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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, 3 February 2018

Saturday walk - Merstham to Tattenham Corner - grand views and a racecourse

Merstham to Tattenham Corner 
Length: 16km (10 miles)
Toughness 5 out of 10

9.57 train from London Bridge (10.03 New Cross Gate, 10.11 Norwood Junction, 10.16 East Croydon, 10.29 Coulsdon South) to Merstham, arriving 10.35.

Tattenham Corner, the return station, is in zone 6: Merstham is one stop outside zone 6 but Oyster can be used at Merstham even so - don't forget to tap out. The National Rail website seems to suggest that you will be charged £5.80 single to Merstham with Oyster versus £6.65 on an ordinary ticket with a Network Card. Can this be right? The TFL website (see here) also says that the fare counts towards your daily or weekly cap. If not using Oyster, you could buy a day return to Merstham and then a single from Tattenham Corner to Purley on the way back. For more discussion on this see the Transport section in the walk directions.

For walk directions click here. For GPS click here.

This walk boasts stunning downland views in its early section, and I remember doing it at New Year once and the paths not being disastrously muddy. But after last week's debacle, I am going to make no promises on that score. It is February. There will be mud. Maybe the ground was frozen that New Year.

The stunning views come at a certain price, because some insensitive Department of Transport planner back in the late 1970s decided that this was a good place for the M25 to slice down across the North Downs. So it IS noisy for the first third of the walk but the views DO make up for it. After that the walk turns north across partly wooded heathland and at its end you find yourself on the Epsom Downs Racecourse, which is quite a sight.

At some point in the morning I remember there being a tea kiosk of some kind, with a fine view. A bit later there was an even finer view and someone produced a bottle of champagne, but I guess that was a special treat for New Year... The specified lunch pub is the Sportsman in Mogador, but a bit buried in the description of refreshment options in the walk document is that there is a later pub, the Blue Bell in Walton, a little over two thirds of the walk into the walk. It looks to have a nice menu (including vegan options...) but whether it does food all afternoon or not, its website declines to say. If it does, it could make a late lunch stop.

At the end there is the Tattenham Corner pub, but I recall another even nicer pub at the other end of the long straight of the racecourse - the Rubbing House. There is also a Derby Arms here somewhere. In general if you feel the walk is finishing too early, exploring this end of the racecourse is interesting. Beyond it there is a fine view over London from Epsom Downs.

Trains back from Tattenham Corner are at 18 and 48 past. Don't forget to tap in if using Oyster. T=3.4

Incidentally from the far end of the racecourse it is not far to walk down to Epsom Downs station, from where trains leave at 35 past the hour - a slow stopping train to Victoria, but it may go past your local station.


Anonymous said...

Know this walk quite well. Cafe with outdoor seating and loos after one hour at beauty spot. Very good food in The Sportman pub at Mogador. Pub nearest to Tattenham Corner station is bland and best avoided. As advised by Walker, trot to the pubs near the racecourse entrance. Civilised.

Sean said...

The Oyster fares to Merstham were set by Southern and are bizarre. They're reasonable value from local Southern stations on the direct route from Victoria or London Bridge, but ridiculously expensive otherwise: eg. £2.70 off-peak from East Croydon but £6.80 from West Croydon! Anyway, check it out from your local station: is a good site for this.

Anonymous said...

Anyone going for this walk this Saturday? Looks interesting!

Anonymous said...

Yes. Going. This one should be a hit. Should be largely firm under foot.

Walker said...

This is a not too demanding walk easily accessible from London, so I would expect a fairly good turnout. The weather could be a factor, but Saturday walkers tend to be a hardy lot and come regardless.

Anonymous said...

Thank you to Sean for the link to the site.

Walker said...

Sigh. w=Another-soggy-Saturday. The third (?) in a row, an unheard of run of bad luck for the SWC walks, especially when for the third (?) week running it followed a week of several sunny days.

True, it was reasonably light rain, but it certainly was not “patchy” (the forecast being wrong on this point for a second week running). But hey. Heigh-ho. Ho-hum. It was what it was.

N=19 turned out anyway and we had a pleasant day. One advantage of the rain was that it seem to drown out (geddit?) nearly all the motorway noise. The only time I was really aware of the M25 was when we crossed over it (on a bridge).

Nice views from the Downs, despite the mist. A nice lunch at the cosy Sportsman even though someone’s soup had to be sent back TWICE before it attained a proper temperature. Thanks as usual to our master negotiator for getting us ten places in this deservedly popular establishment. Nine had actually put their hands up at Merstham station when asked who wanted a pub lunch, but at least 13 eventually squeezed in. Pay attention at the back, eh?

After lunch there was some squidgyness. Not the ground, which was fairly firm, though not mud-free, but people sloping off to do shorter endings. But the bulk of the group persisted to Epsom Racecourse, where a rain-soaked vigil was held for Emily Davison (the Suffragette who threw herself under the King’s horse at the 1913) and some had tea and cakes from the nearby kiosk. Most then went straight to the station but four of us went to see the view from Epsom Downs (alas invisible in the murk), two of whom went to the station of that name, and two to The Rubbing House (a pub right on the finish line of the racecourse). The sign on the door said “Smart Casual Dress”. We walked in with muddy boots and trousers. But they served us.