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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 January 2019

Saturday walk - Guildford to Gomshall - a classic walk with escarpment views

Length: 17.2km (10.7 miles)

Longer options: 19.2km (11.9 miles) or 23.4km (14.5 miles)
Shorter option: 11km (6.8 miles) - normal morning but finishing very soon after lunch

Toughness: 5 out of 10: two quite big hill climbs, otherwise fairly gentle

9.30 train from Waterloo (the Portsmouth Harbour train, not the 9.33 stopping service) to Guildford, arriving 10.03.

From Clapham Junction get the 9.27 to Woking, changing there (arrive 9.45, depart 9.55) for the above train.

Buy a day return to Gomshall, making sure it is "any permitted route" (which it should be automatically if purchased at Waterloo).

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

This is possibly the only walk in the SWC canon that was created specifically to be done in January. A bracing winter outing, it has the advantage of sandy soils to keep mud down (at least in places) and some invigorating climbs and views. Also an interesting hill top church, and a cosy pair of pubs (or the choice of two cafes) for lunch.

After lunch the walk also includes options to please both the "More short walks please!" and the stride-out brigade:

- Shorter ending (11km/6.8 miles): This involves ending the walk just 1.4km after lunch when the route passes close to Gomshall station (instructions given in the walk document)

- (Slightly) Longer route to Gomshall (19.2k/11.9 miles): Unless you are in a rush to get to tea, I highly recommend this 2km extra loop, which takes in a nice open section of the escarpment: it is option c) in the walk document and if you follow the walk directions you will be prompted at the appropriate point.

- Long walk to Box Hill station (23.4km/14.5 miles): If you are one of those hyper-speedy walkers who lives in dread of finishing too early, this extension along the North Downs Way should fill the hours of daylight very nicely. The last bit - the broad track down onto the Denbies Wine Estate - is very doable in the dark.

Tea options in Gomshall have changed a bit. The little tea room attached to the Abinger Hammer post office was certainly still in operation back in the summer, but the capacious Tillings Tea Room in Gomshall has now become a shop - the Lavender Goose - with a small cafe attached. Of Gomshall's two pubs, the Compasses Inn is the traditional/time warp choice, but the Gomshall Mill, mostly a table service restaurant, also has a very cosy little bar. (If walking to Box Hill, the Denbies Wine Estate self-service is open until 5pm and the Stepping Stones pub is 400 metres beyond the station).

Trains back are at 15.50 (changing at Guildford), 16.04 (changing at Redhill, ie in the opposite direction), 17.50 (via Guildford), 18.04 (via Redhill): both routes take an hour.

There are also number 32 buses from outside the Compasses Inn to Guildford at 16.19 and 17.19, taking 25 minutes. The former is useful if you just miss the 16.04 train: the 17.19 bus probably doesn't save any time compared to the 17.50 train once you have factored in the walk from the bus station to the railway station in Guildford.

Trains from Box Hill station are at 40 past the hour to Victoria: your return to Gomshall should be valid on this route (point out you can get to Gomshall by changing between the two Dorking stations). T=2.13

9 comments:

Walker said...

This is of more use to those north of the river, but it has been pointed out to me by our resident train fare expert that while a day return From Waterloo to Gomshall, any permitted, with a Network Card is £14.20, from boundary zone six it is only £4.60. If you were then able to get a six zone travelcard with a Network Card discount (which you can do at weekends), the cost would be £8.60 (£12.70 without the Network discount) + £4.60 = £13.20. This may not sound like a large reduction, but it would include your travel from your house to and from Waterloo. Depending on how much this is, you could save you several pounds.

One snag. Buying a 1-6 travelcard with a Network Card is only possible from "normal" rail station ticket machines and ticket offices. The Undergroud ticket machines do not offer this option - or did not last time I looked - though they do offer discounted travelcards for other types of railcard (Senior, Disabled...). But if you have a normal rail station nearby - or can get to a rail station ticket office in advance or one of the machines which lets you buy tickets in advance (which the Waterloo ones do, though the function is somewhat clunky), then you could take advantage of this.

Anonymous said...

Thank you to the Train Fare Expert for working out the Network Card discount, and to Walker for sharing the information.
As a keen walker with a limited budget, the train fare advice is very much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of doing the short cut between Shere and Gomshall then continuing on to Dorking, which would make a walk of about 9.5 miles with easy trains back to London

Anonymous said...

if go to Dorking, what ticket should we buy?

Walker said...

I think the safest ticket if you are ending at Dorking is still a Gomshall day return, valid any permitted. This is definitely valid both via Guildford and via Redhill/Dorking. You could in theory do Gomshall to Dorking Deepdene and then Dorking (main station) to London on the way back from Gomshall, so a Gomshall return is valid via Dorking or Box Hill, says I, even though this is a slightly unconventional way to do the journey.

By contrast a Dorking return is almost certainly not valid via Guildford: I have looked in the past and found no evidence that it is, at least.

Walker said...

I have to correct my earlier comment: it IS now possible to buy a one day travelcard with a Network Card from an Underground ticket machine (at weekends only). I just bought one.

Anonymous said...

The pub and cafe at Sheere were both full to bursting by the time that most of the walkers arrived so some of us (at least 5) lunched in Gomshall - 3 at the Gomshall Inn which was according to reports excellent

12 of us left the walk at Gomshall on the shortcut, taking the 14.04

This means that I got home at 16.15 - rather early really but a good mornings walk with Martha’s church offering splendid views

Walker said...


N=24 on this walk on w=a-cloudy-mild-day. The group soon got a bit spread out so I am not sure what everyone did. I am surprised to see from the previous comment that 12 ended at Gomshall after 6.8 miles. I know 4 did this but for half the group to do this is unusual. I know two (or three?) did the standard main walk and one the extended loop. Four of us went on to Box Hill station.

The White Horse and Dabbling Duck cafe in Shere were indeed both full, but a fair few did squeeze into the bar area of the pub to eat and seem to have been served very quickly. Be assured that the other pub, the William Bray, is only closed till March for refurbishment, so hopefully the lunch situation on this walk will improve then. Five of us went to the Compasses Inn in Gomshall, which was nearly empty. Do I understand from the previous comment that three went to the Gomshall Mill pub? And two elsewhere?

The four of us who carried on along the North Downs Way to Box Hill station had a good walk, arriving at 4.30 at the Denbies Wine Estate where some had tea and some sampled the fermented grape juice. We then had a walk in the dark to the Stepping Stones pub for a cosy drink and caught the 6.40 train.

Paths throughout the day were dry as a bone. Another week with no mud on the boots - unprecedented for this time of year.

Anonymous said...

I took a low level route from Shere to Dorking, following footpaths on the map. It was a nice route with views of the north downs way across to the left and saves climbing the hills after lunch.