Oxshott to Claygate

Published by LindajB on

11 May. Fourteen walkers took a chance that the trains wouldn’t be suddenly cancelled due to the overtime ban and, in fact, the designated train ran on time from Waterloo. A large part of the walk was in shade, much welcomed on a sunny day with temperatures reaching 24 degrees. Even most of the mud had dried up.

Oxshott Station is right next to the heath so we were quickly surrounded by greenery and then climbed up the short steep slope to the war memorial and on through the woods, around the sand pit from where sand was once extracted to use in the local brick-making industry and onwards to reach West Bridge over the A3.

We were now on Esher Common and followed the path through the trees around Black Pond before heading down to the Portsmouth Road that was on the diversion route for the M25 closure. The walk leaders’ concerns about crossing disappeared as the traffic, although greater than usual, was also slower so cars actually stopped for us.

The route continued past the National Trust’s ‘Homewood’, through Winterdown Wood and then descended to the River Mole. The river path here is particularly pretty in the springtime with bluebells and lots of wild garlic in the dappled sunlight. After a flight of steps upwards we made our way to the lunch stop at the village of West End where most picnicked on the green and a few of us partook of the pub.

The walk after lunch took us back through West End Common o the opposite side and up to ‘The Ledges’ above the Mole before descending back down to the Portsmouth Road and Esher Common but this time following a ridge of ground above the pond.

The M25 closure and resulting traffic tailback again worked for us as cars stopped to let us cross the usually lethal Copsem Lane onto Arbrook Common, again through woodland and passing several City of London Coal Tax posts, as Sue Howard put it – a bit like the ULEZ of the day.

There was a short discussion re whether to take the shorter or longer way to Claygate and the latter won out. Unfortunately the sign post here suggests either way is the same distance, but that doesn’t take into account the longer route arriving further away from the station, so there might have been some regrets!

A few people stopped at the café for an ice cream but everyone made it back for the 16.33 train – but only the walk leaders stopped for a drink at the smallest pub in the UK – and only one of those got to taste the brew of the day, ‘Ernest’, as the other was driving!

Linda. With thanks to Barbara S  for additional photos.

Categories: Walks