Holmwood to Gomshall walk

A very pretty forest walk, quite close to London, and the view from Leith Hill, the highest point in the Southeast.


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.

Date Post # Weather
Sat, 09-Apr-22 Scottish Warm-up Walk: Surrey Peaks Challenge (Holmwood to Box Hill) 21 a perfectly clear and sunny walking day
Wed, 05-May-21 Wednesday Walk Holmwood to Gomshall - Farewell to Bluebells and Hello Azaleas and Rhododendrons 21 mostly sunny and mild
Sat, 16-Nov-19 Saturday walk - Holmwood to Gomshall - A wooded climb to the south east's highest point 20 sunny to start and then cloudy
Mon, 06-May-19 Bank Holiday Walk - Holmwood to Gomshall - Leith Hill and Surrey heathlands 22 light cloud
Mon, 07-May-18 Bank Holiday Walk - Holmwood to Gomshall - bluebells and rhododendrons 24 sunny and hot
Sat, 21-Oct-17 Saturday walk - Holmwood to Gomshall - beechwoods and the highest viewpoint in the south east 12
Sat, 12-Nov-16 Saturday First Walk - Beech woods and a great big hill 6 Very
Wed, 26-Oct-16 Wednesday Walk: Book 1, Walk 42 - Holmwood to Gomshall 13 quite a bit of sun
Wed, 04-Nov-15 Mid-week day walk Holmwood to Gomshall 7 misty
Sat, 12-Sep-15 Holmwood to Gomshall 13 cloudy early sunny later
Sat, 25-Oct-14 Holmwood to Gomshall 29
Sat, 17-May-14 Holmwood to Gomshall 28
Wed, 19-Feb-14 Holmwood to Gomshall
Sat, 21-Dec-13 Holmwood to Gomshall 6
Sat, 21-Sep-13 Holmwood to Gomshall 23
Sat, 17-Nov-12 Holmwood to Gomshall
Sat, 02-Jun-12 Holmwood to Gomshall
Sat, 18-Feb-12 Holmwood to Gomshall
Sat, 15-Oct-11 Holmwood to Gomshall
Sat, 19-Feb-11 Holmwood to Gomshall
Sat, 25-Sep-10 Holmwood to Gomshall
Sat, 25-Sep-10 Holmwood to Guildford, via Gomshall and Pewley Down
Mon, 05-Apr-10 Holmwood to Gomshall
Mon, 05-Apr-10 Holmwood to Guildford, via Gomshall and Blackheath
Sat, 17-Oct-09 Holmwood to Gomshall
Wed, 10-Jun-09 Holmwood to Gomshall
Sat, 18-Oct-08 Holmwood to Gomshall
Mon, 25-Aug-08 Holmwood to Gomshall
Mon, 25-Aug-08 Holmwood to Gomshall
Sat, 27-Oct-07 Holmwood to Gomshall
Mon, 28-May-07 Holmwood to Gomshall
Mon, 28-May-07 Holmwood to Gomshall
Sat, 21-Oct-06 Holmwood to Gomshall
Sat, 14-Oct-06 Holmwood to Gomshall
Sat, 09-Apr-22
Scottish Warm-up Walk: Surrey Peaks Challenge (Holmwood to Box Hill)

Book 1 Walks 42 and 49: Surrey Peaks Challenge -- Holmwood to Box Hill t=1.42

Distance: 17.8 miles (28.7 km) for the full challenge; shorter options available – Holmwood to Gomshall as written (10.4 miles/16.7 km) or Holmwood to Box Hill (without going up Box Hill (about 10.8 miles/17.0km)

Ascent: 914 meters for full challenge (coincidently, just reaching Munro status)

Difficulty: 12 out of 10 for full challenge; 6 out of 10 for walk to Gomshall and 8 out of 10 for walk to Box Hill without ascending the Hill

Train: Take the 9:28 AM Horsham-bound train from London Bridge arriving in Holmwood at 10:31. Given the length of the full challenge, some planning to do the full route, may wish to start an hour earlier by taking the 8:28 AM train. Return trains from Box Hill & Westhumble are at 35 and 39 past the hour until 23:35 (plenty of time to finish the full route!) and from Gomshall at 17:21; 17:31; 19:21; 19:39 and 20:37. Unless walking to Gomshall, buy a day return to Holmwood. If walking to Gomshall, buy a “any permitted” day return to Gomshall.

