Banstead Commons, Oaks Park and spectacular Lavender fields during July and August
||The Lavender flowing season is July and August - check Mayfield's farm's Twitter feed
||Banstead BR station
||Woodmamsterne BR or Coulsdon South BR station
5 miles / 8km - a little more or less for a longer / shorter loop of Oakes Park
|| 2 hours
This walk passes through some Lavender Farms, which in July and August, are a stunning sea of purple. It also goes through parkland (Oakes Park) and commons (Banstead Downs). It makes a great summer evening walk. See below about Sundays, when Banstead station is closed.
The walk starts in Banstead Downs (now being cleared of scrub after years of neglect) with London skyline views from the Gally Hills. It then joins the London loop trail, and crosses farmland towards Oaks Park (cafe, car park) - the parkland grounds of a former country house. After a loop of the park, you cross public footpaths through a series of nurseries used for growing lavender. In summer these are truely spectacular.
You then continue along the London Loop before leaving it for Woodmansterne station. Just past after the station is a family orientated pub-restaurant.
There is an alternative, slightly longer, ending via Couldson High Street, passing The Pembroke pub, to South Coulsdon station, which has a better train service.
Banstead station is closed on Sunday. On Sundays, walkers can walk from Woodmansterne to the Lavender fields and back, or do the whole walk to Banstead, and continue on to Banstead village to catch the #166 bus.
If doing the walk in reverse, just after the prison, you could divert north across the common to Belmont Station which has a pub to finish in - there is nothing near Banstead station
Driver's can catch the hourly #166 bus back to the start (Mon-Sat). On Sun it stops about 15 mins walk short in Banstead village. You can take the train back on Mon-Sat, but its 2 changes.
Drivers could just park in Oakes Park or Mayfield Farm (Jun, Jul, Aug), which both have a cafe and car park, and do a short walk in the parkland, and in the lavender fields.
Banstead (Zone 6) and Belmont (Zone 5) : Trains from London Victoria via Clapham Junction are hourly, and take about 50 mins on Mon-Sat only.
Woodmansterne (Zone 6) is on the Tattenham Corner branch with a half-hourly service, normally from London Bridge via East C (38-50 mins), but Victoria via CJ & East Croydon (50 mins) on Mon-Fri evenings
South Coulsdon (Zone 6) has regular trains to both Victoria and London Bridge via East Croydon.
Return to your car
The #166 bus follows the route, with stops at Banstead Station, Basnstead Village (off route), Oakes Park / Lavender Farms, Woodmansterne station, and Coulsdon High Street. It runs the whole route, 1 per hour, on Mon-Sat. But runs regularly from Banstead Village to Coulsdon section (3x per hour On-Sat, 2x per hour on Sun)
Oaks Park / Lavender Farms : SM7 3BA
Oakes Park Cafe - facebook.com/Oaksparktearoom -in Oakes Park - open 7 days
Mayfield Lavender Farm Cafe - Jun-Aug
The Smuggler's Inn - CR5 3BE - on the main finish in Woodmansterne route (about 200m after the station, over the footbridge, turn left on the main road) - family friendly food pub
The Pembroke - pembrokecoulsdon.co.uk - Coulson High Street, on the "finish in South Coulsdon" route - modernish high street pub
Mayfield Farm (mayfieldlavender.com) - SM7 3JA - is one of several Lavender farms in the area, this one is open from June to August. It has a cafe, farms shop and parking, and charges £1 to walk across its fields (i.e. off the public footpath). In the 18th and 19th centuries, the north downs, with chalk soils, was the world centre for Lavender production. While many farms became suburbs in the 20thC, there are still many nursuries in the area. Mayfield particularly welcomes visitors.
Banstead Commons Conservators (bansteadcommonsconservators.org.uk) The commons have an illustrious history in the 16th and 18th centuries, but have recently been divided in 2 by a dual carriageway, and become covered in scrub. The scrub is now being removed, and the area returned to chalk downland, to open up views of London. The Gally Hills, named for the gallows that used to be there, have some bronze age burial mounds
friendsofoakspark.org.uk - Oakes Park, SM7 3BA, the parkland of a former country house, has formal gardens, meadows, a park cafe, and parking.