|Length||26.1 km (16.2 miles) with shorter options of 13, 15.5, 22 km (about 7, 10, 14 miles)|
|Toughness||9 out of 10. Well waymarked paths, but several steep climbs in the morning. Parts can be slippery after prolonged rain.|
This walk follows a section of the North Downs Way (NDW) south east of London, along the edge of the North Downs Escapement. The walk is very rural despite starting and finishing in "Zone 6". It has fine views to the south, and some pretty woods. However, the early part of the walk suffers from some noise from the M25. There are several places to cut the walk short, returning by bus (covered by Oyster).
The walk starts in Caterham (a commuter town on the edge of zone 6) and heads south along a ridge to join the North Downs Way (NDW). The main part of this walk then follows the NDW along the edge of the North Downs escarpment, through pretty woods carpeted with wild garlic and clearings with nice views to the south. There is a slight diversion from the NDW through the Tisey Plantation. The morning of the walk is quite strenuous as the path meanders up and down the side of the North Downs escarpement.
After passing Titsey, the M25 is left behind, and the walk is quiet. Lunch is at pub on the summit of Botley Hill (268m), a Marilyn and the highest point on the North Downs. Note the true summit is by a water tower/radio mast, about 1km west of the trig point.
The afternoon section continues along the NDW, through more open land and field, with views to the south
Finally, leaving the NDW, its head north to the village of Knockholt Pound (and its nice pub) and on towards Knockholt Station.
The start and end of the walk are inside Zone 6 - so you can use a 1 day Travelcard. There are also places when you can cut the walk short by using regular buses on which take Oyster cards / 1 day Travelcards, making this walk suitable for both summer and winter. On Sunday, buses are less frequent, but the lunchtime pub (a music venue) often has free live music, and its only a few km further to Westerham Hill Road's bus stop.
After following the NDW as far as Botley Hill, there are some shorter options:
All these options are covered by an Oystercard / Zone 1-6 Travelcard (bus details updated Mar-12)
|Lunch and tea||
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
Out: (not a train station)
Back: (not a train station)
|Map Walk||This walk requires an OS map and a compass or GPS for navigation. You can print out OS maps using the link above.|
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone. OpenStreetMap (not OS) mapping is used in the PDF for licence reasons.
Caterham to the NDW (3.4 km)
- Turn left out of Caterham Station, and walk past shops (Waitrose, Morrisons etc.) for 50m
- Turn right at the T-Junction, and then after 10m left in to Timber Hill Road
- At the end of the road, go straight on, along a footpath which climbs steeply.
- Cross a busy "A" road - there is a median, and carry on uphill, and veer left on a farm track
- The path skirts to the right around Tillingdown farm, and heads south, with fences/hedgerows on either side
- After 1km, the path turns left along a car wide farm track around some scruffy buildings before continuing south now over open land
- The path enters woods over a stile in a barbed wire fence on a bearing of 135 degrees (ignore a wider track to the right), and starts to descend.
- In 90m turn right inside the wood at a T-junction of footpaths by a marker post. In 35m veer left by another marker post to exit from the wood onto the border of a large sloping field. The onwards route of the NDW is visible at the bottom of it, but there is no right-of-way over the field.
- Continue in the previous direction to cut across a field corner and in 100m re-enter the wood. In 100m you start to descend along a stepped path which eventually turns left and joins the NDW on a car wide concrete farm track by a three-way signpost, where you turn left (east).
NDW: Winders Hill to Botley Hill (6.8 km)
- After 400m pass a building which you saw from the top of the sloping field, turn right on a small road, then immediately left on a signposted footpath. Continue through woods carpeted with wild garlic.
- Continue along the well signposted NDW. After a while, the path climbs, alongside a quite country lane (above it, and to the left). The path then levels out (now to the right of the road), with occasional views to the south. Turn left through a metal kissing gate at a junction with a tarmac lane and follow the path uphill parallel to the lane. In 480m join the lane, just before a T-junction with a road, and turn right along the road.
- In 110m veer right along a grassy path through a wood. In 550m, just past Ganger's Hill, the path turns steeply downhill towards the M25 motorway along a stepped path to turn left and past the quarry, with the noisy M25 off to your right. At the end of the quarry is a small road.
- Turn right for 50m then turn left up some steps and in 30m walk through a metal kissing gate into a grassy slope. Continue uphill with the left hand boundary and in 90m turn right at a three-way signpost.
- About 400m further on, 30m before a field corner with a metal kissing gate leading to the Titsey Plantation, leave the NDW, and turn left steeply uphill along a clear permissive path up the grassy slope.
- In 120m turn right over a stile into the plantation, in 15m a railed stepped path joins from the right below. Turn left uphill, immediately forking left by a bench on the left along the upper of two wide tracks (60 degrees). This route is much nicer than the official NDW route. (If you take the NDW route: Titsey Place has a nice tearoom [open Wed and Weekends in summer], but is 1.5 km off-route).
- The permissive route, and the official NDW merge on the way up to the summit of Botley Hill (a Marilyn). At the summit, there is a road junction, and a small car park.
- Head NW for 300m along a shared cycle- and footpath to the side of the A269 to Botley Hill Farm (the lunchtime pub), then return to this point.
NDW: Botley Hill to Tatsfield, Westerham Hill Road or Hawley's Corner (5 km)
- From the road junction, take the lower road, and then a path on the left (which parallels the road for a while).
- Finally you leave the M25 behind, climb uphill a stepped path, and head east along a lane, still through woods. The path reaches the top of a field, just below a road, where the NDW continues east.
- To finish at Tatsfield, cross the road (leaving the NDW), and continue north for 1 km to Tatsfield (pub, bus to New Addington).
- Carry on along the NDW. You turn left through a metal kissing gate and up a stepped path to then cross a road at a four-way junction. Turn right and follow a lane (Chestnut Avenue), soon with some large houses on either side. You come to a T-Junction
- Head north (leaving the NDW), then east along a track towards Hawley's Corner (pub) if you which to cut the walk short,
- Continue south then east along the signposted NDW, eventually reaching Westerham Hill road. To your right is a bus stop 100m away.
NDW: Westerham Hill Road to Knockholt Pound (7 km)
- Carry on along the NDW: Cross the road and walk through a hedge gap to turn up left along a field boundary. In teh field corner in 250m walk through a metal kissing gate to continue in the same direction through trees. In 100m turn right with the path which emerges from the trees in 230m.
- In 150m turn left up a stepped path through trees and in 70m walk through a metal kissing gate to continue in the same direction through a field, from which you enter trees again in another 120m. Follow the NDW bypassing Knockholt (its pub has long closed).
- Eventually you walk through a metal kissing gate onto a tarmac lane at a T-junction. Leave the NDW, by heading north along the lane, signposted Knockholt Pound 1/4 mile (two pubs, bus stop)
- In the village find The Three Horseshoes on your left a main junction and The Harrow Inn 250m to your right along the road.
Knockholt Pound to Knockholt Station (3.8 km)
- Head north east along a lane towards Halstead. After 1 km, continue into Halstead (with its nice pub, The Cock Inn), or take a path on your left. Head left on along a road before turning right on a path to continue your northerly direction.
- Go through a gate into a golf course. Continue in the same direction. The path starts just to the left of the (golf) green. Eventually the golf club car park is on your left. Just after this, turn left, then just before the golf club access road, turn right (north again) to reach a road. You can see the train station to you left.