Box Hill Circular via Mickleham walk

A fairly strenuous walk in a beautiful part of the North Downs.

History

This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Date Post # Weather
Sat, 09-Oct-21 Saturday Walk - Box Hill Circular 16 mist clearing to sun
Sun, 29-Dec-19 Sunday Walk - Now A Tad Longer: Box Hill & Westhumble Circular - a hilly 10-miler in the North Downs 15 gorgeous sunshine
Wed, 02-Jan-19 Wednesday Walk - Time to burn off some calories: Boxhill & Westhumble Circular or to Dorking 17
Sun, 27-May-18 Sunday Walk – Four mini-Munros in the South East (Box Hill) 6 warm and humid
Sat, 01-Jul-17 Box Hill Circular - relaxed pace with butterflies, heathland, views and tea 25 bright cloud with some hot sun
Wed, 21-Jun-17 Wednesday Walk - Boxhill & Westhumble Circular or to Dorking 5 sunny and very hot 31 deg C
Wed, 31-Aug-16 Wednesday Walk - Box Hill & Westhumble Circular 9 hot and humid
Sat, 31-Oct-15 Saturday Second Walk - Box Hill autumn colours 20 lovely warm sunshine
Sat, 08-Mar-14 Box Hill Circular 16
Sun, 15-Sep-13 Box Hill Circular 5
Fri, 28-Dec-12 Box Hill to Dorking (short walk, omitting Headley Heath)
Fri, 28-Dec-12 Box Hill Circular (short walk, omitting Headley Heath)
Sun, 18-Nov-12 Box Hill Circular (short walk, omitting Headley Heath)
Sat, 07-Apr-12 Box Hill Circular
Sat, 05-Nov-11 Box Hill Circular
Sun, 25-Sep-11 Box Hill Circular
Sat, 01-Jan-11 Box Hill Circular (short walk, omitting Headley Heath)
Wed, 10-Nov-10 Box Hill Circular (short walk, omitting Headley Heath)
Sun, 03-Oct-10 Box Hill Circular
Wed, 27-Jan-10 Box Hill Circular
Sun, 18-Oct-09 Box Hill Circular via Mickleham
Sat, 19-Sep-09 Box Hill Circular via Mickleham
Sun, 26-Apr-09 Box Hill Circular via Mickleham
Sat, 09-Oct-21
Saturday Walk - Box Hill Circular
Box Hill Circular T=swc.64
Length: 10.1 miles (16¼ km). Four hours 40 minutes walking time
This short but strenuous North Downs walk traverses a series of hills in a clockwise loop north and east of Box Hill & Westhumble station: Norbury Park, Mickleham Downs, Headley Heath and finally Box Hill itself. There are many fine viewpoints and in several places you can see your earlier route from a new perspective.
Trains: Get the 0925 Horsham train (Clapham 0932) from London Victoria, arriving Box Hill & Westhumble at 1019. There is also a 0924 Dorking train from Waterloo (Wimbledon 0940) arriving Box Hill & Westhumble 1011. The Waterloo train is more expensive. Return trains are xx33 (Waterloo) & xx39 (Victoria)
Lunch: King William IV (food all day) or the Running Horses (food all day), both in Mickleham (6.2 km/3.8 mi).
Tea: There is a popular café inside the National Trust Visitor Centre at the top of Box Hill. The Stepping Stones pub (open all day), a short walk from the station. Pilgrim Cycles at the station seems to be closed at weekends according to their website.
  • Anonymous
    06-Oct-21

    Is it Box hill and Westhumble station or Dorking st. please?

  • 06-Oct-21

    The clue is in the walk name, but I've updated the post

  • 09-Oct-21

    Hi PeteG, I'm new to the site and was planning on coming on this walk. I just missed the train and the next one is in an hour. I will try and catch up with you all.

  • 09-Oct-21

    I made it to the King Will lunch pub if anyone is around (I'm dressed in black with square glasses). Otherwise I will have to catch you on another walk.

    The route has been very good so far!

  • 09-Oct-21

    Our train seemed to be the only one out of Victoria that was not cancelled, so that was a good start. At Box Hill about 70 walkers disembarked. Most belonged to other groups. Ours possibly numbered 14 or possibly more; I counted but did not write it down. Two late starters joined us later, so let’s say 16 .

