Autumn tints on vines

Denbies Wine Estate

27-Oct-17 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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Ranmore Common

13-Nov-04 • Peter Conway on Flickr

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Polesden Lacey

Polesden Lacey in the distance. Effingham to Westhumble TO walk.

01-Apr-06 • msganching on Flickr

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Willing model 2

After posing for us, this goat ambled over to say hello. Effingham Junction to Westhumble

01-Aug-08 • moontiger on Flickr

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Willing model 1

Effingham Junction to Westhumble

01-Aug-08 • moontiger on Flickr

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Effingham Junction to Westhumble

01-Aug-08 • moontiger on Flickr

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Cows in the shade

Effingham Junction to Westhumble

01-Aug-08 • moontiger on Flickr

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Effingham Junction to Westhumble walk

Polesden Lacy (dramatic NT country house) for lunch, steep woods opening out onto the North Downs Ridge, and an English vineyard for tea


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.

Updated: Thu, 17-Jan-19

Date # Post
Sun, 14-Jan-18 16

Sunday Walk: Westhumble Circular

Westhumble Circular Book 2, walk 14b
Length: 13.3km (8.3 miles) Toughness: 4 out of 10

The Polesden Lacey estate is the highlight of this walk - a landscape of hidden valleys and pretty woodland. This option ventures into a quiet valley not visited by the main walk. After Polesden Lacey, the route follows the main directions back to Westhumble. (The station there, "Box Hill & Westhumble" is referred to as Box Hill in the text).
Trains from Victoria:
Southern services from Victoria are cheapest.
From Victoria the 9:40 (Clapham Jct. 9:48) gets to Box Hill station at 10:36.
Return from Box Hill to Victoria at xx:18 and xx:48.
Return from Dorking to Victoria at xx:15 and xx:45.
Trains from Waterloo:
For a few dollars more, you could get the 10:02 from Waterloo (Clapham Jct. 10:12) arriving Box Hill at 10:50.
Return to Waterloo from Box Hill at xx:10 or from Dorking at xx:07.
Lunch: is at Polesden Lacey. The Granary Cafe there is accessible without paying the entrance fee.
(Unless you're an NT member, you have to pay to visit the house & gardens).
Tea: Denbies Vineyard, serves teas, closing at 4:30. Pilgrim Cycles at Box Hill station have a cafe that closes at 4.There's also the Stepping Stones pub nearby.
Directions can be found here. There have been substantial changes since the book, so use the online version. Start at "Box Hill station to Polesden Lacey" following paras 58-99 then 109 to 141. A final section diverts anyone so inclined towards Dorking.
Seems like Sunday walkers headed south this week with at least 16 on this short but attractive walk through woodlands and valleys. Weather ideal for a winter amble, cloudy dry and still with little mud to fret about. The group fragmented at Polesden Lacey with some NT members staying to view the house and grounds whilst nine of us strolled back to Westhumble, bypassing Denbies Vineyard for refreshments with some of us having tea and cake at Pilgrim cycles by the station and then an early train home. Many familiar faces and long standing SWCers made for a chatty day out and I got home in time to see the 2nd half of the Liverpool v Man City classic.
Sat, 23-Dec-17 18

Saturday walk - Effingham to Westhumble (or Dorking) - pretty bits of Surrey

Effingham to Westhumble (or Dorking) (Book 2, walk 14)
Length: 15.2km (9.4 miles) to 18km (11.2 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10

10.03 train from Waterloo (10.07 Vauxhall, 10.12 Clapham Junction, 10.19 Wimbledon) to Effingham Junction, arriving 10.45. Be warned: I have a feeling that neither this train nor the arrival station has a loo.

Buy a day return to Effingham Junction. On the return leg you might be liable to pay the short hop fare from Box Hill or Dorking to Leatherhead, or the Effingham return might be accepted.

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

I realise that this walk had an outing on a Sunday not too long ago, but it is an easy outing, not too far from London, and has the advantage at this time of year that both Polesden Lacey (lunch) and Denbies Wine Estate (tea) will be in festive mood. Who knows, you might even find time for some last minute present shopping. A bottle of Surrey Hills, maybe??

The range of lengths for this walk is explained by the two possible add-ons. If you want a pub lunch, the Sir Douglas Haig in Effingham village is reached by a 1.7km (1.1 mile) diversion, just 4.2km (2.6 miles) into the walk. If you end in Dorking rather than at Box Hill station you add 1.1km (0.7 miles) to the walk. If you do both, you walk 18km (11.2 miles).

