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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, 10 November 2018

Saturday walk - Holmwood to Shamley Green - Woods, more woods and some wonderful views

Length: 18.7km (11.6 miles) - or 19.6km (12.2 miles) including the diversion to the lunch pub
Toughnesss: 8 out of 10: several big climbs

9.16 train from Victoria (9.24 Clapham Junction, 10.09 Sutton) to Holmwood, arriving 10.44.

Alternatively get the 9.39 train from Waterloo to Epsom, arriving 10.12, to connect with the above train at 10.20.

Buy a day return to Gomshall, making sure it is an “Any Permitted” ticket. This is a bit counter-intuitive because you are not going to Gomshall, but this ticket is valid via Dorking, the stop before Holmwood, and for return from Guildford. It would be a hard-hearted “on-board train manager” who also denied its validity from Dorking to Holmwood, but one such may exist.

For the first of my two autumn leaf colour blockbusters (cross fingers that the autumn colour cooperates....), I have selected this very woody section of the Greensand Way. Whatever autumn colour there is should be well displayed. Now and again the route also brings you to magnificent viewpoints, such as Leith Hill, the highest height in southern England, Holmbury Hill and Pitch Hill

This is a “map-led” walk for the most part - ie no written directions. But please don’t let this put you off. Firstly, for the first three miles there ARE directions if you need them since the route follows the book 1 route from Holmwood to Leith Hill (link here, but note we will be doing the alternative start on page 7 of the directions). After that you are on the Greensand Way, which is fairly well waymarked and largely does what you expect it to do - ie it follows the escarpment. GPX-ers can download the entire route here or you can print off a map of the route hereMore details of the walk are here.

The first refreshment stop on this walk is the National Trust tea kiosk in the side of Leith Hill Tower, 2.9 miles into the walk. Two miles further on a short diversion off the walk route brings you to the Royal Oak, Holmbury St Mary, which has several vegetarian and at at least one vegan option on its menu. The other pub option on this walk, the Kings Head, is currently closed.

The walk ends in Shamley Green, where the Red Lion is well-situated next to the bus stop. Number 53 and 63 buses to Guildford go from the opposite side of the road to the pub at 12, 32 and 52 past the hour until 18.52 and then at 19.22, 20.22, 21.22 and 22.22, taking 20 minutes.

RMT strike action for this Saturday has been cancelled, so trains back from Guildford to Waterloo should be every 15 minutes, taking 36-38 minutes. T=3.287


Anonymous said...

Brilliant walk. Easy to follow route, as the Greensand Way is very well marked. Lunch: the Royal Oak, is the only option as The Kings Head is closed.

Walker said...

N=21 on this walk. They were rewarded with the most perfect autumn colours you ever saw - an absolute riot of gold that at times achieved New England levels of intensity. Beech trees were the main cause of this but every type of tree was fully turned. The best autumn walk ever!

Or it was in the morning when the weather was fine: cloud and some sun; showers visible to the south from the airline-high eminence of Leith Hill but not coming near us. Several of us enjoyed a cup of tea at the National Trust kiosk there, which is now open daily year round.

Descending to Holmbury, mountain bikers were a minor nuisance - they could be a worse one in summer. We found the Royal Oak empty, so perhaps booking a table was not necessary, but it did fill up later. Credit to them for several vegetarian and one vegan option, and for friendly and efficient service.

One walker left in a taxi after lunch for - how can I say the words? - the AGM of ANOTHER walking club. Two other walkers, seeing drops of rain fall from a now grey sky, left with her. “Softies!” we thought, but they were right. It started showery but then rained relentlessly. So w=a-bright-morning-but-a-wet-afternoon.

That was a shame as the leaf colour was if anything even better in the afternoon. There were also several dramatic views south across the tempestuous landscape. I hear some of the group got to the end of the walk at 4.30, others a bit later. But my two companions and I, the backmarkers, did not arrive till 5.30. It was a memorable last hour and a half in the gathering darkness and heavy rain, the ground underfoot turning to lakes and rivers. My waterproofs may not dry before next Saturday. But at least, on the first muddy day if the winter, our boots ended the day perfectly clean.