    At the start it was misty, and a fog also descended on our direction finding. First we went a different way to evade an epic-sized meet-up group, and then we missed our way and ended up on a path I have never discovered in twenty years of exploring this area. Eventually we climbed a steep zigzag path to get back on piste, but at the top got lost doing an extra loop on Fetcham Downs that the walk author has added in so we don’t get to lunch too early (thanks!). We went right round in a circle and came back to our starting point, so I suppose it achieved its purpose.

    At the William IV the landlord showed mild alarm at the arrival of customers, and when we admitted we had not booked, warned that he was “old”. But a youth from the village took our order with reasonable dispatch and the food was not ridiculously slow in coming. I was glad to have got there before the big walking group that turned up half an hour later, however (damned walking groups!)

    While we ate the sun snuck out. So mist clearing to sun . It was then a lovely golden afternoon, but someone seemed to have stolen my leg muscles. Never be fooled into thinking that this is a fairly short walk. It is a positive Eiger. If it goes up hill, it immediately goes down dale. Its creator takes a positive delight in seeking out the steepest climbs. The near vertical pull up onto Box Hill itself is particularly cruel so late in the walk.

    We had a sit down there amidst the noisy kiddies. I then persuaded the others to eschew the National Trust cafe and go down the slope to Ryka’s instead. I was justly blamed because the latter did not have good cakes. Faced with 50 minutes to the next train (Southern and Southeastern seemed to have waited until passenger numbers returned and then cut the service frequency) some of us did an extra loop via Burford Meadow and the North Downs Way. Some got the 17.33 to Waterloo; the cognoscenti waited for the less busy and more modern 17.39 to Victoria. A pity that with just two trains an hour they have to leave within six minutes of each other.

    So back to the mad maelstrom that is London on a Saturday night in the tail end of the Covid pandemic. Did it used to be like this? Have I forgotten?

  • 09-Oct-21

    Shri here - lovely to meet you all (Margaret, Robin, Francis and others) on my first outing with the group. Hope to see you guys and others another day, another time. Uploaded a few (half-decent) pictures from the day...

    cheerio, S

Sun, 29-Dec-19
Sunday Walk - Now A Tad Longer: Box Hill & Westhumble Circular - a hilly 10-miler in the North Downs
Length: 16.1 km (10.0 mi) [for shorter versions, omitting Headley Heath: see pdf]
Ascent/Descent: 548m; Net Walking Time: 4 ¼ hours
Toughness: 7/10
Take the 09.46 Dorking (Main) stopping service from Victoria (Battersea Park 09.50, CJ 09.54, Wandsworth Common 09.57 etc.), arrives Box Hill & Westhumble at 10.56.
Or take the 09.41 Dorking (Main) stopping service from Waterloo (Vauxhall 09.48, CJ 09.56, Wimbledon 10.10 etc.), arrives Box Hill & Westhumble at 10.51. [Check timetable the day before if strike still on!!!]
Return trains are on xx.10 (to Waterloo), xx.14 and xx.44 (to Victoria).
This short but strenuous walk climbs up a series of hills in a clockwise loop north and east of Box Hill & Westhumble station: Norbury Park, Mickleham Downs, Headley Heath and Box Hill itself.
There are many fine viewpoints on this walk and in several places you can see your earlier route from a new perspective.
Norbury Park Nature Reserve is described by Surrey Wildlife Trust as a ‘working landscape’ which includes one saw mill and three farms. The prominent house at its centre was built in 1774 and has had several famous owners and tenants, including Leopold Salomons, who donated Box Hill to the National Trust in 1914, and Dr Marie Stopes, the family planning pioneer.
Box Hill and Headley Heath are both owned by the National Trust, which has introduced special breeds of sheep and cattle to restore more of the downland to its original ‘unimproved’ condition; unfertilized land is richer in wild flowers. This diversity also supports many butterflies: 40 of the 58 British species have been found on Box Hill.
Lunch: King William IV (food all day) or the Running Horses (food all day), both in Mickleham (6.2 km/3.8 mi).
Tea: Stepping Stones pub (open all day) or Pilgrim Cycles (open to 16.00) near/at Boxhill & Westhumble station.
For summary, map, height profile, some photos, walk directions and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.64

Stargazer is away...
  • 30-Dec-19

    I am sure someone will do a proper report soon, but this was a lovely energetic walk (to work off all those mince pies), well attended (16 or so? I did not count) and in gorgeous sunshine . We even ate outside at the King William IV. A real tonic.

