Horton Country Park, Hogsmill Riverside Nature Reserve, Nonsuch Park and Cheam Heritage Trail
14.3 km (8.9 miles)
2/10. Mainly flat.
This is a simple walk whose morning section follows a pleasant section of the nature reserves. Lunch is in the old village of Ewell. In the afternoon, the route visits the Woodland Trust's Warren Farm, 21 hectares of undeveloped farmland, open grassland and areas of native trees, and explores Nonsuch Park and some historic parts of Cheam Village.
Ewell takes its name from the old English word "æwell", meaning a water source. The chalk spring, which is the source of the Hogsmill River, can be seen in Ewell near Bourne Hall Park. Nearby, the church of St. Mary The Virgin has a fine marble pulpit, medieval font, chancel screen and "Father Willis" organ and on the older, eastern side of the churchyard is the 15th Century bell tower from the original, (now ruined) church.
Nonsuch Park is the site of the former village of Cuddington, which was razed to the ground by Henry VIII to make way for Nonsuch Palace and its hunting grounds. The Palace itself is long gone - after Charles II gave it to his mistress, Barbara, Countess of Castlemaine, she had it demolished and sold it off bit by bit to pay her gambling debts. However, the Mansion House in the park houses Nonsuch Palace Gallery and the Service Wing Museum where you can find a model and history of Nonsuch Palace, as well as the Georgian/Victorian dairy, sculleries, kitchen, pantries, game larder and laundries.
Nonsuch Palace Gallery is open every Sunday throughout the year from 2pm - 5pm from April to September, and 11am - 3pm from October to March. The Service Wing Museumis open during the summer from April until the end of September on the Second and Fourth Sundays in the month, and all Bank Holidays from 2pm - 5pm (Last entry 4:30pm). Entry to both is free.
Cheam is home to some historic Grade II listed buildings. Whitehall dates from around 1500. Visit for free to see the museum including a model of Nonsuch Palace. St Dunstan's neo-Gothic lychgate. Lumley Chapel, the oldest building in Cheam, is what remains of the chancel of the old church. It has a nice example of a Tudor pendant ceiling and houses the grand tombs of Lord Lumley and his wives and. To visit, sign out the key from the Library next to the churchyard.
South Western Railway service from London Waterloo to Chessington South.
For the return journey, there are frequent trains to London from Cheam. Chessington South and Cheam are on different train lines but both stations are in London boroughs so use Oyster, Contactless or a TfL Travelcard (to zone 6)
It is possible to start or end the walk at Ewell, where the walk stops for lunch. The nearest stationis Ewell West.
There are several options for refreshments towards the end of the walk, including:
1.0, November 2019
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
Out (not a train station)
Back (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
Dec-19 Margaret C
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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.
For the alternative start from Ewell West, see the separate directions below.
- From platform 1, go up the ramp to the station's main entrance. Turn left onto Garrison Lane, shortly crossing this road to take the signposted footpath on your right hand side. Follow this path (Huntingate Walk), ignoring a gate off to the left, eventually taking the steps down onto Green Lane, opposite a house named Kenwood.
- Cross the road and turn left, along the pedestrian path which runs parallel to the road behind a hedge. Just after a house named Preswylfa on your right hand side, follow the footpath sign to turn right through a wooded area, shortly passing a nature information board. Carry straight on, ignoring turnings to the left. Cross Bonesgate Stream to carry on along the left hand side of the field.
- In 200 metres, carry on in the same direction through the next field. After 150 metres at the left hand corner of the field, follow a footpath sign into the woods of Horton Country Park.
- Turn left on the main path through the woods and continue in the same direction. After 450 metres, at the footpath sign, turn left through a gate into the woods of Castle Hill Local Nature Reserve. Stay on this path, ignoring all turnings off to the right. The path leads straight ahead, curving right after 160 metres with Bonesgate Stream to the left.
- Follow the path as it curves right, then fork left to go back towards the stream. After 160 metres, cross Filby Road to pick up the Hogsmill Walk path on the other side, slightly to the right.
- Continue straight on, keeping to the leftmost path, through Bonesgate Open Space with Bonesgate Stream occasionally visible in the woods to your left. After 400 metres you come out onto Moor Lane, with The William Bourne pub on your left.
- To continue the walk for lunch in Ewell, cross Moor Lane and take the signposted footpath opposite to carry on in the same direction, with an information board to your left.
- Follow the main path with the stream on your left, ignoring all ways off. After 400 metres, ignore a green bridge to your left and carry on, taking the left fork in front of a childrens' playground.
- At the next path junction, with a signpost for Epsom on your right, go left over a bridge and turn sharp right along the right hand side of Grub Close field, with the stream on your right.
- At the end of this field go through a small wooded area into a second field (Dewberry Field) to carry on in the same direction. At the end of the second field, carry on into a third field (The Great Meadow) in the same direction as before.
- After 200 metres, at a path junction, turn right over a white bridge, immediately left over a green bridge and then turn right. Keep to the main path now with the Hogsmill River on your right, ignoring ways off to the left and a bridge on your right.
