Holmwood circular

Published by Sigrid on

8 June. Eleven of us set out for this figure of eight walk. Not long after we’d arrived at Holmwood a cloud decided to release itself, but luckily it was short lived. With the temperature on the cooler side, it turned out to be a perfect day for this walk, as it is quite hilly, so, getting overly hot wasn’t one of our problems. After a lengthy stretch along Moorhurst Lane we branched off towards Kitlands before climbing up to Coldharbour Chapel. Alas, we couldn’t go inside, as there was a wedding on that day. The entrance was decorated and we could hear brass music emanating from behind the door.

Coldharbour Chapel in bloom

After a short water stop we ventured on in the direction of Leith Hill, but at this stage we didn’t walk up to the very top as this was reserved for the afternoon. Nonetheless, quite a steep climb was necessary before we reached the cross paths from where I needed to find our route to our lunchtime destination.

There are sections within this area that can be rather vexing with numerous paths going off left, right and centre. But with the help of Tony’s OS mobile phone app (luckily, we had a signal at that stage) we found the right path to get us toward High Ashes Hill, then down through Pasture Woods before reaching our picnic stop and refreshments at the King’s Head pub with its café next door in Holmbury St. Mary.

A brief rest before the uphill to Leith Hill Tower

Fortified we continued our walk on the Greensand Way, an uphill path through Foxmoor Wood, past High Ashes Farm before the next steady climb up to Leith Hill with its tower rising majestically against the sky. It afforded us great views across the Surrey valleys and towards London. On a clear day one might even discern the Wembley Stadium Arch and other tall London landmarks.

Stone Cattle Trough on Leith Hill

Views from Leith Hill

Leith Hill Tower and its surrounding woods are managed by the National Trust and one of our walkers took the opportunity to climb up the 78 steps to the top of the tower which marks the highest point in South East England according to its website – https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/surrey/leith-hill/visiting-leith-hill-tower

After a short but welcomed rest to take in the views and to recover from the climb, we made our way down and across the figure of eight mid-point before going up again through the woods leading to the village of Coldharbour. To our surprise on our arrival there, many of the very smartly dressed wedding guests were making their way on foot from the Plough Inn towards Anstiebury Farm and beyond. As this was also our route for a while we couldn’t help but mingle with them and one of the guests kindly offered me a cocktail drink from her can. But knowing what awaited us I declined politely, as very soon we branched off to negotiate six stiles, with some of them quite awkward to get across, before turning again into Moorhurst Lane leading us back towards Holmwood station.

Sigrid, with thanks to Mary-Jane and Elisabeth H for additional pictures and Christine R for helping with the recce.

Categories: Walks