I have been keen to post this walk combination for years and had originally planned to post it prior to the 2020 Scottish trip that did not take place. It takes in several “local” peaks to make a “Surrey Challenge” and with 914 meters of total ascent is the perfect warm-up walk for those heading to Braemar in May. The walk route is bookended with two Book 1 favorites – Walk 42 (Holmwood to Gomshall) and Walk 49 (Box Hill Circular option). There is a map-led middle section across the valley and up to the North Downs Way along the escarpment and across Ranmore Common before descending to Denbies where the route of Walk 49 can be picked-up. A temporary GPX file (in bright light blue) has been added to Walk 42 showing the route. You can find more information about the two component walks here and here.

The recommended lunch stop is the Wooton Hatch pub in Wooton (about 7 miles/11 km into the walk). Tea, afternoon and/or evening refreshments can be enjoyed at the café at Denbies or the Stepping Stones pub near Box Hill station or at the Abinger Hammer Tea Rooms or Compasses Inn in Gomshall.

Enjoy the walk!

  • 08-Apr-22

    Just tried to book a table at the Wooton Hatch it seems to be fully booked for 2 hours each side of 13:15. Best bring a sandwich. The Stephen Langton Pub is still closed although available at the very reasonable rent of £45,000 pa!

  • 08-Apr-22

    I have a booking at 1pm for 8. Perhaps the garden is open on a first come basis?

  • 08-Apr-22

    Can I still come to Scotland even if I do not do the training?


  • 10-Apr-22

    This was a very eventful day -- so it is hard to know where to start....But, I think first off will be a big congratulations to the 8 completing the full First [Annual] Surrey Peaks Challenge (Leith Hill (294m); Ranmoor Common (189m); Box Hill (200m); White Hill (150m) and Norbury Park (120m))-- well done team! With an equal big thank you to everyone assisting with the rescue effort when one of our challengers went over on her ankle on the last 500 meters of the route -- a real team effort. Hopefully our injured companion has a smooth and swift recovery...

    From the appointed train, the day started in chaos with probably near 50 people crammed onto the small Holmwood platform from a combination of at least three different walking groups....Somehow, the 18 saturday walkers managed to separate themselves from the throng, run through our usual formalities and set off on the alternate start route ahead of the other various groups....The day was a perfectly clear and sunny walking day . From our first summit of Leith Hill you could see from Canary Wharf to the South Downs from one spot...really amazing...After inspecting our onward route, up to Ranmore Common and Box Hill, the front runners set off to the pub -- just as the next group were arriving and settling in for a proper elevensies with a hot drink from the kiosk. In the pub, we encountered three others who had taken the earlier train, making for 21 in total. The pub admirably fielded the 12 or so of us who turned up in dribs and drabs for our 8 person booking with no one going hungry....10 people set off from the lunch pub for the full challenge in a group of 3 and a bit later a group of 7....One of the first three succumbed to a quick tea break at Denbies and we were not sure if we would see her again (but we did at the William the 4th)....most of the rest regrouped at the summit of Box Hill to admire our route from the clearly visible Leith Hill tower....Various routes were take across Box Hill, down Juniper top, up White Hill and down to the William the 4th in Mickleham....where we all but 2 (who went to catch a bus just before the White Hill ascent) regrouped for some refreshments before the final ascent up to Norbury Park. On our final descent we reconnected with 2 who had done a valley route from lunch. Sadly on the final 500 meters one of our group badly twisted her ankle providing an unplanned exercise in rescuing an injured party....with a good show of team effort, we attained the road where we were able to ask a motorist to give her a lift to the pub just down the road where we all waited with her (enjoying some food and drink) until her lift home arrived.

    Most of the challengers seemed to enjoy the route which had great views and a number of nice stretches of wildflowers...wood anemones, a good showing of early bluebells, celandines, stitchwort.....Also spotted, one deer on Box Hill and some lambs that had quite literally just moments before our passing by had just come into this world...remarkable to see....Hopefully, their first night was not too cold.

    I believe about 3 or 4 people did the walk to Gomshall, 5 did a semi-valley route to Box Hill, 1 a full valley route and 1 a bus to Dorking....certainly feel free to supplement the report...

    One last point.....a number of personal items were accidently been left behind at various points along the walk...but, I am happy to report that everyone was reunited with their belongings....even after the better part of the day had passed....