- After 700 metres, cross Ruxley Lane at the traffic lights. Ignore a path to the left to carry straight on in the same direction as before. After 200 metres, ignore a yellow bridge on the right. 50 metres after this bridge, leave the main track to go diagonally left across an open grassy area. The path runs to the left of a small copse ahead.
- At the end of the copse you rejoin the paved path. Go straight ahead towards a green fence and through the gate into Ewell Court Park.
- To detour through the park to the small ornamental gardens and lake, continue along the main path. Either return the same way or fork left to walk along the other side of the small stream flowing down to the Hogsmill.
- For the main route, turn right after 80 metres to leave the main path and follow a path which hugs the stream on the right. Cross the stream by the 18thC Packhorse Bridge (a listed building).
- On the other side of the bridge there is a small circular Woodland Trail on the right which you could detour around.
- Carry on along the path, soon exiting the park by a wire gate. Coming out of the park turn right, cross the Hogsmill River on a bridge and then immediately turn sharp left. Stay on this path, ignoring paths off to the right, keeping the river on your left.
- After 300 metres, go over stepping stones to cross the Hogsmill River. After crossing, turn right along the path, now following the river on your right.
- After 450 metres, at the end of a small grassy area, follow the path to the right to cross a bridge but halfway across this bridge, turn left to go under the railway line on a bridge through a low tunnel.
- Follow the path straight ahead for the next 500 metres as it winds it way through woodland. You cross some small bridges. After crossing a humped back green bridge, continue ahead either left or right around a grassy area, then to the left of a converted mill. Carry straight on in the same direction to reach Ewell Spring, the source of the Hogsmill river.
- For a pub lunch at the Spring Tavern, turn left and cross Chessington Road. The Spring Tavern is on your left. For a picnic lunch, turn right past the spring pond shortly entering Bourne Hall Park. There is a cafe and toilets in the Museum/Library within the park.
- To detour to The Famous Green Man, follow the route into Bourne Hall Park described above. Carry straight on through the park, passing the pond to exit onto Ewell High Street. Turn right to reach the Famous Green Man after a further 100 metres. After lunch, retrace your steps to the Spring Tavern to pick up the onward route (or if you don't want to visit the Church, retrace your steps as far as Church Street and turn right to pick up the main directions from point [ECS] Ewell Castle School, below.
- Coming out of the Spring Tavern after lunch, turn left along London Road. After 80 metres, cross the road to enter the churchyard of St. Mary the Virgin. Follow the path around to the rear of the church, then turn right on a gravel track past a tomb between 2 neatly cut hedges to the eastern, 'old' part of the churchyard. The path takes you past the 15th Century bell tower of the ruined church and there are dozens of 18th-century gravestones.
- Turn left along Church Street, passing the entrance to [ECR] Ewell Castle School (part of which once formed part of the grounds of Henry VIII's Nonsuch Palace).
- Carry straight on along an alleyway (Vicarage Lane). At the end, veer slightly right through a gap in the hedge to cross the Ewell By-Pass, via its central island.
- Turn left. After 10 metres, pick up the footpath up a few steps and almost immediately take the other steps on your right hand side.
- Follow a grassy path diagonally right across an open area with two tall cedar trees and the remains of the brick bastions of Nonsuch Palace Banqueting Hall, on your left hand side.
- Shortly after a wooden post marked 12 H on your left by the bastion wall, turn left with the wall, leaving the more obvious path going directly into the woods. After 40 metres, turn left with the wall again, ignoring a path on your right.
- In 20 metres you pass a white post (marked no. 6) on your right hand side. Just after the white post, turn right onto a path into the woods. Keep on this main path for 200 metres, ignoring ways off, eventually passing a wire fence on your left.
- After 200 metres you emerge from the woods, ignoring a small path to your left, to continue through an open area (the site of Cherry Orchard Farm). Continue along this path, ignoring paths off to the right and left.
- The path leads you out through a band of trees into Nonsuch Park, where you come to a tarmac path and the first of 3 granite pillars marking the site of Nonsuch Palace and Cuddington Church (an engraving of the side on the first pillar sows the site).
- If the weather is poor or you want a short cut, follow the path straight ahead of you directly to the Mansion House. From the Pantry Cafe there you can pick up the main directions at point [PC] below. However, the recommendation is to continue the main walk and explore the open spaces of Warren Farm and Nonsuch Park
- Turn right on the tarmac path and pass the other 2 granite pillars. The extent of the area once occupied by Nonsuch Palace is indicated by a mown strip on your left and the Palace extended over an equal area on your right.
- Stay on the tarmac path as it turns left. After passing the Lodge House on your left, you see a green bin on your left and a tree stump on your right. Here, leave the tarmac path togo diagonally right into the trees. Carry on in the same direction until you come to a concrete path, where you turn right, then left after 25 metres by a green bin to go through a wooden barrier into the Woodland Trust's Warren Farm.
- In 80 metres, ignore a fork to the right. In a further 70 metres, at a multi-way path junction, go straight ahead on a clear path across the open grassland of Warren Farm. Continue on this path. ignoring paths off to the left and right.