Or you can simply opt for lunch at Polesden Lacey, whose self-service restaurant seems to have upped its hot food offering recently (at least, it has a more impressive hot food counter than it used to). Meanwhile Denbies is a great place for tea, with a good range of cakes, so long as you get to it before 4.30pm or so (the centre closes at 5pm, the cafe a bit earlier).

The advantage of finishing at Dorking* is there are more trains:

Trains back from Box Hill go at 28 past until 18.28, then 19.01 and hourly at 01 past. If you miss a train, take refuge in the nearby Stepping Stones pub.

Trains back from Dorking are at 04 and 34 past to Waterloo and 26 and 58 past to Victoria. Journey times are similar but they take different routes through South London. You may encounter automatic ticket barriers here, meaning you may have to pay a supplement on your Effingham return: but it is Christmas, so if you ask nicely, who knows....?

* If it is dark when you come out of Denbies and you want to finish at Dorking, follow its car driveway down towards the main road, turning right with it just after the railway bridge. This brings you to a big roundabout, where you go straight ahead. Dorking station is on the left in a few hundred metres. This route is probably not hugely longer than the Box Hill ending. T=2.14

Another refreshment stop would be The Stepping Stones pub, about 50 metres from Boxhill station or the small cafe in the old station house at Boxhill station. Or, if you're feeling energetic towards the end, you could follow the example of a few walkers on this walk's last outing and nip up Boxhill to have tea at the NT cafe at the top.
Polesden Lacey self service restaurant was serving good sized helpings of hoe cooked food recently. The small farm shop there and the one later on at Denbies are handy for last minute "foodie" Christmas presents.
Regarding Walker's note about the loo, you pass toilets on the right just after you leave Effingham Junction station platform.
18 on this walk, including at least one late starter. The weather was mild and grey. Seven of us did the pub diversion (in my case to check the directions, so thanks to the others for coming too): we arrived at the pub at 11.45 and clearly looked in such desperate need of a drink that the pub opened early for us. Nice food, perhaps a little slow in coming but then we did catch the kitchen on the hop.

The rest presumably lunched at Polesden Lacey, which I hear was busy but now does good sized portions. We ran into two of them at tea in Denbies.

Nothing much else to say (unless the PL crowd want to make a separate report): this is always a pleasant little walk and it filled the hours of daylight very well. Then we all got trains home to do other things (one even set off to do food shopping in Dorking....)
Just to add, there were in fact 2 late starters both of whom met up with the group at Polesden Lacey.

Surrey Hills Brewery has opened at Denbies. There's a point of sale at the back of the main building, where you can buy beer from the cask or to take home us/surrey hills brewery/
Sun, 05-Nov-17 15

Englands largest vineyard - Effingham Junction to Boxhill and Westhumble

Book 2 Walk 14 Effingham Junction to Boxhill and Westhumble

Length 14.3km (8.8m); toughness 5/10.

London Waterloo 09.32 (Clapham Junction 09.40) Effingham Junction 10.24
Return trains from Boxhill and Westhumble to London Victoria at xx:18 and xx:48 mins

This lovely excursion in the Surey Hills - an area of outstanding -natural beauty - takes you through a landscape of hidden valleys, evocative woodland and gentle pastures. A highlight is a visit to Polesden Lacy a beautiful country house. You also walk through Denbies Wine Estate a huge vineyard.

See the walks page here for lunch and tea options and click on the pdf tab at the top of the page for full walk instructions.

A week ago Denbies Vineyard looked beautiful, the vines all yellow: an unexpected source of autumn colour. Pretty good colour on the external faces of the beeches on Ranmore Common too, though still fairly green at path level.

I did not have lunch at Polesden Lacey but it looked to have upped its food service, with a proper hot food counter, serving to 3pm. Traditionally National Trust lunches are not huge portions, which is why the pub diversion was included on this walk. The pub diversion is also perfectly pleasant scenically.
Approximately 15 walkers on this really nice walk today. It was a perfect autumn day sunny and dry. Woods were dappled with autumn sunshine and carpeted with bronze leaves and the ground conditions dry. Everyone (as far as I know) had lunch at Polesden Lacey. A few made the most of the day, capping it off with an extension up Box Hill at the end.
Sat, 31-Dec-16 25

Saturday Second Walk - A North Downs gem

Book 2, Walk 14 - Effingham to Westhumble (or Dorking)
Length: 14.3km (8.8 miles) or 16.3km (10.1 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10

10.03 train from Waterloo to Effingham Junction (10.12 Clapham Junction) to Effingham Junction, arriving 10.45.