Wed, 05-May-21
Wednesday Walk Holmwood to Gomshall - Farewell to Bluebells and Hello Azaleas and Rhododendrons
Book 1, Walk 42 - Holmwood to Gomshall

Length: 16.7 km (10.4 miles) or long walks of 17 miles or 19 miles
Toughness: 6 out of 10
London Victoria: 10-25 hrs Southern service to Horsham CJ 10-32 hrs Sutton 10-54 hrs
Arrive Holmwood: 11-29 hrs

Gomshall to Waterloo via Guildford: 16-26, 17-24 and 18-24 hrs
Gomshall to Victoria via Dorking Deepdene: 15-31, 16-28 and 17-28 hrs
Rail ticket: Try a day return to Gomshall Any Route Permitted (the latter is essential for both return routes)
Technically, you should also purchase a single for the one stop from Dorking to Holmwood - but I have never been asked for this on the many occasions I have been on this walk.
Covid-19 Compliance: please note the current guidance on this website and observe social distancing. You should all come prepared to exchange contact details for track and trace purpose. You can either pre-register for this walk (not essential ) by e-mailing me at swc-marcus@walkingclub.org.uk or, if you prefer, please write your name, e-mail address and contact 'phone number on a small piece of paper for handing to me on the train or when we assemble at walk start. Thank you.
Today I recommend we take the route via Leith Hill Rhododendron Wood to enjoy the colourful azaleas and rhodos which should just be in flower. Before that we head for Leith Hill through farmland, pastures and woodland, where we say goodbye to this years bluebells. On top of Leith Hill, its tower should be open for elevenses before we head for Leith Hill Wood. Then its onwards through mostly woodland to the hamlet of Friday Street, where its pub, the Stephan Langton Inn, remains closed and up for sale. The pond nearby makes for a good picnic stop. 40 mins beyond Friday Street you come to the village of Wotton, where its pub, the Wotton Hatch, is not planning to reopen until mid-May.
After your picnic stop, whether it be in Friday Street or Wotton, the walk continues through more woods and classic Surrey Heathland to Gomshall. Trains are infrequent so if you have time on your hands before the next service, try one of the local pubs in the village which might just be open for outdoor service.
If on arrival in Gomshall you are still feeling frisky, you have the option of continuing the walk to Guildford, either via the Book 1 walk Gomshall to Guildford, to give you an overall long walk today of 19 miles, or reversing the Book 2 walk, Guildford to Gomshall, for an overall walk of 17 miles.
Walk Directions are here: L=1.42
  • Anonymous

    The weather this year is a bit strange. I was at Windsor Great Park last weekend, Rhododendrons in the Valley Gardens were already in full bloom. Hopefully you can still see them in May.

  • 01-May-21

    Both pubs in Gomshall were open last Friday, and both have big gardens with lots of tables.

  • 06-May-21

    Not so much "Farewell to Bluebells", as per the header bar, but a big "Hello". With Spring being so late this year, the bluebells on today's walk were just about at their best, and not on the wane, which they have been in previous years in early May. I'm afraid I got my timings wrong for all my bluebell walks this year: note to self - must do better in 2022.

    We had another good Wednesday turnout, with 21 alighting from the train or joining us along the way. We were very lucky with the weather today, it being mostly sunny and mild when out of the breeze - very pleasant walking weather. At times the skies threatened to give us a drenching, per the weather forecast, but the only time it rained, with some hail, was around 4-30 pm when the slower walkers were approaching Gomshall or were having tea in a tent at the Compasses Inn.

    Most of us stopped for elevenses from the kiosk in Leith Hill Tower, where service was painfully, desperately, chronically slow. Some gave up and tucked into their lunch picnics instead. Some 3 or 4 walkers left us at the Tower to make their own way to Box Hill - they were practising for exertions on the pending Scottish trip. Only 4 of us took the detour to Leith Hill Wood, which was just about worthwhile: some bright, vivid reds and purple colours were on show from the azalea bushes, but many others were yet to come into bloom: like the bluebells, the azaleas and rhodos were two weeks late. But the said bluebells were magnificent here and all along the walk route - the best I have seen on any of my walks this year.

    The onward path after the Wood through Wotton Common was hard going as forestry works had churned up the path and made a right mess of everything around it. We later heard the path to the east on the main route had likewise been churned up.

    5 of us stopped for our picnic lunches just past the closed Stephan Langton pub. On passing the Wotton Hatch pub a bit later into the walk 4 or so SWC walkers were spotted wimping out of the walk by taking the bus ! Their cards have been marked ! A bonus for those of us who plodded on - the Church of St John the Evangelist was for once open: my notes tell me I have done this Holmwood to Gomshall walk sixteen times over the years and this was the first time I had managed to look inside this church.

    Onwards then through Deerleap Wood and Abinger Roughs to Gomshall. Most of the group were in good time to make the 16-26 and 16-28 hrs train services, presumably sans a tea stop, but 3 of us decided to take tea at the Compasses Inn - as the heavens opened. 17-24 and 17-28 hrs train services for us, after a lovely day's walking, having enjoyed Spring flowers at their very best.

Sat, 16-Nov-19
Saturday walk - Holmwood to Gomshall - A wooded climb to the south east's highest point
Length: 16.7km (10.4 miles) T=1.42
Toughness: 6 out of 10: a big climb to start, then downhill mostly

9.25 train from Victoria (9.32 Clapham Junction, 9.54 Sutton) to Holmwood, arriving 10.29

Buy an "any permitted" day return to Gomshall. This technically does not cover you for the one stop from Dorking to Holmwood, but it has never so far been an issue....

For walk directions click here, for GPX click here and for a map of the route click here.

This walk needs no introduction to most of you, but you have to go back to 2016 to find it posted in November, and on that occasion it poured with rain so hardly anyone turned up. No chance of that happening this year, I am sure...

For those who don't know it, it is a climb up Leith Hill, the highest point in South East England - higher than you might think, with views southwards to the sea and north eastwards to Canary Wharf on a clear day - where the National Trust tea kiosk provides a traditional elevenses stop. There is then a descent to lunch either in the Stephan Langton or Wotton Hatch, both doing food all afternoon, so don't bust a gut.

Throughout this there are woods galore, displaying whatever is left of autumn leaf colour.

Tea is at the Abinger Hammer tea rooms or the Lavender Goose (closing 5pm), and Gomshall also has two cosy pubs - the traditional Compasses and the more upmarket Gomshall Mill.

Trains back are annoyingly only at two hour intervals. The 15.50 goes to Guildford, where you change for Waterloo, and the 16.04 goes via Redhill, where you change for East Croydon, London Bridge or Victoria. Either way it is 1 hour to London. This pattern then repeats at 17.50/18.04, 19.50/20.04 etc

There is a bus (number 32) from outside the Compasses Inn to Guildford at 16.19, 17.19 and 18.19, and from the opposite side of the road to Dorking railway station at 16.56 and 17.56. The 16.19 and 18.19 takes 25 minutes and might be useful if you just miss the 16.04 or 18.04 trains, The 16.56 takes you to Dorking in 23 minutes, from where there are several trains an hour to London. But time savings would be fairly marginal over simply spending a convivial time in the pub in Gomshall waiting for the next train. The 17.19 and 17.56 buses offer no time savings at all and are only mentioned in case the train service is interrupted.

  • 16-Nov-19

    20 on this walk. So nice to see lots of familiar faces after a run of wet Saturdays with disappointing turnouts. The weather was sunny to start and then cloudy . Autumn colours past their best but with a fair showing of coppery (and sometimes gold) beech leaves.

    After the always enjoyable climb - including SWC veterans doing the “steep bit” undaunted - some of us stopped for tea at the Leith Hill kiosk, where the Shard and the sea through the Shoreham gap in the South Downs were both visible. We then descended through plentiful woods to Friday Street where 14 (?) of us had lunch. The pub insisted on table service but was not busy when we arrived and took our orders quickly. The food came relatively swiftly too. It is always a delight to eat at the Stephan Langton.

    We all (mostly?) left lunch together but got strung out in the afternoon. I arrived at the Lavender Goose tea room at 3.30pm to find four others having tea and around six queueing to order. But there was then a wildebeest-style stampede to the 3.50pm train (those queuing having ordered takeaways) and by 3.40pm I was left alone with the newspaper. However two other walkers, feeling the walk was too short, had gone for an extra loop up onto the North Downs and I met up with them at 4.30pm for a drink in the Compasses Inn before we all took the 5.50pm train home.

Mon, 06-May-19
Bank Holiday Walk - Holmwood to Gomshall - Leith Hill and Surrey heathlands
Book 1 Walk 42 - Holmwood to Gomshall

Length: 16.7 km (10.4 miles). Option to go long by continuing to Guildford - total 17 miles or 19 miles
Toughness: 6 out of 10

London Victoria: 09-25 hrs Horsham service CJ 09-32 hrs; Sutton 09-54 hrs; Epsom 10-05 hrs
Arrive Holmwood: 10-29 hrs

Return Assuming rail companies are running a Saturday service (not showing on rail websites)

Gomshall to London Waterloo via Guildford: 15-50 hrs, 17-50 hrs and 19-50 hrs
Gomshall to London Victoria via Dorking Deepdene: 16-04 hrs and 18-04 hrs

Rail ticket: buy a day return to Gomshall any route permitted. You might also be required to purchase a single from Dorking to Holmwood on your outward journey, although I have never been asked to do so.

