Box Hill to Leatherhead walk

Short, 2 steep climbs and the view from Box Hill in the morning, and a gentle river valley after lunch

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
Wed, 05-Jan-22 Wednesday walk Box Hill to Leatherhead (or back to Box Hill) - River Mole, Box Hill, Juniper Top, White Hill, Mickleham - then on to Leatherhead or back to Box Hill 20 crisp and cold and delightfully sunny all day
Sat, 12-Dec-20 Saturday walk - Box Hill to Leatherhead (or Box Hill Circular) 14 cloudy with sunny spells
Sat, 10-Oct-20 Saturday walk - A Box Hill walk with oodles of options 11 cloudy
Thu, 19-Sep-19 Evening Walk: Sunset on Boxhill 7 sunny warm conditions perfect for a sunset walk
Thu, 13-Sep-18 Thursday Evening Sunset Walk to Boxhill 8 clear skies with some cloud for perfect sunset conditions
Sat, 09-Dec-17 Saturday walk - Box Hill to Leatherhead - a traditional pre-Christmas treat 20 gorgeous sunny day
Sat, 10-Dec-16 Saturday First Walk - a pre-Christmas favourite 10 cloudy but dry
Sun, 13-Dec-15 Sunday Walk 1 – Two steep hills and the Mole valley 10 dry some mist in the morning and brighter later
Sat, 22-Nov-14 Box Hill to Leatherhead 21
Wed, 16-Jan-13 Box Hill to Leatherhead
Sat, 12-May-12 Box Hill to Leatherhead
Sun, 08-Jan-12 Box Hill to Leatherhead
Sat, 03-Dec-11 Box Hill to Leatherhead
Sun, 21-Nov-10 Box Hill to Leatherhead
Sat, 20-Mar-10 Box Hill to Leatherhead
Sat, 05-Dec-09 Box Hill to Leatherhead
Sun, 05-Apr-09 Box Hill to Leatherhead
Sat, 29-Nov-08 Box Hill to Leatherhead
Sun, 31-Aug-08 Box Hill to Leatherhead
Sun, 30-Dec-07 Box Hill to Leatherhead
Sat, 08-Dec-07 Box Hill to Leatherhead
Sun, 22-Jul-07 Box Hill to Leatherhead
Fri, 29-Dec-06 Box Hill to Leatherhead
Sat, 09-Dec-06 Box Hill to Leatherhead
Sun, 01-Oct-06 Box Hill to Leatherhead
Wed, 05-Jan-22
Wednesday walk Box Hill to Leatherhead (or back to Box Hill) - River Mole, Box Hill, Juniper Top, White Hill, Mickleham - then on to Leatherhead or back to Box Hill
Book 1, Walk 49 - Box Hill to Leatherhead

Length: 11.5 km (7.1 miles) finishing in Leatherhead, or 6 miles if returning to Box Hill
Toughness: 7 plus out of 10 Two steep, tough ascents, one steep descent, remainder steady going
London Waterloo: 10-24 hrs SouthWestern service to Dorking CJ: 10-33 hrs Wimbledon: 10-40 hrs
Arrive Box Hill: 11-11 hrs
Please Note: The reopening of Southern Rail's platforms (8 to 19) at London Victoria after Xmas engineering work has been delayed until 10 January, hence there is not the usual Victoria service today to Box Hill.
Return: Box Hill to Waterloo: 35 mins past the hour
Leatherhead to Waterloo: direct trains at 10 mins and 40 mins past the hour
Rail ticket: buy a day return to Box Hill & Westhumble
Most of you will be familiar with this walk, so I will not ramble on for too long. Leaving Box Hill railway station we head for the River Mole which we cross on stepping stones (or if covered by the river, we cross a footbridge a short distance east). Then we have a steep climb to the top of Box Hill via six flights of steps. At the top, we take a breather whilst enjoying a fine view from the summit's viewing point. Onwards then to Ashurst Rough and through woodland to Juniper Top, where we have more panoramic views as we drop down this grassy way to the bottom of White Hill. The climb up White Hill - again, via a long flight of steep steps - is hard work, but from the top the going becomes easier. We need to take care when descending the hill - a walking pole comes in handy - but once at the bottom we come out beside St Michael & All Angels Church, Mickleham. Opposite the church is our recommended pub stop - the Running Horses. There is another excellent pub in Mickleham, the King William IV - directions to it are noted in the main Directions. Today's picnic spot for sandwichers is in the grounds of the church.
After lunch in Mickleham, we have a choice of onward route. The Book 1 route to Leatherhead is not that exciting: it's neither unpleasant nor pleasant, just unremarkable. So I usually choose to double back to Box Hill via woodland - it takes 55 minutes. If you wish you can by-pass the station and head for Denbies for tea, before returning to the railway station for your journey home. Other refreshment options are noted in the Directions.
T=1.49
Walk Directions are here: L=1.49