- In 300 metres, at the end of this path, turn left by a bench. After 150 metres you come to the Woodland Trust's information board.
- Carry on in the same direction past the information board through the boundary copse, passing two green bins on your right and crossing two shared pedestrian/cycling paths and an earth track to come out onto a tarmac path. The trunk of a dead tree is visible 100 metres ahead, slightly to your left.
- Turn left on the tarmac path and then right after 40 metres. After a further 80 metres, leave the tarmac path, taking a grassy track diagonally to your left, soon passing the dead tree trunk on your left.
- In approx 80 metres, where the wider path forks left, stay right on the less obvious path, close to a small clump of trees, your direction 280°. Follow this path, keeping to the same direction and ignoring ways off to the left and right.
- After 300 metres, your path joins another path. Go left for 30 metres and then right for 30 metres to the lower right hand corner of a dog free area. You pass its gate on the left and continue, slightly uphill with the dog free area on your left, shortly passing a small wooden post on your left (marked no. 4).
- After 200 metres, pass through a small band of woods and follow the path diagonally right to cross a wooden bridge over a small stream.
- After crossing the bridge, continue straight ahead in the same direction, ignoring a path diagonally to the right. Follow the path into the wooded area.
- In 5 metres, you come to a 4 -way patch junction. Take the 3rd path from your left,to go half right (your direction 50°). Continue along this path, ignoring ways off. Initially the path is between hedges then with woods to the left and open views to your right. After 500 metres the path crosses a tarmac path. After a further 60 metres, where there is a gap in the hedge on your left, turn right onto an unmarked grassy path, which soon takes you downhill.
- After 200 metres, pass through a band of trees to continue downhill in the same direction. In 150 metres, your path crosses another grassy path. Turn right onto this path and continue through a band of trees. After 40 metres, turn left, with woods on your left and an open area on your right.
- After 100 metres you pass a car park on your left and in a further 80 metres follow the path to the left of a hedge to reach a tarmac path.
- Turn right on the tarmac path. After 5 metres, with a water tap on your left, turn right through a red and white barrier gate.
- [PC] (The shortcut rejoins here). You come to Nonsuch Manor Pantry Cafe, the first of several tea options. Head for a small path and gate, located between hedges close to the rear right hand corner of the Mansion House. Follow the path through this gate into the formal gardens and bend right, passing benches on your left, with views of the Mansion House behind, to your left.
- At the next path junction, turn left. At the end of the path, you see the remains of a staircase and urn and lion sculptures on your right.
- Continue straight ahead, following the path as it takes you through the woods before emerging in front of the Mansion House's formal gardens.
- Go straight ahead, through the Rose Pergola, with a full view of the Mansion House ahead. (If the Pergola is closed off eg for a private event, instead turn right past a garden plinth and then left, along a gravel path lined with benches).
- On reaching the front of the Mansion House, go through the gate in the wall on your right and turn left, passing the entrance of Nonsuch Palace Gallery and the Service Wing Museum.
- Shortly you come to the water tap on your left. Turn right and continue straight on in the same direction, with a triangle of grass to your right, to a wide path ahead with the car park entrance on your left and brick buildings on your right.
- In 50 metres your path crosses another path and you pass a Living Woodlands information board on your right hand side and a hut with a wooden fence on your left. In 200 metres, ignore a path to the left with a small notice board and stay on the main path.
- In 20 metres, go through the gate into Cheam Park and Recreation Ground. In 40 metres, turn right through a gate. Follow the path as it bends left, with a wall and hedge on your left and the park on your right. At the next path junction, a half white half timber building on your left, turn right keeping to this larger tarmac path as it curves right past a white barrier and then left. After 250 metres you see Cheam Park Lodge on your left and exit the park onto Park Lane.
- Turn left for 20 metres and then right to continue on Park Lane. At the end of the lane, you reach The Broadway. On your left is the Grade II listed building of Whitehall, with its tea room and museum (free entry). On your right is La Petite Boulangerie, another tea option.
- Turn left, passing Whitehall. You may wish to visit to see the model of Nonsuch Palace or pick up a copy of the Cheam Trail leaflet. On your right,
- Continue past Whitehall for 90 metres and turn right into Church Road, popping into the Library on your right to sign out the key to Lumley Chapel. Pass the 16th century Old Farmhouse on your left and go through the church's neo-Gothic lychgate to St. Dunstan's Church and Lumley Chapel.
- Follow the path past Lumley Chapel to exit the Churchyard at its south-east corner and turn right onto Church Farm Lane, with the red brick wall of the churchyard on your right. In 60 metres, bend right onto Love Lane. In a further 20 metres, bend right into Park Road to reach the historic Ye Olde Red Lion pub, with its secret priest's hole, staircase and well. Continue past the pub to rejoin The Broadway.
- Turn left and after 200 metres cross High Street at the traffic lights. The Harrow pub, Love Crepe and Tasha's Tea Room are on High Street to your left. Alternatively, continue straight ahead on Station Way for The Coffee Zone and The Railway pub. The approach road to Cheam railway station is opposite The Railway pub.