  • 30-Dec-19

    Well, and I thought you might do a proper report...

    Here goes: 15 (about a handful of those car drivers), initially overcast but soon breaking, so mostly gorgeous sunshine . Not much deep mud on this route but plenty thin slithery layers on steep chalky ground, making for careful traipsing down the hills (I'm not aware of any falls). The additional mini-loop in the morning (making this a "tad longer" than previous versions of the walk) works well, we thought: the woods crossed on it are mainly plantation, so not THAT interesting compared to the rest, but one gets fine - and different - views down the Mole Valley to Leatherhead.

    Service at the pub was fast and food quality good, so top marks for the William IV on a busy day for them. The picnickers had eaten either in the playground in Mickledon or moved on to the Gallopps to bathe in sunshine there, and most waited for the lunchers to catch up with them, only 1 walker sped ahead.

    1 other then got waylaid by following old printed directions from 2012 (a 6-way junction (now) was a four-way junction (then) and the resulting "turn first right" direction consequently led him astray). Some stopped at the NT Cafe at Box Hill (the group was still largely together at this point), and only one walker moved ahead fast enough from there to catch the 15.44 train. All other train travellers found themselves on the 16.14. (The cafe in the bike shop had unfortunately shut for the day at 14.00 hours.)

Wed, 02-Jan-19
Wednesday Walk - Time to burn off some calories: Boxhill & Westhumble Circular or to Dorking
Length: 15.1 km (9.4 mi) or 16.5 km [for shorter versions: see pdf]
Ascent/Descent: 540m; Net Walking Time: 4 ¼ hours
Toughness: 7/10
Take the 10.25 Horsham train from Victoria (CJ 10.32, Carshalton 10.49 etc.), arrives Box Hill & Westhumble at 11.18.
Return trains are on xx.19 (change Dorking) and xx.40. [Buy a Dorking return for the Dorking ending.]
This short but strenuous walk climbs up a series of hills in a clockwise loop north and east of Box Hill & Westhumble station: Norbury Park, Mickleham Downs, Headley Heath and finally Box Hill itself.
There are many fine viewpoints on this walk and in several places you can see your earlier route from a new perspective. This part of the North Downs is deservedly popular, but there are some quieter places in between.
Norbury Park Nature Reserve is described by Surrey Wildlife Trust as a ‘working landscape’ which includes one saw mill and three farms. The prominent house at its centre was built in 1774 and has had several famous owners and tenants, including Leopold Salomons, who donated Box Hill to the National Trust in 1914, and Dr Marie Stopes, the family planning pioneer.
Box Hill and Headley Heath are both owned by the National Trust, which has introduced special breeds of sheep and cattle to restore more of the downland to its original ‘unimproved’ condition; unfertilized land is richer in wild flowers. This diversity also supports many butterflies: 40 of the 58 British species have been found on Box Hill.
Lunch: King William IV (food all day) or the Running Horses (food to 15.00), both in Mickleham (4.7 km/2.9 mi).
Tea: the Stepping Stones pub or Pilgrim Cycles near/at Boxhill & Westhumble station, or the Lincoln Arms on Dorking's Station Approach.
For summary, map, height profile, some photos, walk directions and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.64

  • Anonymous
    31-Dec-18

    Sounds good. Looking forward.

  • Anonymous
    31-Dec-18

    Will be attending and hope to see many of you. Happy new year.

    Monica

  • Anonymous
    01-Jan-19

    Planning to a do a part of this walk. Driving and parking at Box Hill & Westhumble station or Denbies. If anyone else is interested then I can call in at Tadworth or Tattenham Corner station, 4 seats available.

    The stroller

  • 03-Jan-19

    17 on the walk on a bright, slightly overcast day. Good walking conditions with next to no mud. Eight for lunch in the William IV, so the group split up, with a mini regroup with 2 sandwich eaters at the NT cafe for tea.

Sun, 27-May-18
Sunday Walk – Four mini-Munros in the South East (Box Hill)
Extra Walk 64 – Box Hill Circular
Length: 14¾ km (9.2 miles). Toughness: 7/10

10:12 Dorking train from Victoria (Clapham Jct 10:20), arriving Box Hill & Westhumble at 11:07.

