Box Hill to Guildford (15.4 miles)

A warm, sunny day made for a gruelling 15.4 mile hike along the North Downs Way, from Westhumble (near Dorking) to Guildford. I was expecting it to be about 12 miles and I intended it to be a bit of a training session in preparation for a 16 mile walk along part of the long-distance, Solent Way. Not only did I underestimate the length but I also improvised an extra bit at the end in order to pick up the River Wey, just to the south of Guildford. But I now know 16 miles is within my capabilities. Not only that, I’m expecting the Solent Way to be fairly flat, whereas today’s walk was up and down and totalled over 2,000 feet elevation – (walking up Snowden is just over 3,000 feet elevation!)

Guildford to West Byfleet

Yesterday was a wonderfully sunny and warm March day (shirtsleeves weather!). I struggled to complete the almost 12 miles along the River Wey-Navigation from Guildford to West Byfleet. I’d done this walk before, but this time it was harder on my feet. It didn’t help that I was standing for almost 5 hours – I rarely stop to rest. A highlight of the walk might have been to capture an image of a heron as it flew to and from its nest, not far from where I was standing. Unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough with my camera, and waiting a few minutes for the heron to return proved fruitless.

At the start of the walk was this curiosity above a car park barrier.

Dorking to Betchworth

On a glorious day I improvised a new walk, starting from Dorking station and heading through the villages of Pixham, Betchworth and Brockham.

Unusually for me I had a mega-sized pub lunch, at the Red Lion in Betchworth. What with a pint as well, I was feeling distinctly heavy for the last 5 miles. The steak & ale pie meal was very good and the pub is recommended.

In the pictures below, note the very odd scarecrow guarding the fishing lake!

Obstacles on a North Downs hike

On an 8-mile walk from Box Hill along the North Downs to Gomshall, there was plenty of evidence of the damage caused by the recent series of storms, and several times I had to negotiate obstacles on the blocked track.

World War 2 pillboxes litter sections of the North Downs Way.

Harvesting of trees in the woods.

In the distance……

And at the end of the walk, at Gomshall, a delightful farm setting.

Whilst waiting for a bus there was just time for a brief visit to the pub

Foggy, sunny, glorious Box Hill

There was thick fog when we arrived at the bottom of Box Hill but this quickly cleared as we ascended. A third of the way up we came across a group of A-Level students from Birmingham who were incredibly friendly and chatty. A case of friendly northerners – but does Birmingham count as ‘in the north’?

Dorking-Brockham-North Holmwood

What an absolutely lovely day for a hike along Surrey footpaths. This was a new area for me and unusually I had set off with a route marked in the Ordnance Survey app. A wonderful café in the beautiful village of Brockham served me with a hot ham & cheese croissant and a taste-destroying, over-milked tea. A walk through a field of cows was not too concerning though the mud and dung in a couple of fields made for unpleasant walking. A great walk of nearly 9 miles on a fabulously, sunny day.

The Box Hill kite curse

What a great walk up Box Hill with the family and the kites, followed by a splendid lunch at the Grumpy Mole in Brockham.

Sadly the curse of Box Hill and kites has repeated, and following on from the lost kite on our last visit, this time I managed to lose one of the kite struts on our way back to the car. Yet another kite bites the dust.