  • 04-Jan-22

    Does anyone know what happened to the walk route in green gone to? The map of the walk is there but not the green directions?

    Monica

  • 04-Jan-22

    @Monica. Yes, something was broken.

    (Long answer: I started to change something to handle the edge case of 2+ markers in the same place, e.g. 3 walks starting from the same station. Then I forgot about it. This broke the bits I hadn't yet changed. Later I came across these broken bits and, wondering why, fixed them, thus breaking the bits I had previously changed. Javascript doesn't handle errors very gracefully, it just stops. The 'green' lines are drawn after the start/stop markers, so they never got drawn)

  • 05-Jan-22

    Many thanks Andrew I can see the green line is back on SWC walk routes. Many thanks for for fixing it.

    Monica.

  • 05-Jan-22

    With some later starters, some of whom caught up with us at lunchtime, we numbered a nice round 20 today. After the dreary, mild, yucky weather over most of the festive period, what a joy it was to walk today in proper winter weather: crisp and cold and delightfully sunny all day . More, please !

    It was muddy in places, as to be expected, and the ascents of Box Hill and White Hill proved challenging for some of us oldies: with the passing years these climbs do not get any easier - and I cannot think why.

    Arriving in Mickleham at the Running Horses pub, eight of us dined in the pub's restaurant area, and a number of our picnickers had a drink in the cosier bar area. Our dishes arrived promptly - beautifully presented, and although helpings looked to be on the modest side, the food was delicious and surprisingly filling. With friendly staff attending to all our needs, this pub lunch experience was an excellent one. More, please !

    After lunch, most walkers set off to return to Box Hill, by two routes, and one walker called in to Denbies for tea - I'm not sure what the others did. I donned my anti-social hat and set off alone to Leatherhead, to book check the afternoon leg of the official TO Book route.

    A lovely winter's day walk - but after all those steep steps, some of us will have a few aches come tomorrow.............

Sat, 12-Dec-20
Saturday walk - Box Hill to Leatherhead (or Box Hill Circular)
This walk has chosen by Branchline, who also provided the details below:
Length: 11.5km (7.1 miles)
Toughness: 7 out of 10 (two big hill climbs) T=1.49

Trains: 9.54 London Waterloo, 9.57 Vauxhall, 10.02 Clapham Junction, 10.06 Earlsfield, arrives Box Hill 10.41
Buy a day return to Box Hill and Westhumble. Trains from Waterloo to Box Hill are operated by South Western Railway: the station is also served by Southern trains from Victoria. Make sure your ticket is valid on South Western or is "any permitted"
For walk directions click here, for GPX click here, for a map of the route click here.
This is a short walk but quite a strenuous one, with two big hill climbs in the morning. In the afternoon you can either carry on to Leatherhead, or - highly recommended - do a Box Hill Circular, looping back to Box Hill Station after the Mickleham pub. There are two options here: an easier route, still very rural, along the river and rail line, or a harder one which climbs up onto the ridge, with fine views down into the valley. The walk directions, GPX and map include all these options.
Lunch: Mickleham has two pubs. The first is the Running Horses (tel. 01372-372279) on Old London Road, opposite the church. The pub serves an excellent choice of main meals and deep-filled sandwiches and has a log fire in winter. The pub’s management likes walkers to take off their walking boots, so please comply. The second pub, the King William IV freehouse, (tel.01372-372590), is much smaller, perched on a hill above the A24. It also serves good food and good beer and being small (40 covers inside), is cosy. It has a partly covered outdoor area. Booking ahead is always recommended for lunch pubs. COVID rules apply. See above for the rules.
Tea: Leatherhead has various tea options. Near Box Hill station, the Stepping Stones pub is a possible choice: or for an open air tea option, carry on past the pub to the main road, take the underpass to cross the road and turn left: just beyond the roundabout is Ryka's, an open air cafe popular with bikers and open till 5pm (last orders 4.45pm).
Trains back from Leatherhead are at 10, 13, 23, 40, 44 and 53 past the hour
Trains back from Box Hill are at 05 and 35 past to Waterloo and 40 past to Victoria: all these trains to Epsom and Clapham Junction and take about the same time to get to London
  • 10-Dec-20