Trains back from Box Hill are at xx:10 to Waterlooo, xx:19 & xx:49 to Victoria. From the transport point of view there's no advantage in taking the longer ending to Dorking as all trains call at Box Hill on Sundays.

On the eve of the SWC expedition to the gentle slopes of north-west Scotland, I thought some walkers might like to tackle four mini-Munros closer to home. This strenuous little walk involves climbs onto Norbury Park, Mickleham Downs and Headley Heath, before the steepest ascent up Box Hill itself. If that all sounds too much, the Short Walk option cuts out Headley Heath and there are other short cuts mentioned in the directions.

There's a choice of two nice (though fairly expensive) places in Mickleham if you want a pub lunch, a third of the way through the Main Walk. The route goes past the King WilliamⅣ; shortly before this, a little detour would take you to the Running Horses. You'll get to the village before 12.30pm but it's advisable to call one of these places and book a table if you want to eat inside.

After your final climb you'll find the NT café and servery at the top of Box Hill. At the station Pilgrim Cycles incorporates a small café, but call in advance if you're relying on this to check it will still be open. [I was slightly concerned to see the word "Surly" while scanning its website; I hope this refers to a make of bike, not the service]. There's also a pub on the way to the station.

You'll need to bring the directions from the Box Hill Circular walk page. If you're sure about which option you'll be doing you can reduce the amount printed by clicking on it in the Walk Options list. T=swc.64
  • Anonymous
    27-May-18

    anyone doing this walk today? I'd love to, but weather is looking rubbish!

  • Anonymous
    27-May-18

    I missed the suggested train, on next one,arrives 1137, shall i walk fast and catch you up?

  • 28-May-18

    6 walkers turned out on a warm and humid day with no sign of the forecast rain for this short but strenuous walk. Lunch at King William IV where the regular menu was augmented by a barbecue. Two took a short cut but four continued with the main walk, stopped for refreshment at NT café on top of Box Hill, and three for further imbibing at The Stepping Stones near the station. A very pleasant day out.

Sat, 01-Jul-17
Box Hill Circular - relaxed pace with butterflies, heathland, views and tea
SWC Walk 64 - Box Hill Circular
Length: 15km (9.3 miles)
Toughness: 8 out of 10: some steep climbs

9.31 train from Victoria (9.37 Clapham Junction, 9.59 Sutton) to Box Hill & Westhumble, arriving 10.21.

There is a faint possibility of train disruption on this route due to a drivers' work to rule, although Southern have said they expect to run a full Saturday service. But fear not. In the event that this train gets cancelled, meet near the barriers to that platform and we will plot another route - eg to Clapham Junction and on one of the very regular South West Trains to Dorking.

For walk directions click here.

Buy a day return to Box Hill & Westhumble - or to Dorking (only a few pence more) if you want to cover yourself for possible train disruption or use the alternative ending from there.

What is life if full of care?
We have no time to stop and stare
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.... (etc: full poem)

This is not a long walk and so often gets done in autumn and winter. But it also goes over some wonderful terrain for summer wildflowers and butterflies. Eg the slopes of Box Hill can be alive with marbled white butterflies (see photo) at this time of year. (This is weather dependent, however: they tend to hide in wet or very cloudy conditions.)

The walk also has some steep climbs but some pleasant spots with fine views where you might like to take your ease. It is summer, after all....

There are two lunch pubs, both of which can be popular. Because of this - and because of possible train disruption - I have chosen an earlier train time, aiming to arrive at the pubs just as they open. This will also give us lots of time to do the six mile afternoon of the walk and stop to look at things.

Trains back from Box Hill are at 28 past till 18.28, then 19.01 and 01 past to 22.01. If any of these get cancelled, it is not an enormous walk to Dorking (and there are even alternative endings of the walk going there) which has a much bigger choice of trains.
T=3.64


  • Sandy
    30-Jun-17

    Planning to join you but getting the 465 bus from Kingston. I should be at Westhumble a few minutes before you, but if not I'll try and catch up. If you do "plot another route" from Clapham Junction, a text on 07817 492330 letting me know would be lovely.

    Many thanks

    Sandy

  • 02-Jul-17

    20 at the start on this walk: others dribbled in with various excuses for being late ("the hamster got out", "the dog ate the alarm clock": must try harder, you lot), so I saying 25 on this walk and who will gainsay me? Three other groups seemed to start with us but none went to the King William IV for lunch, thank God. Getting there early meant we had its fine outside terrace to ourself.