There is also a 10.09 from Waterloo (10.18 Clapham Junction) but this is slightly slower, arriving Effingham Junction at 11.03: don't get this train by mistake - unless you just miss the earlier one, of course.

For walk directions click here. (These directions are more up to date than those in the book)

Buy a day return to Effingham Junction. On the way back you technically need to buy a single from Dorking to Leatherhead (two stops).

I figured that a New Year's Eve walk needs three qualities: not too far from London, a lunch stop one could rely on being open; and not involving Southern trains.

This walk ticks all three boxes, with lunch being at the National Trust self-service restaurant at Polesden Lacey (The Granary, not the little cafe by the entrance) which usually has some hot dishes, even if portion sizes sometimes leave something to be desired. If you want a pub lunch the 10.1 mile version of this walk diverts to one - the Sir Douglas Haig in Effingham Village, just three miles into the walk. But you might want to ring up on the day to check it is open/serving food.

For tea the Denbies Wine Estate Conservatory Restaurant (self-service) will be open as far as I can ascertain. Its website doesn't say it won't be open, at all events. It may close at 4.30pm, however.

Trains back: Because of the Southern dispute you may prefer to use the Dorking ending of the walk, from whence there are South West Trains services to Waterloo at 04 and 34 past. If Southern trains to Victoria are not affected by strike action, they are at 26 and 58 past. All these trains take around 55 minutes and all call at Clapham Junction.

Trains from Box Hill & Westhumble are Southern ones hourly at 28 past. I wouldn't rely on these unless your mobile phone train tracker definitely says they are running. On Box Hill station there is the Pilgrim's Cycle Shop cafe and there is the Stepping Stones pub nearby: though New Year's Eve may affect the opening/closing times of either.

Pilgrim's Cycle Shop cafe on Boxhill station is open until 4pm on 31st December. Stepping Stones pub (01306 889932) claims to be open from 11am 11.00pm Monday to Saturday all year round.
25 and weather grey with a smidgen of sunshine
A good day with nothing untoward happening
Sun, 20-Nov-16 4

Sunday Walk 1 Surrey Hills: walking to Dorking

Effingham Junction to Dorking Book 2 Walk 14 (use online version)
14.8 km, 9.2 miles
Difficulty 5/10

A Surrey Hills walk through hidden valleys, pretty woodlands, gentle pastures and the estate of Polesden Lacey. Although we would usually finish in Westhumble, the Dorking ending is suggested today, it being less reliant on Southern trains.
The main walk visits the National Trust tea room at Polesden Lacey for lunch. It is accessible without paying the entrance fee. (If you do want to visit, prices are £8.50 for the gardens, £13.60 for house and garden, free for NT members. Remember though, it gets dark not long after 4.)
For a pub lunch, branch off at point [2] and follow option (a) to the Sir Douglas Haig 01372 456886. This adds 1.2 miles onto the walk.
The Visitor centre at Denbies Vineyard does tea and is suitable for both endings. Denbies is open till 5 in winter.
Finishing at Dorking:
The Lincoln Arms is next to Dorking Station.
Finishing at Westhumble:
Pilgrim Cycles' shop at the station has a cafe (closes at 4 but may stay open later by arrangement 01306 886958). There's also a nearby pub, the Stepping Stones.
Get the 9:32 Guildford train from Waterloo, arriving Effingham Jct. at 10:24. Intermediate stations include Clapham Jct. 9:42, Wimbledon 9:49.
Returning from Dorking:
South West trains return to Waterloo from Dorking at xx:07.
Southern trains only return as far as Clapham Junction today. There's an xx:15 and xx:45 from Dorking. The xx:15 connects at Claphan Jct. for Waterloo.
Returning from Westhumble:
The same Southern trains call at 'Box Hill & Westhumble' station at xx:18 (change at Clapham Jct. for Waterloo) and xx:48 (change at Leatherhead for Waterloo).
The walk's start and finish are on divergent train lines. Your best combination is probably a return to Effingham Junction plus a single for the short hop from Dorking to Leatherhead where the lines re-join. (You could try getting waved through Dorking's ticket barrier with an Effingham return but, if it's not accepted, you risk missing your train).
Directions: Use the online version, available here. (Access to Polesden Lacey has changed since the book, causing some route changes). There is a shorter route from Polesden Lacey to the stations on the "Alternative Afternoon" button. Saves 1.2 km. 0.8 miles.
4 enjoyed a much better day, weatherwise, than forecast. In fact no rain at all. Lovely leaf colours, not much mud, lunch fine at Polesden Lacey as was tea at Denbies, though both establishments were almost drowning in tinsel and Christmas "goodies".
4 dry
Sun, 24-Apr-16 8