    I'd love to suggest a walk but, as I live in a Tier 3 area, I'm only allowed to be in a "gathering" outside with one other person.

  • 10-Dec-20

    We might be in the same position soon, judging by the latest news reports....

    But someone has said they might put up a post

  • 10-Dec-20

    But are you sure you have the Tier Three rules correct? I just checked and "the rule of six" seems to still apply in Tiuer Three: you are just not supposed to travel outside your area

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-restriction-tiers-what-you-need-to-know#very-high-alert

  • 10-Dec-20

    Actually, @Walker is right (well, half right - there aren't any restrictions on travel, as such.) The legislation in question (The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020, since you ask) says:

    (2) No person living in the Tier 3 area may participate in a gathering outside that area which

    (a)takes place outdoors ........ and consists of more than six people,

    So, yes, the "Rule of Six" would apply to SWC walks.

  • 11-Dec-20

    It should be less about the legislation and more about the objectives of the restrictions. Our emphasis should be about minimising risk of spreading, not what we can get away with.

  • 11-Dec-20

    I entirely agree with PeteG - infection rates are rising alarmingly in West Kent - and East Sussex isn't looking too special, either. Box Hill & Brockham, on the other hand, is improving.

  • 13-Dec-20

    BOX HILL TO LEATHERHEAD Walk 49 with an option to do a very scenic loup back to Box Hill station Sat 12 Dec 20

    14 on this walk (13 at the station and 1 joined near the NT café), on a day cloudy with sunny spells . We broke up into our small groups and set off speedily as there were no less than 4 walking groups congregating separately in the forecourt.

    This was a very strenuous walk, but great views to be had throughout the walk. 6 of us had lunch in the churchyard new the King William iv pub in Mickleham. We then continued in weather which got sunnier; indeed looking across we could see Juniper Hill in full sunlight. As we finished the walk in good time, and having a desire to extend the walk a little (in reality looking for tea), we were guided by one of our group to Denbies tea room. Here some of us got a takeaway, and others sat down indoors for a well earned cuppa tea, cake or sandwich. Then continued onto Dorking through the vineyard in the gathering dusk.

    En route to Denbies, our path crossed with that of one of our walkposters who was completing a different walk, and who cheered us by confirming that the tea room was indeed open.

    A lovely walk.

Sat, 10-Oct-20
Saturday walk - A Box Hill walk with oodles of options
Length: various from 11.5km (7.1 miles) to 18.8km (10.4 miles) plus see option 4 below for a longer walk T=1.49
Toughness: some steep hill climbs
9.24 train from Waterloo (9.33 Clapham Junction) to Box Hill, arriving 10.11
or
9.25 train from Victoria (9.32 Clapham Junction) to Box Hill, arriving 10.19
In normal times I would say that the Waterloo train is the "official" one, and those on the Victoria one could walk faster and catch us up, but since we have to split into groups of no more than six anyway, either train is as good as the other, and the only circumstance in which the Waterloovilles should wait for the Victorians is if there are fewer than six of them.... In case you are wondering why I didn't pick the 9.54 from Waterloo, the Capital Walkers have nabbed that one: but they are doing a different route from us. Nevertheless, if any of our walkers want to canvass support for using that train, use the comments function.
Buy a day return to Box Hill & Westhumble

Links: Box Hill to Leatherhead: directions, GPX and map. Box Hill Circular: directions, GPX and map