    As for the walk, unalloyed delight. Who would guess from all those autumn and winter outings that it was so awash with downland flowers in summer? (Well, I did actually: that is why I posted it.) Loads of butterflies too - mostly meadow brown and ringlet but lots of marbled whites too, and - oh! - was that a silver-washed fritillary? Dear reader, it was! Two of them! The weather was bright cloud with some hot sun .

    The NT kiosk at Box Hill was as busy as ever but for once had no big queues. Most people got trains home far too early. Two of us had a lovely dinner in the garden of the Stepping Stones and then walked to Dorking as an encore in the sunny dusk.

Wed, 21-Jun-17
Wednesday Walk - Boxhill & Westhumble Circular or to Dorking
Length: 15.1 km (9.4 mi) or 16.5 km [for shorter versions: see pdf]
Ascent/Descent: approx. 600m; Net Walking Time: 4 ½ hours
Toughness: 7/10
Take the 10.31 Horsham train from Victoria (CJ 10.38), arrives Box Hill & Westhumble at 11.21.
Return trains are (broadly) half-hourly on the hour.
This short but strenuous walk climbs up a series of hills in a clockwise loop north and east of Box Hill & Westhumble station: Norbury Park, Mickleham Downs, Headley Heath and finally Box Hill itself.
There are many fine viewpoints on this walk and in several places you can see your earlier route from a new perspective. This part of the North Downs is deservedly popular, but there are some quieter places in between.
Norbury Park Nature Reserve is described by Surrey Wildlife Trust as a ‘working landscape’ which includes one saw mill and three farms. The prominent house at its centre was built in 1774 and has had several famous owners and tenants, including Leopold Salomons, who donated Box Hill to the National Trust in 1914, and Dr Marie Stopes, the family planning pioneer.
Box Hill and Headley Heath are both owned by the National Trust, which has introduced special breeds of sheep and cattle to restore more of the downland to its original ‘unimproved’ condition; unfertilized land is richer in wild flowers. This diversity also supports many butterflies: 40 of the 58 British species have been found on Box Hill.
Lunch: King William IV (food all day) or the Running Horses (food to 15.00), both in Mickleham (4.7 km/2.9 mi).
Tea: the Stepping Stones pub or Pilgrim Cycles near/at Boxhill & Westhumble station, or the Lincoln Arms on Dorking's Station Approach.
For summary, map, height profile, some photos, walk directions and gpx/kml files click here.T=swc.64
Next Week: Glynde to Seaford
  • 21-Jun-17

    5 sunny and very hot 31 deg C . Good walk for a hot day with plenty of shade. Lunch at King William IV was up to the usual high standard. We took the shorter option back via Box Hill tea room. Still plenty of water in the Mole at the stepping stones.

Wed, 31-Aug-16
Wednesday Walk - Box Hill & Westhumble Circular
At very short notice, a walk posting I had up my sleeve…SWC Walk 64 Box Hill & Westhumble Circular
Length: 15.1 km (9.4 mi)
Ascent/Descent: 624m; Net Walking Time: 4 ½ hours
Toughness: 7/10
Take the 10.31 Horsham train from Victoria (10.38 CJ), arrives Box Hill & Westhumble 11.21.
Off-Peak returns are only £8.90, so don’t use your Network Railcard (minimum mid-week fare: £13.00).
Return trains are on 15.59, 16.28, 17.03, 17.33, 17.58, 18.33 etc.
I’ve led this walk for The Ramblers at the beginning of the month, and was reminded of how nice this clockwise expedition is, avoiding the steep ascent to Box Hill, yet getting in quite a bit of exercise on a relatively short outing, and the walk has not been posted yet this year.
The Mole Valley, Norbury Park, Headley Heath and Box Hill, fine views from several viewpoints, two nice pubs and plenty of choice for tea stops (café, pub or winery). Optional finish in Dorking (described in the write-up), or via Denbies Vineyard (not described but easy to find for anyone familiar with the area).You can easily extend the walk by taking a longer route through Headley Heath (map required).
Lunch is after about a third of the distance, in Mickleham, either at the recommended King William IV with its nice garden, or at the Running Horses.
For tea, there is a café inside the National Trust Visitor Centre at the top of Box Hill, plus a Servery offering hot and cold drinks, cakes and ice-creams. There is plenty of outdoor seating and more tables inside. The NT website occasionally offers a “£1 voucher if arriving by public transport”, so you could try showing your train ticket.
At Box Hill & Westhumble station the Old Booking Hall contains Pilgrim Cycles (01306-886958), a bicycle shop with a convenient café; its posted closing time is 17.00, so you should have no problem getting there before it closes. It will also readily stay open later if called in advance.
There are pubs near the end of both walk options which are open all day: the Stepping Stones (01306-889932) on Westhumble Street and the Lincoln Arms (01306-882820) in Dorking's Station Approach. You will find more refreshment places in and around the High Street if you go past its stations into the town centre (see the webpage for details).
For summary, map, height profile, photos, walk directions/options and gpx/kml files click here.T=swc.64
  • Anonymous
    30-Aug-16

