Box Hill Circular via Mickleham walk
A fairly strenuous walk in a beautiful part of the North Downs.
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.
|Sat, ||Saturday Walk - Box Hill Circular||16||mist clearing to sun|
|Sun, ||Sunday Walk - Now A Tad Longer: Box Hill & Westhumble Circular - a hilly 10-miler in the North Downs||15||gorgeous sunshine|
|Wed, ||Wednesday Walk - Time to burn off some calories: Boxhill & Westhumble Circular or to Dorking||17|
|Sun, ||Sunday Walk – Four mini-Munros in the South East (Box Hill)||6||warm and humid|
|Sat, ||Box Hill Circular - relaxed pace with butterflies, heathland, views and tea||25||bright cloud with some hot sun|
|Wed, ||Wednesday Walk - Boxhill & Westhumble Circular or to Dorking||5||sunny and very hot 31 deg C|
|Wed, ||Wednesday Walk - Box Hill & Westhumble Circular||9||hot and humid|
|Sat, ||Saturday Second Walk - Box Hill autumn colours||20||lovely warm sunshine|
|Sat, ||Box Hill Circular||16|
|Sun, ||Box Hill Circular||5|
|Fri, ||Box Hill to Dorking (short walk, omitting Headley Heath)|
|Fri, ||Box Hill Circular (short walk, omitting Headley Heath)|
|Sun, ||Box Hill Circular (short walk, omitting Headley Heath)|
|Sat, ||Box Hill Circular|
|Sat, ||Box Hill Circular|
|Sun, ||Box Hill Circular|
|Sat, ||Box Hill Circular (short walk, omitting Headley Heath)|
|Wed, ||Box Hill Circular (short walk, omitting Headley Heath)|
|Sun, ||Box Hill Circular|
|Wed, ||Box Hill Circular|
|Sun, ||Box Hill Circular via Mickleham|
|Sat, ||Box Hill Circular via Mickleham|
|Sun, ||Box Hill Circular via Mickleham|
The clue is in the walk name, but I've updated the post
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.
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!
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?
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...
Return trains are on xx.10 (to Waterloo), xx.14 and xx.44 (to Victoria).
Stargazer is away...
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.
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.)
Return trains are on xx.19 (change Dorking) and xx.40. [Buy a Dorking return for the Dorking ending.]
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Next Week: Glynde to Seaford
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.
Return trains are on 15.59, 16.28, 17.03, 17.33, 17.58, 18.33 etc.
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.
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
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.