Now pay attention at the back, because this gets a little complicated. There are four options:
1) My idea in posting this walk was to give an airing to book 1 Box Hill to Leatherhead walk - once much loved, but these days considered too short (11.5km/7.1 miles) to merit our attention. Nevertheless, you may care to do that today. You can finish in Leatherhead, or loop back to Box Hill. Two routes are given for the latter, but no distances, but the shorter one looks to be about the same length as the Leatherhead ending and the longer one a bit longer.
2) An alternative idea is to do the Box Hill to Leatherhead walk as far as lunch in Mickleham (a strenuous 8.8km/4.25 miles with two big steep hill climbs), and then switch to the Box Hill Circular walk (SWC 64) to do its afternoon route, which is 10km (6.2 miles): so 18.8km (10.45 miles) in all (with more steep hills in the afternoon, so it might feel a bit longer than that). You have to do the main afternoon route, since the short cut afternoon would be mostly going back the way you have just come.
3) Or you could just do the Box Hill Circular as it is written. It is 6.3km (3.9 miles) to lunch at Mickleham by this route, and the whole walk is 16.3km (10.1 miles). After lunch by this route you have the option of doing a shorter ending of 13km/8.1miles or 13.5km/8.4 miles.
4) Want a longer walk? Look at the map for the Tadworth Circular, which intersects with this route in places.
With all these options, splitting into groups of no more than six should be no problem. Please share your details with others within your group for contact tracing.
For pub lunches on any of the walks, you are dependent on either the Running Horses or the King William IV in Mickleham. Both can be hard to get into at the best of times: the King William maybe slightly easier if it is dry and warm enough to sit out on its very nice patio. On the Box Hill to Leatherhead walk, the Smith & Western Bar and Grill - a restaurant - is an early option.
Tea should not be an issue. In Leatherhead there are the usual coffee outlets, if Annie's Tea Room is not/no longer open. On the Box Hill Circular, I personally tend to bypass the rather too popular National Trust tea kiosk on Box Hill and go down to Ryka's in the car park at the bottom of the slope. Your tea will be accompanied by petrol fumes from the bikers whose haunt it is, as well as noise from the nearby dual carriageway, but the service is much more efficient than at the NT kiosk. Both are open till 5pm. There is also the Stepping Stones pub on the way to the station, but Pilgrims Cycles and its cafe at the station itself, are currently "closed at the weekend for the forseeable future".
Trains back from Box Hill are at 05 and 35 past to Waterloo, 40 past to Victoria
Trains back from Leatherhead are at 10, 23, 40 and 53 past to Waterloo and 13 and 44 to Victoria.
All these trains go to Clapham Junction, so you can change there if you find yourself on a train to one terminal and want to go to another
  • 10-Oct-20

    Was anyone on the Victoria train? Seven got off the Waterloo one and another arrived at lunch, having got a train an hour later. So 8 . But no Victorians were seen all day. If there were any, please file a separate report.

    Talk about social distancing. On the train there was a group of 40+ youth: some kind of school group? Inevitably they all got off at Box Hill station and it was quite a job disentangling from them.

    We seven quickly drew lots to see who had to walk by themselves (....) and then set off to do the book one route, with its two whopper hill climbs. Five had lunch on the patio of the King William IV, adding more and more layers to keep warm under the cloudy skies. We were the first to order and so got our food quickly.

    We never saw the sandwichers again, but acquired number eight at the pub and so were six when we left. We set off to do the afternoon of the Box Hill Circular, with its malicious, not to say sadistic, delight in sending us up hill and down dale. There was at times some lovely autumn colour. Special mention today goes to dogwood, which was everywhere a riot of maroon and red.

    After the final near vertical climb up onto Box Hill we found the National Trust tea kiosk miraculously free of a queue. The reason for this was soon apparent: they were “unable to serve hot drinks”, the THIRD time the NT has let me down in this way this summer. So we went down to Ryka’s, which seems to find marrying hot water to a tea bag less of a logistical challenge.

    Three then went to get the 5.05 train at Box Hill and three of us walked via Denbies Vineyard to Dorking. The autumn colour on this section was excellent, including yellow vine leaves, and large golden patches on birch, beech and Swedish whitebeam. I should mention too that colours on the descent from Box Hill were good too.

    We severally got the 18.05 to Waterloo and the 18.07 to Victoria, in the former of which I pen these lines.

  • Anonymous
    10-Oct-20

    Three Victorians walked to Leatherhead. Sandwiched in Micklesham.