    Looking forward to doing the walk tomorrow. Thanks Thomas!

  • Anonymous
    30-Aug-16

    Thanks, Thomas.

  • Marc Ricketts
    30-Aug-16

    Now I might do the walk Tomorrow. But I can't Guarantee I will.

  • Anonymous
    30-Aug-16

    i may do the walk the conventional way doing the ascent first altho am enmeshed in another court case against neighbours from Hell so may not make it at all jfk

  • Anonymous
    31-Aug-16

    Box Hill Circular: Wed 31st August: About 9-10 on this outing on a hot and humid day. Plenty of woody shade, however. A good workout despite the relatively short distance. Pleasant, chatty group. One peeled off shortly before the King William IV pub to explore Denbies. The rest of us split amicably with four heading for the pub, and the others not seen again having sandwiched on the hill. Good food and efficient service in pub, especially given we were beaten to the bar by an all-male group of ramblers. The quartet stopped again at the National Trust tearoom and enjoyed some fine cake. We got the train shortly after 5 back to the smoke, managing to sample some ice cream at the bike shop cum cafe just before. Thanks to Thomas for putting on the walk, especially such an apt choice.

  • Anonymous
    31-Aug-16

    Just to be clear: the Denbies explorer also split amicably with the group, as is the SWC norm.

  • Anonymous
    01-Sep-16

    9 hot and humid

  • Anonymous
    01-Sep-16

    I had a slightly different experience of Box Hill and Mickleham and stopped for lunch at the slightly less expensive italian restaurant at the base of George !V pub. Some of this variation features in my own figure of 8 walk of Boxhill jfk

Sat, 31-Oct-15
Saturday Second Walk - Box Hill autumn colours
SWC Walk 64 - Box Hill Circular
Length: 15km (9.3 miles)
Toughness: 8 out of 10

9.31 train from Victoria (9.38 Clapham Junction, 9.59 Sutton) to Box Hill, arriving 10.21

Buy a day return to Box Hill & Westhumble (Look and see if there is a cheaper Southern only ticket to Dorking: if so, take it, as all your travel will be on Southern).

For walk directions click here.

Autumn colours seem to be developing nicely, so I have picked a walk with plenty of woods, though this circumnavigation of the Box Hill area also has some fine views. It is a strenuous outing with some good hill climbs and descents, so even though it is a short walk you still get a good leg stretch. Be careful on the chalk paths, which can be slippery when the ground is wet.

Lunch is early in this walk - after just 5km/3 miles - and a 10.30 train is usually recommended for this reason. But since days are now short, and since there is a tea option at the Box Hill Visitor Centre before the end of the walk, I thought we might profit from all the afternoon daylight we can get.

So my scheme is to get to the two very excellent - not to say delectable - lunch pubs on this walk when they open at midday. If you walk too fast in the morning, you might even get there before they open. So stop and look at the view at some point.

Trains back are at 28 past till 18.28 and then 19.00 and on the hour till 22.00
  • 01-Nov-15

    20 on this walk in lovely warm sunshine . The autumn colours were wonderful too, much more advanced than I expected - coppery beeches, yellow field and Norway maple, golden birches. We got to lunch slightly before midday but that meant empty pubs and quick service. The King William IV contingent ate outside on the terrace, an unexpected delight at this time of year.

    In the afternoon Headley Heath looked especially beautiful - I have never seen it looking so nice. I think most at some point had tea at the Box Hill kiosk, and there was then a dreamlike descent in golden sunshine to Burford Bridge, where a bunch of us got the 4.28 train, some apparently having got the 3.28.