Box Hill & Westhumble to Leatherhead

Published by Sigrid on

It is said that the number ‘10’ represents fortune and is a symbol of completion, so I was pleased when on Saturday 17 February ten of us gathered at Box Hill & Westhumble station on a rather overcast and misty morning, but without the drizzle we had encountered earlier in London.

Prior to the day of my walk, I was cogitating a good deal about which way round I should do the morning loop and which of my four route options I have from Westhumble to Leatherhead I should use in the afternoon, as after my first recce some unexpected access and safety issues were discovered. Luckily, a follow-up half-day recce a couple of days before the walk brought clarity.

We started with an elongated uphill on Crabtree Lane as far as the Crabtree Cottages, from where we entered Chapelhill Wood – some of this area is part of the Polesden Lacey Estate – after crossing Chapel Lane we climbed up a narrow, quite steep and slippery chalk path leading into Dorking Wood. The paths through these woods were rather muddy and I was relieved that we all got through it without any incident. Once we emerged near Ranmore Church, we turned off to connect with a track above Denbies vineyards and from there the terrain became more user-friendly. By then the heavy mist had cleared so we could at least enjoy some views across the vineyard towards Dorking and the hills beyond. Once back in Westhumble, a few picnickers stopped in the small sunken gardens and the rest went on to the Stepping Stones pub for refreshments. Soon after our arrival the pub became very busy, but the service was friendly and efficient.

View above Denbies vineyard

Early signs of Spring

I started to say that 10 is a number of fortune and although two of my morning companions departed at lunch time, two more members joined us for the afternoon, so our team of ten remained intact.

Fortified we ventured towards the woods where a short steep uphill took us to a track through the lower section of Druids Grove – luckily re-opened on that side after access restrictions due to Ash dieback problems. Although I describe it as the lower section one is still quite high up above the river valley.

Druids Grove

View towards Mickleham

Eventually, we emerged from the woods to an opening with a view towards Mickleham before dropping down past Mickleham Priory and Norbury Park Farm. From there we could join a path parallel to the river Mole. With the water level now low enough we could safely go through the tunnel underneath the very busy A-road. The river Mole floods easily which, after much rain, can make this tunnel inaccessible very quickly. Our walk back to Leatherhead station took us via the scenic route along the river and there were already some signs of spring with daffodils and snow drops adorning sidewalks and some trees and bushes starting to flower.

My thanks go to Daphne, Christine R and Janet to help with the recces and to all who joined me on the ramble, as well as to Catherine for additional photos of the beautiful snowdrops.

Categories: Walks