Book 2 Walk 14 - a lovely walk along the North Down escarpment

Book 2 Walk 14. Effingham to Westhumble.
Length 14.3km (8.9m); toughness 5/10.
Trains: 10.00 London Waterloo (Clapham Junction 10.09) to Surbiton arriving 10.22 Then 10.32 from Platform 4, Surbiton arriving at Effingham Junction 10.50.
Slow stopping return trains from Box Hill and Westhumble to London Victoria are at xx:18 and 48.
A day return to Effingham Junction should be ok but as you will be returning on a different line from Boxhill and Westhumble two singles may be safer.
The idyllic estate of Polesden Lacey, a fine country house nestling just behind the North Downs escarpment, is the highlight of this walk - a landscape of hidden valleys, pretty woodland, and gentle pasture that seems lost in a golden yesterday. The walk has something to offer at almost any time of the year. In spring, it passes through a number of fine bluebell woods.
Lunch is at the self service restaurant at Polesden Lacey.Tea is usually taken at Denbies Wine Estate Visitor Centre but there is now a nice café right outside Boxhill station which hopefully should be open until 5pm.

Don’t use Book 2 for this walk; instead download the pdf file for the updated instructions which can be found here
8. Fractionally cold but no rain.

I contrived to miss the appointed train and so followed on on the next one, encountering about five regulars leaving Polesden Lacey just as I arrived.

4 out of 5 for roast potatoes at the restaurant there. I chanced to sit facing the serving hatch, and was able to witness the production line involved in plating the food to order, from which my education was broadened about the trade off between throughput (the place was busy) and the fussier attitudes to food hygiene. I can report that the gravy was untouched by human hand.

On leaving, I found two more plus a dog who had chosen to take their lunch in the cafe and seemed slightly wounded by the news that the rest of the group had departed some time before without finding them.

Tea at Denbies which was satisfactory as usual. Back on 1648 train; presumably the majority were earlier as there was no further sight of them.

Some of the GPS is off by a few tens of metres in places.
Can people stop saying that it is "slightly cold"?!? It is FREEZING. It is February temperatures in late April (look up the London climate averages if you don't believe me)
Sun, 13-Mar-16

Sunday Walk 1: The Surrey Hills and a stately pile

Westhumble Circular
Book 2 walk 14b (online version).
7.7 miles 12.4 km. Difficulty 5/10

Hidden valleys pretty woodlands, and gentle pastures evoking echoes of a golden yesteryear. The estate of Polesden Lacey is a prominent feature. A shortish walk but one allowing time to visit it and Denbies Vineyard if you so wish.
Transport: For the Westhumble start, get the 10:40 Dorking train from Victoria (10:48 Clapham Junction) to Box Hill & Westhumble arr 11:36
Trains return from "Box Hill & Westhumble" at xx:18 and xx:48. Trains leave Dorking 2 minutes earlier, should you wish to finish there.
A return ticket to Dorking (main) costs the same as one to "Box Hill &Westhumble" and gives you the option of returning from either station.
Lunch: National Trust tea-room Polesden Lacey. This is accessible without paying the entrance fee.
(There's no lunch pub on this walk. The longer walk starting at Effingham Jct. incorporates an option to visit the Sir Douglas Haig)
Polesden Lacey
It is £13.50 to visit the whole property, £8.50 for the gardens only - unless, of course, you're a NT member.
Tea: First there's the Conservatory restaurant /cafe at Denbies Vineyard. Then there's a cafe in the Pilgrim Cycles shop at Box Hill & Westhumble station. (This closes at 4 but you may be able to persuade them to stay open if theres enough of you and you phone them 01306 886958). Nearby, you have the Stepping Stones pub.
Directions: This walk's directions are available on-line and those are the best directions to use. Access details for Polesden Lacey have changed significantly since the last book edition and there are one or two other alterations. There are longer options for anyone so inclined but the plan is to do option [b] starting and finishing at "Box Hill & Westhumble" station.

