|Length||12.5 km (7.8 miles). Three hours 15 minutes walking time. For the whole excursion including meals and trains, allow 7.5 hours.|
|OS Maps||Landranger 187 or Explorer 146.|
|Toughness||3 out of 10.|
This mainly level walk follows the river Mole upstream from the foot of Box Hill through the picturesque villages of Brockham, Betchworth and Skimmington, ending in the grounds of Reigate Priory. Part of the route follows the Greensand Way long-distance footpath along the sandstone rock stratum that separates the chalk downland of the North Downs from the more varied soils of the Low Weald.
The walk doesn't exactly follow the Greensand Way - take an OS map if you wish to do that as the waymarking isn't perfect.
|History||The earliest accounts of Brockham concern Betchworth Castle to the northwest of the village green. It is believed to have been built by Richard FitzGilbert after 1066 on land granted to him by William the Conqueror. In exchange for this land Richard promised to provide William with sixty knights. Physical historical records indicate that it dates to at least 1377, when Sir John Fitzalan, 1st Baron Maltravers and Marshall of England (c.1349-1379), was granted a licence to crenellate his residence there. It is a ruin today but some walls reach 9 metres high.
St Michael's Church, Betchworth was one of the three churches used for the film Four Weddings and a Funeral and dates from 1080. It contains old manorial maps and an old wooden chest said to have been made from timber growing at the time Christ was on earth.
Reigate Priory, a Grade I listed building, is set in 65 acres of open parkland, with gardens, a lake with waterfowl and playing fields. The Priory was originally founded before 1200 and was converted to a mansion in Tudor times following the Dissolution of the Monasteries. In June 1541 Henry VIII granted the Manor and Priory of Reigate to Lord William Howard, uncle of Catherine Howard, Henry's fifth wife. Today the buildings contain a school and a small museum open Easter to October 2.00-4.30pm Wednesday and Saturday.
|Transport||There is a direct half-hourly service from both London Victoria and London Waterloo to Dorking Mainline. You can also start the walk from Dorking Deepdene (changing at Redhill). Journey time on all these routes is about 50 minutes. Buy a return ticket to Dorking, which is valid for the return journey from Reigate via Redhill.
There is an hourly direct train from Reigate to London Bridge (Mon-Sat), plus others where you change at Redhill for Victoria or London Bridge.
|Suggested Train||Take the train nearest to 10.00am from Victoria to Dorking Mainline.|
|Lunch||The suggested lunchtime pub is the Dolphin Inn in Betchworth, which offers good home-cooked food. It serves lunch from noon to 2.30pm Mon-Sat, 5pm Sun. Large groups are advised to phone ahead and book (01737-842288). Earlier in the walk you pass the Royal Oak in Brockham (01737-843241), and later the Skimmington Castle (01737-243100) on Reigate Heath.|
|Tea||The suggested tea place is the Vintage Tea House (01737-226561), 17 Church Street Reigate. There are many alternatives, including Café Rouge at 1 Church Street and the café in Priory Park on the way into the town.|
This walk is one of 11 stages of the Greensand Way - a regional long distance path in the Southeast of England
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Out (not a train station)
Back (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk