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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Wednesday Walk Holmwood to Gomshall - Farewell to Bluebells and Hello Azaleas and Rhododendrons

Book 1, Walk 42 - Holmwood to Gomshall

Length: 16.7 km (10.4 miles)  or long walks of 17 miles or 19 miles
Toughness: 6 out of 10

London Victoria:  10-25 hrs   Southern service to Horsham    CJ  10-32 hrs   Sutton  10-54 hrs
Arrive Holmwood:  11-29 hrs


Gomshall to Waterloo via Guildford:  16-26, 17-24 and 18-24 hrs
Gomshall to Victoria via Dorking Deepdene: 15-31, 16-28 and 17-28 hrs

Rail ticket: Try a day return to Gomshall Any Route Permitted (the latter is essential for both return routes)
Technically, you should also purchase a single for the one stop from Dorking to Holmwood - but I have never been asked for this on the many occasions I have been on this walk.

Covid-19 Compliance: please note the current guidance on this website and observe social distancing. You should all come prepared to exchange contact details for track and trace purpose. You can either pre-register for this walk (not essential ) by e-mailing me at  or, if you prefer, please write your name, e-mail address and contact 'phone number on a small piece of paper for handing to me on the train or when we assemble at walk start. Thank you.  

Today I recommend we take the route via Leith Hill Rhododendron Wood to enjoy the colourful azaleas and rhodos which should just be in flower. Before that we head for Leith Hill through  farmland, pastures and woodland, where we say goodbye to this years bluebells. On top of Leith Hill, its tower should be open for elevenses before we head for Leith Hill Wood. Then its onwards through mostly woodland to the hamlet of Friday Street, where its pub, the Stephan Langton Inn, remains closed and up for sale. The pond nearby makes for a good picnic stop.  40 mins beyond Friday Street you come to the village of Wotton, where its pub, the Wotton Hatch, is not planning to reopen until mid-May. 

After your picnic stop, whether it be in Friday Street or Wotton, the walk continues through more woods and classic Surrey Heathland to Gomshall.  Trains are infrequent so if you have time on your hands before the next service, try one of the local pubs in the village which might just be open for outdoor service. 

If on arrival in Gomshall you are still feeling frisky, you have the option of continuing the walk to Guildford, either via the Book 1 walk Gomshall to Guildford, to give you an overall long walk today of 19 miles, or reversing the Book 2 walk, Guildford to Gomshall, for an overall walk of 17 miles.

Walk Directions are here: L=1.42


Anonymous said...

The weather this year is a bit strange. I was at Windsor Great Park last weekend, Rhododendrons in the Valley Gardens were already in full bloom. Hopefully you can still see them in May.

Walker said...

Both pubs in Gomshall were open last Friday, and both have big gardens with lots of tables.

Marcus said...

Not so much "Farewell to Bluebells", as per the header bar, but a big "Hello". With Spring being so late this year, the bluebells on today's walk were just about at their best, and not on the wane, which they have been in previous years in early May. I'm afraid I got my timings wrong for all my bluebell walks this year: note to self - must do better in 2022.
We had another good Wednesday turnout, with n=21 alighting from the train or joining us along the way. We were very lucky with the weather today, it being w=mostly-sunny-and-mild when out of the breeze - very pleasant walking weather. At times the skies threatened to give us a drenching, per the weather forecast, but the only time it rained, with some hail, was around 4-30 pm when the slower walkers were approaching Gomshall or were having tea in a tent at the Compasses Inn.
Most of us stopped for elevenses from the kiosk in Leith Hill Tower, where service was painfully, desperately, chronically slow. Some gave up and tucked into their lunch picnics instead. Some 3 or 4 walkers left us at the Tower to make their own way to Box Hill - they were practising for exertions on the pending Scottish trip. Only 4 of us took the detour to Leith Hill Wood, which was just about worthwhile: some bright, vivid reds and purple colours were on show from the azalea bushes, but many others were yet to come into bloom: like the bluebells, the azaleas and rhodos were two weeks late. But the said bluebells were magnificent here and all along the walk route - the best I have seen on any of my walks this year.
The onward path after the Wood through Wotton Common was hard going as forestry works had churned up the path and made a right mess of everything around it. We later heard the path to the east on the main route had likewise been churned up.
5 of us stopped for our picnic lunches just past the closed Stephan Langton pub. On passing the Wotton Hatch pub a bit later into the walk 4 or so SWC walkers were spotted wimping out of the walk by taking the bus ! Their cards have been marked ! A bonus for those of us who plodded on - the Church of St John the Evangelist was for once open: my notes tell me I have done this Holmwood to Gomshall walk sixteen times over the years and this was the first time I had managed to look inside this church.
Onwards then through Deerleap Wood and Abinger Roughs to Gomshall. Most of the group were in good time to make the 16-26 and 16-28 hrs train services, presumably sans a tea stop, but 3 of us decided to take tea at the Compasses Inn - as the heavens opened. 17-24 and 17-28 hrs train services for us, after a lovely day's walking, having enjoyed Spring flowers at their very best.