottages and the sea wall, providing fascinating views of the Isle of Sheppey and Swale estuary. Our route takes us along the coast with the South Swale Nature Reserve on our left and Nagden, Greveney and Cleve marshes to the right.
As we continue along the coast we reach the village of Seasalter, famous for its salt production in the Iron Age and Viking raids in the area. We pass the Michelin starred Sportsman pub at the western end of the village by the marshes, on a site which has hosted an inn since 1642. After stopping for a picnic lunch on the beach or sea wall we then walk along the shingle beach keeping to the shoreline if the tide is out (or along the sea wall if not). Our route takes us past rows of beach huts and on to the fishing and harbour town of Whitstable famous for its oysters which have been harvested there since Roman times.

Possible rewards at the end of the walk (depending on time) include a paddle in the sea followed by fish & chips (or oysters) washed down with local Whitstable Bay beer. The station is a short walk away from the beach.

The break for lunch will be mid-way through the walk, so all walkers will need to bring their own refreshments and plenty of drinking water, particularly if the weather is hot.

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If you would like your name to be added to a reserve list of three members in case a space becomes available on any of the fully booked walks please complete this form:

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Future walk dates

27 September 2018: Leigh on Sea : booking opens 30 July 2018

9-10 October 2018: Two-day ramble : details to follow

25 October 2018: Colne Valley : booking opens Tuesday 28 August 2018

08 November 2018: Bayford-Hertford Heath : booking opens 17 September 2018

22 November 2018: Lambourne End : booking opens 1 October 2018

About the Longer Walks Group
How to book a walk
Past longer walks