  • 10-Oct-20

    So 11 in all

Thu, 19-Sep-19
Evening Walk: Sunset on Boxhill
SWC: Boxhill Circular T=1.49

Distance: 7.1 miles or 11.5 km for those more metrically minded

Difficulty: 6 out of 10

Train: 17:24 Dorking train from London Waterloo, arriving Boxhill at 18:10 – buy a day return to Boxhill &Wetshumble

Return: Trains from Boxhill are at 21:40, 22:35 and 23:02

I would call this a “transitional shoulder-season” evening walk…starting in daylight, enjoying the sunset from Boxhill (especially on the descent along Juniper Top) followed by a meal in Mickleham and finishing (a short distance) in the dark along a valley path…About 8 of us tried this last year and found that it worked well....arriving at the pub just before dark and making our way easily along a very clear path at the edge of the woods back to Boxhill station. More information about the route can be found here, bring both instructions and map print-out...

Enjoy the walk!
  • 19-Sep-19

    the gpx suggests it's 10.4 km only, back along the valley route...?

  • 20-Sep-19

    Six off the designated train, including 4 repeat customers from last year's outing and one her very first SWC walk (who was not at all concerned about finishing in the dark....) We set off in sunny warm conditions perfect for a sunset walk and seemed to have Box Hill to ourselves in the lovely evening light with nice views over Dorking and the valley below. We arrived at the west facing Juniper Top just after the sun had set -- but the sky was a deep red providing a great backdrop for a picturesque silhouette of trees on the horizon (really spectacular). We took the route direct to the William IV, arriving just as complete darkness fell (slightly before 8pm). During a convivial evening meal, a 7th who had started later and gone to the Running Horses joined us for a post meal drink and rather jolly jaunt in the dark back to Box Hill through atmospheric woods with some nice stars and a 3/4 moon....So, a total of 7 on this most enjoyable evening...

Thu, 13-Sep-18
Thursday Evening Sunset Walk to Boxhill
Book 1: Walk 49 -- A Boxhill Circular Sunset Special T=1.49
Distance: 7.1 miles or 11.5 km for those more metrically minded
Difficulty: 6 out of 10
Train: 17:24 Dorking train from London Waterloo, arriving Boxhill at 18:09
Return: Trains from Boxhill are at 21:40, 22:19; and 23:02

I would call this a “transitional shoulder-season” evening walk…starting in daylight, enjoying the sunset from Boxhill followed by a meal in Mickleham and finishing (a short distance) in the dark along a valley path…More information about the route can be found here.

Ps: You may want to bring a head torch....
  • Sandy
    11-Sep-18

    Hi Stargazer, we talked about this but sadly I've got a work do and won't be able to make it. I'm disappointed as I'm sure it will be fun

  • 14-Sep-18

    Much to my very pleasant surprise, 8 assembled on the platform at Boxhill for this slightly unusual evening walk under clear skies with some cloud for perfect sunset conditions . For a change the weather actually cooperated with the hoped for atmospheric conditions and we were rewarded with a lovely sunset from the top of Boxhill and during the descent from Juniper Top. We arrived at the King William the 4th just as real darkness descended where pretty much all enjoyed a very tasty meal before setting off about 21:00 for the final stretch back to Boxhill in the dark. It was an atmospheric journey contouring the base of a hill in and out of woods....with some nice star sightings (including Mars) and some owls hooting...Arrived back in Boxhill about 22:00 just as a train was pulling in...so -- we hopped aboard to see where it would take us...

Sat, 09-Dec-17
Saturday walk - Box Hill to Leatherhead - a traditional pre-Christmas treat
Box Hill to Leatherhead (Book 1, walk 49)
Length: 11.5km (7.1 miles) - but see ** below
Toughness: 7 out of 10

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

Buy a day return to Box Hill & Westhumble.

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

Back in the early days of the SWC, when the world was young and Saturdays were always sunny, this was a popular outing in the run-up to Christmas. An energetic (there are two big steep hill climbs) but exhilarating morning, including fine views from Box Hill and Juniper Top, takes you Mickleham where the Running Horses is a great place for a festive lunch. After lunch there is just a short walk up the valley (an hour or so at most) to Leatherhead for tea. In short, a perfect outing for the shortest days of the year.

