MAY 2nd Bank Holiday Monday, Box Hill and Westhumble to Dorking, plus Dorking loop

The Saturday walk had attracted 24 walkers so I was pleased to have a turnout of 13.I was impressed to learn that 10 of them had been on the Saturday walk too – hats off to them. It was good to have Sandra with us for the 1st time in a few weeks. From Boxhill and Westhumble Station we made our way uphill to the west, passing through Dobies Vineyard to join the Pilgrims Way. The wooded section was alive with birdsong and the open stretch gave us sunny views across the valley towards  Leith Hill. Turning downhill and crossing the railway we passed along Milton Street, lined with some very attractive 17th century and older houses. Entering woods we climbed up to a ridge with a gazebo, where we sat and appreciated views both to the north  and Box Hill and to the south towards the South Downs.

After lunch in Dorking we set off to the south, passing through Rosehill, a piece of rough pasture surrounded by imposing houses but just a stone’s throw from the Dorking’s busy High Street. Turning eastwards we climbed up to another wooded ridge with extensive views to the south. This was formerly part of the grounds of Deepdene House, a large Italianate house dating from mid 19th century. Sadly, after bankruptcy of the owner, it fell into disrepair, passing through various hands until ending up owned by Southern Railway who demolished it the 1960’s. Continuing east, we passed through farmland and Betchworth Park. A map reading error on my part meant we shortened the walk by about half a mile from that published, but we were rewarded by reaching a garden centre just before its cafe was about to close. The three women running it put on a brave face cheerfully served us with reviving beverages and some more than acceptable cakes. All in all, a satisfactory end to an enjoyable day’s walking. Thanks to those that came.

Mike Coyle.
Many thanks to Ida and Stuart for the photos.