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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.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Saturday walk - Holmwood to Gomshall - beechwoods and the highest viewpoint in the south east

Book 1 walk 42 - Holmwood to Gomshall
Length: 16.7km (10.4 miles) - but see ** at end of post
Toughness: 6 out of 10

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

Buy an any permitted day return to Gomshall, is my advice: this gives you the best choice of routes on the way home. This may be accepted to Holmwood or you may be liable for a small supplement for the one stop from Dorking to Holmwood.

For walk directions click here. For GPX file click here.

Weather warning: When I picked this walk, I did not know a big storm was forecast. Since Leith Hill is the highest point in southern England and faces into the teeth of the south westerly gale predicted for today, it is likely to be very windy. A danger from falling branches or trees cannot be ruled out. Once over the top of the hill, things may (I stress may) be more sheltered, as you will have the ridge between you and the wind. Remember that you are always doing these walks at your own risk. Exercise your own judgement at all times. Be prepared to take alternative routes. If looking for a walk in this area that might be more sheltered, I would suggest Dorking Circular, SWC 274, which sticks to the valley between the Greensand and North Downs ridges. Dorking is a stop before Gomshall on the specified train.

Kay-okay: no prizes for originality this week, but what is autumn without Holmwood to Gomshall? There may be a bit of beechwood colour but there certainly will be a glorious climb to Leith Hill, the South East's Mont Blanc, and with luck the tea kiosk there will be open. Stand on the hummock 10 metres or so behind the tower and on a clear day you can see both Canary Wharf (at about 60 degrees) and the sea (due south through Shoreham Gap: they have helpfully built a windfarm out to sea so you can see where it is): is there anywhere else where you can see both from the same place?

After that there is a fine descent through the woods, though later the walk has some fields and views too. The lunch pub in Friday Street can be popular (they have hopefully forgotten about the time we reserved a table for 13 and only 3 turned up), but if they are full, the Wotton Hatch pub 40 minutes further on serves food all afternoon.

Gomshall groans with nice tea options: Tillings Cafe is the best, but one not mentioned in the walk directions is the Gomshall Mill, opposite the Compasses: nice armchairs and puddings.

Trains back from Gomshall have big gaps. At 15.53, 17.53, 19.53 there are trains westwards to Guildford and on to Waterloo (58 mins) and at 16.04, 18.04, 20.04 there are trains eastwards to Redhill and on to East Croydon and London Bridge (1 hr 14 mins). In either direction you can admire the new footbridge at Gomshall, which has been tastefully blended into its surroundings and does not look monstrously out of scale at all.... T=1.42

** Tough guy/gal challenge: last year five of us did this as a midweek walk and then finished it off by reversing book 2 walk 13 into Guildford - a further 6.8 miles. A great way to make use of one the last days of British Summer Time....


Marion said...

Weather forecast is for 50mph winds and Ramblers have cancelled some of their country walks. Woodland areas particularly vulnerable to falling trees.

Walker said...

Yes, falling trees worries me too

BrightSpark said...

n=12 walkers on this walk. So windy up on Leaf Hill that the tea and coffee bought by walkers was literally being swept out of their mugs. The Surrey Hills looked as beautiful as ever especially so in the sun. A big group of us missed taking tea and cakes in Gomshall because the 15.53 was just about to arrive and we didn't want to have to wait 2 hours for the next train. To compensate, two of us had a nice cup of tea in Dorking.