Latterly, as we have become more energetic ourselves, some find this original ending a bit tame, but the walk directions now includes a ** more vigorous afternoon option, which is to loop back through wooded hills to Box Hill station. This is a bit longer than the Leatherhead route but mainly just more hilly. (It could be extended a bit further, map-led, to have tea at Denbies Vineyard, if we can get there before it closes at 4.30pm. It is possible that my good friend Will Emerge may pop up to guide you on this route).

One word of warning about the morning route: as well as two big steep climbs (both on steps), it has one steep and rather treacherous descent to Mickleham. Take care on this: wet leaves on slippy chalk are not a good combination. Whether a less steep route is available on the alternative paths zig-zagging to the right is something a public-spirited person might check out.

The Running Horses is a deservedly popular pub. I have picked a train to get us there early so as to have a better chance of getting fed (and also made a modest booking). The alternative nearby is the not-unpopular King William IV. Otherwise, the Smith & Western, an American-themed restaurant about halfway through the morning (just before you turn inland off the Box Hill escarpment) is not a bad place to eat. It might be a good idea to phone to check availability at these places at the start of the walk.

Leatherhead is not short of tea places. Allow ten to fifteen minutes to walk from the high street to the station. Trains back from here are at 05, 11, 23, 33, 41 and 53 past the hour, the 05 and 33 going to Victoria, the others to Waterloo, with no major difference in travel times.

If you end at Box Hill trains are at 28 past till 18.28, then 19.01 and 01 past, though if you get to Denbies for tea it probably makes more sense to walk to Dorking which has several trains an hour. (Easiest route: walk down the driveway out of the estate, then veer right just after the railway bridge to shadow the main road to a roundabout, then keep ahead on pavements until the station entrance appears on the left: about 25 minutes walking: doable in the dark). T=1.49
  • Sandy
    04-Dec-17

    I can't make it on Saturday but yes, there is a less steep descent (see warning in 3rd para) - when you get to the byway (Stane Street) tuen right instead of straight on down the hill. After about 400m there's a bridleway descending sharp left diagonally (not the first footpath after about 150m). This passes a prominent wrecked car and then emerges in Mickleham near the William IV.

    It's fairly clear on the 25 000 scale map

  • 08-Dec-17

    Or for an even less steep descent than the one by the wrecked car. Stay on the path up to the ridge of White Hill, bear left on open ground at the top to find the trig point. Then continue ahead on a grass path to reenter the woods to join Stain Street. Turn right for a few yards and then turn left down a broad track with a fence on your right. This is a gentle descent, at the bottom turn left along a broad track with a wall on your right and then take the first right down to the King Billy IV

  • 09-Dec-17

    20 on this walk on a gorgeous sunny day - perfect winter walking weather. A fairly cracking pace was set - almost no stopping for the views. The ground was largely crisp and hard. The two big hill climbs were even bigger than remembered: though short in miles this walk gives you a good workout.

    Four of us experimented with a gentler descent to Mickleham - the one described by Sandy, so thanks for that. It worked fairly well but was still a bit slippy in places: one person lost their footing, though no damage was done.

    Eight (or nine) lunched at the Running Horses, where a table had been booked. We had a lovely table under a glass roof with the blue sky above. The service was a little snooty - twas ever thus at this establishment - but the food delicious, apart, apparently, from the soup. I think some others lunched in the William IV. After lunch most went on to Leatherhead, even though it was very early, the Christmas market being one attraction. Four of us did the loop back towards Box Hill station, diverting to Denbies Vineyard and its self-service restaurant for tea at the end and getting there at 3.15. We then walked in the gathering dusk to get a 4.26 train from Dorking.

Sat, 10-Dec-16
Saturday First Walk - a pre-Christmas favourite
Book 1 Walk 49 - Box Hill to Leatherhead
Length: 11.5km (7.1 miles)
Toughness: 7 out of 10: two steep climbs and one steep descent

10.31 train from Victoria (10.37 Clapham Junction, 10.59 Sutton) to Box Hill & Westhumble, arriving 11.21

You can also catch the 10.24 from Waterloo to Epsom, arriving 10.57, picking up the above train there at 11.09.

(Hopefully the Victoria train will not be disrupted by the current union work to rule, but if it is get any train to Clapham Junction. From there there is a South West trains service to Dorking at 11.03, arriving 11.43. Come out the station, go down the station approach, turn right up the main road, and walk for about 500 metres to get to Denbies Wine Estate on the left: at the far end of this turn right to join the North Downs Way, cross the Stepping Stones (or bridge) over the River Mole and join the walk directions in paragraph 8.)

