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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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Saturday, 12 November 2016

Saturday First Walk - Beech woods and a great big hill

Book 1 Walk 42 - Holmwood to Gomshall
Length: 16.7 km (10.4 miles)
Toughness: 6 out of 10: a sustained hill climb, then flat or downhill

9.31 train from Victoria (9.37 Clapham Junction, 9.59 Sutton), arriving Holmwood at 10.32.

Buy a day return to Gomshall, ideally via "any permitted" - not necessarily the default choice out of Victoria - to allow you to use the faster return via Guildford. However, if you definitely want to come back via Redhill and East Croydon, a ticket valid that way might do. A Gomshall return is not valid technically for the one stop from Dorking to Holmwood but is usually accepted if you explain you are on a walk.

Special note: a group of Capital Walkers will be on the same train, but they are going on a different walk (to Ockley). I suggest that to avoid confusion at Holmwood, SWC walkers sit at the BACK of the train on this occasion, and meet at this end of the platform, by the steps up to the road.

For walk directions click here.

Those privileged, pampered Midweek walkers did this wonderful autumn classic recently, but I see no reason why hardworking weekend-only types should not get a crack at it. You will get better leaf colour, because, cross-fingers, the lovely beech woods on Leith Hill should be at their best by now.

You earn your chocolate cake in the morning with a climb up Leith Hill, the highest point in south east England, which has wonderful views to match. It is a long ascent but never that steep, so long as you avoid the near vertical climb in paragraph 22 and 24 of the directions and take the easier paragraph 23 alternative. In the tower at the top the National Trust tea kiosk should be open (so long as there is not "adverse weather conditions or poor light").

The Stephan Langton, the lunch pub, is a popular place and worth ringing to book a table. (Don't do this unless you definitely are going to have lunch, however. In 2015 we booked a table for 13 and only three bothered to stop there and eat: this kind of thing does not make walking groups popular!!!). If it is full, the Wotton Hatch pub 40 minutes further on does food all afternoon.

The recommended tea place is the deservedly popular Tillings Cafe, open to 5pm, but the Abinger Hammer tea room a bit earlier is an alternative, and near Tillings there are two nice pubs, the Gomshall Mill and Compasses Inn.

As regular walkers will know, trains back from Gomshall are only every two hours. If you have an "any permitted" ticket the 16.04, 18.04 or 20.04 connection via Guildford is faster (57 minutes to Waterloo), but the 15.53, 17.53 or 19.53 via Redhill into Victoria (1hr 14 minutes) may suit some better.

There is also the 32 bus from outside the Compasses Inn at 15.19. 16.19, 17.17 and 18.19 to Guildford, taking 25 minutes, but this only really helps you if you just miss the 16.04 or 18.04 train or if a train is cancelled. The 17.19 will get you to Guildford at 17.44 and you then have to walk to the station: frankly you might as well wait in Gomshall for the 18.04 train


Walker said...

It has been pointed out to me that two years ago a railway crossing early in this walk was closed for repairs. I have no idea if it was reinstated.

A vey nice alternative start is as follows:

Go up the steps from the station to the road and turn left on it. In about 150 metres, just after the last house, take a path to the left (not the track just to its left). In 150 metres this emerges onto a tarmac drive, which you follow in the same direction.

In 300 metres, just before a house on the left, ignore a signposted path to the left, but in another 150 metres, take the left fork, a track leading into the woods, ignoring a farm track more sharply left just before it.

In 800 metres, a little after you emerge into the open, you come to a three way track/tarmac drive junction. Keep straight ahead and you are now at point 11 of the online directions.

Anonymous said...

Capital Walkers are doing similar start from Gomshall. Will be on same train, however they are going to Ockley. So care to join the correct walk-Gavin

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I meant from Holmwood, not Gomshall. So, yes, need to ensure there is a seperation at Holmwood or it might cause confusion, Gavin

Marcus said...

Wednesday walkers "privileged - Pampered" ? !

Privileged - yes - to be able to walk during the week, away from the madding crowds. But pampered ? - how dare you, sir !! Many of us may be long in't tooth with fading old fogey passes, but we are just reaping the rewards of hard work over many a moon and in some cases, too many a moon.

Now, you young swain, young blades and lassies out there should take great satisfaction in knowing by working all the hours of the day and night you are paying for my pension and paying for the subsidy on my travel. So please keep it up - it is much appreciated. Yes - you will all probably have to work until you are 75 or 80 - so you will need to keep fit. So keep up walking with the SWC - but not on Wednesdays !

Pampered ?

Walker said...

I needed another word beginning with "P" for the alliteration.

Re the Capital Walkers group, yes, I know - I note this in the walk post (paragraph in italics after the outward train details). Sorry about this, but there are so many damned groups these days and I can't avoid all of them all of the time. They are not going to our lunch pubs: that seemed to be the main thing. Otherwise, I am sure we can give them a clean pair of heels.

I suggested that the SWC group sit at the back end of the train and meet at the back end of the platform by the steps to avoid the Capital long as they do not do the same, of course.

JohnL said...

N=6 W=Very wet all morning. Given the rain on Saturday and the fine forecast for Sunday it was not surprising that only six brave souls alighted at Holmwood. The Capital Walkers had a few more but we left them on the platform. With almost zero visibility at Leith Hill Tower we went on to The Stephen Langton Inn. Despite the restaurant being full with a large group staying at Holmbury YHA we were served efficiently with good food and excellent Tillingbourne beer. The rain eased off in the afternoon and we had time for tea at Tillings Cafe in Gomshall. There was a bit of confusion about train times but every one got away to Guildford or Dorking/Redhill. A grand day out despite the weather.