Belted Galloway on Headley Heath

13-Oct-09 • Sean O'Neill

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Broadwood's Folly, Box Hill Country Park

30-Mar-09 • Sean O'Neill

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View from White Hill

13-Oct-09 • Sean O'Neill

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Norbury Park

18-Nov-12 • Sean O'Neill

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Starting off

Box Hill Circular

31-Oct-15 • moontiger on Flickr

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Autumn in the Woods 1

Box Hill Circular

31-Oct-15 • moontiger on Flickr

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Autumn Colour

Box Hill Circular

31-Oct-15 • moontiger on Flickr

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Box Hill Circular 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.

Updated: Fri, 07-Dec-18

Date # Post
Sun, 27-May-18 6

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
anyone doing this walk today? I'd love to, but weather is looking rubbish!
I missed the suggested train, on next one,arrives 1137, shall i walk fast and catch you up?
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 25

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.

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
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 5

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
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 9

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
Looking forward to doing the walk tomorrow. Thanks Thomas!
Thanks, Thomas.
Now I might do the walk Tomorrow. But I can't Guarantee I will.
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

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.
Just to be clear: the Denbies explorer also split amicably with the group, as is the SWC norm.
9 hot and humid
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 20

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
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.
Sat, 08-Mar-14 16 Box Hill Circular
Sun, 15-Sep-13 5 Box Hill Circular
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 (short walk, omitting Headley Heath)
Sat, 19-Sep-09 Box Hill Circular
Sun, 26-Apr-09 Box Hill Circular