Starting at Effingham: Anyone wishing to do the longer 10 mile walk from Effingham Junction could catch the 9:22 from Victoria to Epsom and, from there, the 10:10 to Guildford arriving Effingham Jct at 10:26. (Note that Effingham Jct and Westhumble stations are on divergent lines. A return to Effingham Junction would probably be accepted for the trip back but you could be asked to pay extra for the short hop to Leatherhead where the lines re-join.)
If anyone would care to tackle Westhumble on a Saturday then please say the word. A walk to Box Hill maybe via Juniper Hall then back down the staircase to the Stepping Stones, then over to Denbies for refreshment; perhaps even a beer at Surrey Hills brewery?
Sun, 22-Nov-15 12

Sunday walk 1: A walk in the Surrey Hills

Effingham to Westhumble Book 2 Walk 14
14.3 km 8.8 miles
Difficulty 5/10

Hidden valleys pretty woodlands, and gentle pastures evoking echoes of a golden yesteryear. The estate of Polesden Lacey is a prominent feature.
Trains: 9:57 Hampton Court train from Waterloo . Change at Surbiton for the 10:32 Guildford train (platform 1) arriving Effingham Junction at 10:50. You can catch the first train at plenty of intermediate stations, inc. Vauxhall 10:01, Clapham Jct. 10:06, Wimbledon 10:13, Raynes Park 10:16.
Return to Victoria from "Box Hill & Westhumble" at xx:17 and xx:47.
Trains leave Dorking two minutes earlier, should you wish to finish there.
The start and end stations are on divergent lines. A return to Effingham Junction will probably be accepted for the trip back but you could be asked to pay extra for the short hop to Leatherhead where the lines re-join.
Lunch: National Trust tea-room Polesden Lacey. This is accessible without paying the entrance fee. If you do want to visit the gardens, it's £8.50 (free for NT members). The house itself is closed today.
If you prefer a pub, there are directions to the Sir Douglas Haig 01372 456886. This adds a further 1.2 miles on to the walk.
Tea: The Visitor centre at Denbies Vineyard does tea. They also have a gift shop and sell their wine. Denbies is open till 5 in winter. There's a caff in the Pilgrim Cycles shop at Box Hill & Westhumble station that closes at 4 and, nearby, you have the Stepping Stones pub.
Directions: There are directions in Book 2 but it's best to use the improved online version available here. (Access details for Polesden Lacey have changed and other sections have been amended or clarified).

Pilgrim Cycles say "We are happy to open evenings by request at no obligation. Call or email to arrange" tel: 01306 886958 email:hello@pilgrim
About 12 of us. Weather dry bright cold still. Very pleasant conditions for this varied walk. In the woods, the autumn leaves are now mostly on the ground. Later in the morning we had hazy views of London in the distance the Wembley arch was visible and the Shard could just be picked out. Most lunched at Polesden Lacey, which, although busy, had ample capacity. By this time the party had fragmented and 2 finished (as they had pre arranged) at this stage, while the rest completed the afternoon in several groups. After pausing to look back at the Polesden Lacey House from the hill opposite, walking across Ransmore Common and admiring the view from Denbies Hillside, my sub group of 3 took tea at Denbies Vineyard, where we encountered one walker who had started an hour later than the rest of us but, by a combination of speed, short cuts and a short lunch break, had got there before us. Others had finished the afternoon with tea at Pilgrim Cycles at Box Hill and Westhumble station where the whole party apart from the lunchtime dropouts reassembled. 15.50 train home.
Wed, 18-Mar-15 Effingham to Westhumble
Thu, 01-Jan-15 Westhumble Circular
Sun, 02-Nov-14 5 Effingham to Westhumble
Sun, 19-Jan-14 16 Westhumble Circular
Wed, 01-Jan-14 4 Westhumble Circular
Sun, 03-Nov-13 13 Effingham to Westhumble
Sat, 22-Dec-12 Westhumble Circular
Sat, 07-Jul-12 Effingham to Westhumble
Sun, 22-Jan-12 Westhumble Circular
Sun, 31-Jul-11 Effingham to Westhumble
Sat, 04-Dec-10 Westhumble Circular
Sat, 11-Sep-10 Effingham to Westhumble
Sat, 24-Apr-10 Effingham to Westhumble
Sun, 14-Mar-10 Westhumble Circular
Tue, 29-Dec-09 Effingham Junction to Westhumble
Sat, 28-Feb-09 Westhumble Circular
Sun, 08-Feb-09 Westhumble Circular
Wed, 07-Jan-09 Westhumble Circular
Sat, 08-Nov-08 Effingham Junction to Westhumble
Sat, 02-Aug-08 Effingham Junction to Westhumble
Wed, 19-Mar-08 Westhumble Circular
Sat, 17-Nov-07 Westhumble Circular
Sun, 18-Mar-07 Effingham Junction to Westhumble
Sat, 10-Mar-07 Effingham Junction to Westhumble
Sun, 21-Jan-07 Westhumble Circular