Deepdene Trail : Dorking via Brockham Circular walk

Lost Surrey estate, with restored landscaped garden and forests, ruined castles

Length

Main Walk: 8.9 miles ( 14.3 km) with 880 ft ( 270 m) of elevation gain

Short Walk: 6 miles (10 km)

Drivers: save 2 miles (3 km) on the above

Toughness 3/10
Features

The Deepdene Trail is a series of walks centred on a newly restored landscaped garden of the former Deepdene Estate. There are short loops around the garden and its viewpoint, Chat Park, Gloty Wood, and a longer loop that visits the former estate, Betchworth park and Castle, and optionally lunch in Brockham.

The walks starts at either of Dorking's stations, and heads south for a mile to the restored gardens. Note: the OS map is misleading here. The entrance to the gardens off the main road is further south - and clearly marked with a road sign and information board.

There is a tour through woodland around the gardens - many rhodedendrons, with spectacular purple flowers in spring.

Then there is a much longer loop around the remains of the former estate, visiting Betworth Park, with an optional out-and-back walk to a small ruined castle, and another optional out-and-back walk to Brockham, a pretty village with a village green and 2 pubs. This entire loop can be skipped to make a short walk.

Back at the gardens, after visiting a viewpoint on a ridge at the top of the staircase, there's an out-and-back loop to visit the Hope Mausoleum, the only surviving building from the original 17thC estate.

The walk then crosses the main A24 to visit Glory Woods, before returning to the station via Cotmandene common - a "lawn" with views of the town and North Downs.

The GPS file is only approximate. Pick up a Deepdene Trail map in the gardens, or pick it up from the Deepdene Trail website. There's also an app.

Options
  • Short Walk: The station to the gardens, viewpoint, Chat Park, Mausoleum, and Glory Woods
  • Main Walks: As above, but with the long loop to Brockham
  • Drivers: Skip the out/back road walking to/from the station and save on either of the above.
Deepdene Gardens

The restoration of the landscaped gardens is a work in progress. At present there are:

  • paths through lovely rhodedendron woods (spectacular purple flowers in spring: late March to early June, peak is late April / early May),
  • a formal long narrow flat garden (a meadow, not yet restored) on the floor of a steep sided north-south valley, with a long steep staircase at the south end up to a ridge - the site of a lost temple.
  • The shady east-west ridge at the top of the staircase has mature trees and nice views both north to the North Downs, and south. A great picnic spot. There are gentler rhodedendron forest paths to it.

The closest parking to it is around Cotmandene Common.

History

Deepdene Trail: A project to unify the historic heritage of the area: See Trail website (complete with an app to download), Dorking Museum, wikipedia

The Deepdene Estate was created in the 17thC, and reached its zenith with the Hope family in the 19thC, but was broken up and sold off in bits at the start of the 20thC. The house was finaly demolished by British Rail in 1967. The gardens have recently been restored, and the walk is through knitted together remanants of the estate. The Hope (family) Mausoleum, south of the gradens in Chat Park is the only surviving building of the Hope era.

Betchworth Castle was a real castle once, but it was part demolishged to make it a picturesque ruin, then through neglect became a real ruin. Its now being restored. If you want to visit it on its own, the only access is via its drive/footpath. Parking is at the start of the drive, by the 'triangle' on the A25 at the entrance to the golf club's drive.

Betchworth Church, which starred in Three Wedding and a Funeral, is not on the walk, but nearby if you have a car.

Chat Park is the remains of another country estate.

Glory Woods are a nature reserve.

Brockham has a massive village bonfire celebration around Nov 5th each year with a procession. All the nearby roads are closed, so you could park in Dorking, and use this walk to get there, along with most of Dorking. You'll need a torch, especially if its an overcast or moonless night. Procession around 6pm, bonfire and fireworks around 8pm. No tickets, (only) cash donations.

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National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234

Version

Jun-20

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