Dorking figure of eight, January 27th
An impressive 18 assembled at Dorking Station. Weather was dry and mild and the sun was trying to make an appearance. Passing through the town centre park, we entered the large estate, now owned by Denbies vineyard. Climbing slightly, we emerged from woods to have a fine view to the south, of Westcott and the Surrey Hills.
Turning south, we crossed the railway reaching Milton Court. Through a gateway we could see an imposing house. This is now owned by Unum, an insurance company that provides employee benefits. The house dates from the 17th century, having been granted to the father of John Evelyn, the diarist, after the Reformation.
Crossing the A25, we entered woods, known as the Nower and after a stiff climb reached a gazebo with extensive views of Dorking and to the south. There was a family already ensconced who regularly make the ascent and produce bacon rolls on a small stove. The smell of this made the non-vegetarians extremely hungry and we quickly descended to the town and lunch.
Here, some of us met up with Elizabeth Shaw, a member of our club for many years and a local resident. It was good to catch up with her, and she accompanied us on the 1st part of our afternoon walk. Only a few yards from the busy High Street, we entered Rose Hill, a substantial area of rough pasture, surrounded by attractive older houses. There was a small group of rare breed sheep grazing peacefully.
Saying goodbye to Elizabeth, we swung east crossing the A24. A stiffish climb brought us to a ridge with views as far as the south Downs. This had previously been part of the grounds of Deepdene House, a prominent estate until its decline in the 20th century. It had been the headquarters of Southern Railway in the second world war.
Passing through the corner of Betchworth Park and the golf club, we were fortunate to reach the café at Hillier Garden Centre just in time to enjoy cups of tea and cakes before it closed.
Thanks to all who came out and contributed to a pleasant day. There were some new faces; hope you enjoyed it and that we see you again.
And special thanks to Christine M for the photos.