1 April. The Boxhill Circular walk started well. We welcomed a guest from North London HF ramblers. The weather was overcast, but dry as we ascended Box Hill and it looked like the walk would go to plan.
Once we reached Salomons Memorial Viewpoint, we descended down the hill to walk through the fields, passing Brockham, but cattle were roaming very close to the path. This posed a danger and members were not keen on bypassing cattle and I persuaded them to take an alternative route. Whereupon the walk become increasingly arduous, due to the clambering through the thick mud.
Tea at the Tree, before the floods …
The excessive mud and slippery conditions were challenging for us all, but our resolve to view the lesser known Betchworth Quarry and Lime Kilns drove us to an alternative route back to Boxhill Village, where we refreshed and rested at the Tree pub.
Thereafter, it seemed the rest of the walk would go swimmingly. However, nature set an April Fools’ swimming prank! Once we descended the 275 steps to the bottom of the Stepping Stones walk, the river Mole had burst its banks, which prevented crossing the bridge and the flooding was so excessive it had converted the intended path through a field in to a mini reservoir, so like the Grand Old Duke of York, we had to march up the 275 steps again! This nature’s prank taught me two valuable lessons as a walk leader firstly always have an alternative route planned and secondly not to scoff at floodings, they can arise from nowhere. I did the recce on a Tuesday and there was no excessive water, four days later an excessive flood. Take heed walk leaders?!
Brian. Thanks to Christine M and Tony for photos.