For walk directions click here.

In the old Book 1 rota days this walk was a well-beloved pre-Christmas ritual. It is not long but packs plenty of climbing and fine views into its morning, including the popular climb up Box Hill.

For lunch there is a choice of two pubs in Mickleham, the posh but well-worth it Running Horses or the slightly more bohemian but equally excellent King William IV. Both are very popular and both are worth ringing to try and reserve a table. If both are full, you could try the earlier option of the Smith and Western Bar and Grill.

After Mickleham it is a short and gentle walk to Leatherhead, where the usual high street tea options await. It is a fairly ordinary place, but in the dark with the Christmas lights on usually manages to look quite cheery.

Trains back from Leatherhead are plentiful and you have a choice between Southern ones to Victoria and South Western ones to Waterloo. The Victoria ones are at 05 and 33 past and the Waterloo ones at 11, 23, 41 and 53: all of them take around 45 minutes and all of them, as far as I know, stop at Clapham Junction.
  • Anonymous
    10-Dec-16

    10 -approx cloudy but dry

    A pleasant walk in good company. Good lunch at The King William IV. Tea in Leatherhead for some.

Sun, 13-Dec-15
Sunday Walk 1 – Two steep hills and the Mole valley
Book 1 Walk 49 – Box Hill to Leatherhead
Length: 11.5 km (7.1 miles). Toughness: 7/10

10:10 Dorking train from Victoria, calling at Clapham Junction (10:18) and lots of other south London stations, and arriving Box Hill & Westhumble at 11:06. Buy a day return to Box Hill.

There are four trains an hour back from Leatherhead: to Waterloo at 15 & 45 minutes past, and Victoria at 23 & 53 minutes past.

This Book 1 walk hasn't had a Sunday posting for nearly four years, so is overdue another outing. The morning route includes two steep climbs up Box Hill and then White Hill (both of which could be slippery), but even so I'd have said that overall it's no tougher than the average 5/10 walk. Unless you do the variation mentioned below, the afternoon is a short and easy stroll along the Mole valley.

In theory there's a choice of two lunch pubs in Mickleham (the Running Horses and the King William IV), but on a Sunday two weeks before Christmas they're both likely to be very busy. It would be wise to bring some provisions and treat yourself to an extra-large tea (or a late pub lunch) in Leatherhead.

You'll need to bring Book 1 or print the directions from the Walk 49 page. Note that part of the morning route was changed in the latest edition, with a scenic route descending Juniper Top replacing a rather gloomy stretch along the valley floor.

Circular Walk Option: For an alternative afternoon you could loop round through Norbury Park and return to Box Hill station, which has trains to Victoria at 18 & 48 minutes past. You can get tea at the Pilgrim Cycles shop (01306-886958) in the station building and stronger fare at the nearby Stepping Stones pub (01306-889932). Some brief directions for two possible circular routes are at the bottom of the online version. T=1.49
  • Anonymous
    09-Dec-15

    lovely box hill...anyone going ?

  • Yes I am hoping to be here. Two big hills before lunch is just what the doctor ordered

  • Anonymous
    11-Dec-15

    Does the circular walk option back to Box Hill change the overall distance by much?

  • 11-Dec-15

    The 'Hill option' back to Box Hill station is about the same distance as the standard book route to Leatherhead (but tougher); the 'Valley option' is about 1km shorter.

  • Anonymous
    13-Dec-15

    10 -or-11

    dry some mist in the morning and brighter later

    A scenic and energetic walk and not too much mud. Most took a diversion or two in the morning to Juniper Top and The Gallops before an excellent lunch at the King William IV.

    Fortified by lunch, a few took the hill route back to Box Hill Station while others opted for the more leisurely route on to Leatherhead.

  • Anonymous
    13-Dec-15

    10 -or-11

    dry some mist in the morning and brighter later

    A scenic and energetic walk and not too much mud. Most took a diversion or two in the morning to Juniper Top and The Gallops before an excellent lunch at the King William IV.

    Fortified by lunch, a few took the hill route back to Box Hill Station while others opted for the more leisurely route on to Leatherhead.