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This Week's Walks - Archive

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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, 6 May 2017

Holmwood to Shamley Green via the Greensand Way [Map-led Walk]

There is no walk name or number: this is an experimental map-led walk: see below t=swc.287
Length: 18.2km (11.3 miles)
Toughness: expect several big ascents and descents

Interminable engineering works on the Guildford line have finally been completed, allowing me to try this idea, which has been festering in the dark recesses of my brain for some time.

The idea is to use the book 1 Holmwood to Gomshall directions to the top of Leith Hill (though with a slightly shorter start which I will explain on the day) and then follow the Greensand Way west - NEW territory for the SWC. There are no walk directions for this last two thirds of the walk: it is hopefully waymarked, but bring maps or map apps if you have them.

Basic GPX or KML

Note that this is a map-led walk NOT a led walk: ie like all our walks it has no leader. You are ultimately responsible for finding your own way, though past experience suggests that there will be some "cooperative navigation" . 

There may be bluebells en route - it is likely territory for them - but I have never done the walk so don't know. There looks to be quite lot of woodland which will be full of fresh green foliage (another reason to do this walk now). Some good escarpment views - eg from Leith Hill and from Holmbury Hill (the latter just after lunch).


9.24 train from Waterloo (9.33 Clapham Junction) to Epsom, arriving 9.57, changing there for the 10.09 train to Holmwood, arriving 10.32. This two stage journey from Waterloo is necessary due to last minute engineering works in the Sutton area but does not add significantly to journey times. 

NoteThere will be a 30-strong Meet-Up Group - sigh! - making the same journey. They will also get off at Holmwood. Make sure you don't join with the wrong group. They are also going up Leith Hill but after that are going a different way. If it turns out they are going the same way up Leith Hill as us, we will go up another way - there are various options.

Buy an ANY PERMITTED day return to Gomshall ** - important! NOT via Redhill only (though at Waterloo "any permitted" is what the ticket machines will likely offer you). In theory you also will need a single from Dorking to Holmwood... ** OR an any permitted day return to Shalford. Our resident train guru says this is cheaper than a return to Gomshall and still valid via Dorking and Guildford: your choice


Lunch: will be in Holmbury St Mary, 2 miles after Leigh Hill = 5 miles into the walk. The most convenient pub seems to be the King's Head (01306 730282), which looks to be almost on the GSW route and has a large garden: I have rung them and made a booking for 10 people for 1pm, though they say Saturday lunchtimes are "usually not a problem": we can still sit in the garden if it is sunny. An alternative up the road 450 metres to the north is the Royal Oak (01306 898010).

Mid afternoon drinks (3 miles after lunch) may be possible at the Ewhurst Windmill, described as "more of a restaurant than a pub", but apparently willing to serve drinks in the afternoon and having a deck with a fine view.

The walk ends in the pretty village of Shamley Green where there is a lovely pub on the village green - the Red Lion. It is open all afternoon for drinks: if you want to have dinner there, it serves food from 6.30pm.


53/63 buses to Guildford go from the other side of the road to the Red Lion at 12, 32 and 52 past the hour until 18.52, then 19.22, 20.22, 21.22, 22.22, 23.30, taking 20 minutes.

Trains back from Guildford to Waterloo go every 15 minutes or so (eg 02, 17, 34. 47 and 54) and are covered by the Gomshall/Shalford return. These are the fast trains: don't get the slow train via Clandon by mistake


Andrew said...

Sounds like a very interesting route.
- You can also get a bus earlier from the Duke of York's School
- These 2 Greensand Way walks follow the middle and end parts of it if you need the GPS. and

Anonymous said...

Is there a basic GPX track for the whole route? Could you post a link to it?

Walker said...

If you read the walk post (!!) , I said:

I have also created a basic GPX track: email saturdaywalkersATyahooDOTcoDOTuk and I will send it to you.

Sandy said...

This route piqued my interest too but I won't be able to do the whole walk. I may investigate getting the train to Gomshall or bus from Dorking and joining you at lunchtime. I'm pretty familiar with the area but am not promising to navigate successfully. i don't think the Greensand Way markers are 100% reliable so definitely take a map, digital or other.

E.D. said...

Could I suggest a slight detour after Leith Hill Tower to Leith Hill Wood? It is a rhododendron wood, managed by the National Trust, open to all, and must be looking lovely at this time of year. It can be reached by a footpath down from the Greensand Way not long after Leith Tower, or by the lane that the Greensand crosses a little further on. Here is a link It is marked with a flower on recent ordnance survey maps.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Re obtaining the GPS file is the email address correct? It bounced back as no such account. I replaced with the two periods as appropriate

Sean said...

The email address is correct. As well as replacing the DOTs you also need to replace AT with @, of course.

Anonymous said...

Thanks found my error I left the A of the original AT in place.


Walker said...

N=19 on this walk on a day of w=sunshine-and-cloud, though a rather hazy one. This became apparent when we got to the top of Leith Hill and found the views a bit limited. But it was nice to sit in the sun with a cuppa from the kiosk and sense the vastness of England in the semi-murk below.

Carrying on westwards, we found the Greensand Way very wooded and very well waymarked - little navigation, collaborative or otherwise, was needed. The woods were a bit dull at times on the descent to Holmbury, but in the afternoon were enlivened by new green foliage on beech and sweet chestnut. There were also several fine viewpoints - most notably Holmbury Hill and Pitch Hill, which were separated by a big descent and ascent and the crossing of a lovely green valley.

For lunch the Kings Head proved fairly small and basic with limited choice on its menu (especially for vegans). Having been relaxed in the week when I phoned and booked for ten, they got rather panicked when 14 of us stopped for lunch, but they managed reasonably well. Portion sizes were good.

Mid afternoon we got all excited at the prospect of a drink with a view at the Ewhurst Windmill pub, but it was closed, so instead we had to keep our thirst in check on the three mile descent (passing an interesting curved wooden shelter) to more open terrrain of the valley. Here we had tea and drinks at outside tables on the village green, just a short dash across the road from the very frequent buses. The first swifts I have seen this year screeched overhead.

E.D. said...

Not wanting this lovely walk to end, I extended it by leaving the Greensand Way after the "flattened pine cone" viewpoint at Winterfold Hill, and headed up to Chilworth station via Black Heath.

It was risky as trains are only once every two hours, but the going is much flatter than on the Greensand and despite losing my bearings on Black Heath I managed to make the 17.59 train.

This extension provides more beautiful woodland and heath but with a different feel from the Greensand, more quiet and remote. There were bluebells and at one point some naturalised yellow azaleas.

Early in the walk a couple of us also took a detour to the National Trust Rhododendron Wood at Leith Hill. There is a path running south from the Greensand alongside a lane, and took only a few minutes to get there. The pinks, reds and yellows of the rhododendrons were underlaid with bluebells, so the colour combinations were pretty.