Last year when we posted this walk on the May Day holiday some of us were caught out by Great Western running a Saturday service from Gomshall whilst showing a normal Monday service on their website timetable. Hopefully this year we have got it right but no harm on you checking this out for yourselves.

If we have the timing right for today's posting, we should benefit from the last of the bluebells in the many woods along the way and the start of the azaleas and rhododendrons, particularly those in Leigh Hill Rhododendron Wood - well worth the detour today, all as explained and shown in the Directions.

Elevenses today can be taken in the Leigh Hill Tower cafe, an hour into the walk. Then I recommend your taking the detour to the Rhodo.Wood before rejoining the main route before the hamlet of Friday Street - and your first lunch-stop option - the Stephan Langton Inn. Booking a table indoors is essential on a Bank Holiday a few weeks before your planned visit: otherwise, you take a chance with an outdoor table on the day. Some 40 mins later into the walk you come to your second lunch option - the Wotton Hatch - more of a family pub and very busy on Bank Holidays but you can usually find a table inside or outdoors.

After lunch its over heathlands before you drop down to Gomshall with its tea options. You can continue your walk to Guildford via Shere by either reversing the opening leg of the Book 2 Walk 13, Guildford to Gomshall via St Martha on the Hill - a total walk of some 17 miles, or following Book 1, Walk 14 Gomshall to Guildford via Albury Park - a total walk of 19 miles. Trains from Guildford are four an hour.
Walk Directions are here L=1.42

  • Sal

    Think I may join - need to tackle some more hills. You just turn up at Holmwood at 10.30am on the 6th?

  • 25-Apr-19

    That is correct. We meet on the station platform on arrival.

  • Sal

    Thank You, will keep it in mind!

  • 01-May-19

    Hi, this is my first time wanting to join. 10:30am at Holmwood station. What gear would you recommend? and how will i identify the walking group? sorry if this is obvious

  • 01-May-19

    You are very welcome. Yes, we meet on the platform at Holmwood station. Don't worry - it is a quiet rural station so the group will be obvious. As for gear, boots or footwear comfortable for walking (trainers are fine if you can walk 10 miles in them: mud should not be an issue at this time of year). Otherwise, water, a waterproof in case it rains, and the directions or GPX. See this page for info on how our walks work: we have no leaders, which is a very important difference between our walks and other walking groups...


  • 01-May-19

    Thank you :)

  • Anonymous

    you're so kind Walker😊well done

  • Anonymous

    According to National Rail, there are more return trains than usual running tomorrow, which is good. At least one per hour:

    15:53 – 16:57 London Waterloo

    16:04 – 17:18 London Victoria

    16:52 – 17:57 London Waterloo

    17:06 – 18:18 London Victoria

    18:06 – 19:18 London Victoria

    18:09 – 19:27 London Waterloo

    19:06 – 20:18 London Victoria

    19:21 – 20:23 London Bridge

    19:56 – 20:57 London Waterloo

  • Tony

    (First-up: special thanks to the volunteers that maintain the walks and organise the walk posting.)

    A good number of walker-types on the train led to speculation that perhaps a Meetup group had posted the same walk? On arrival it wasn't long before 22 self-identified with the Saturday Walkers Club group that formed on the station platform, many of whom were on their first SWC walk (welcome!)

    The group set off and unintentionally spilt at the first opportunity with the minority opting for the alternative start. All experienced the same weather: light cloud ,-sunny-intervals-and-a-sly-north-westerly-wind to test our clothing options. The next test being the ascent of Leith Hill where cakes and hot drinks were welcomed as the group tarried a while, rested and enjoyed the panoramic views.

    Many were persuaded to detour to the Leith Hill Rhododendron Wood: spectacular colourful and fragrant blooms our reward.

    The front-runners pushed-on past the first pub stop (the Stephan Langton Inn - very busy) and made the second (the Wotton Hatch) in record time. Under-promised, over-delivered and generously sized portions were dispatched and the group, having gathered, once again split as some determined to make the earlier trains amidst speculation that the published Saturday timetable (promising hourly trains) WAS A LIE.

    The determined minority did make the earliest train, the next wave braved the tunnel under the railway line - the Lavender Goose (tea room and interior furnishing) their reward. Others reconnoitred Abinger Hammer where there is another tea room. Walk tales told and excellent cakes (and not-so-excellent tea) consumed, the majority adjourned for the 17:06 from Gomshall station. (Hourly trains after all!)

    Big hills climbed in good company on a not-so-big day out of London.

  • 06-May-19

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • 06-May-19

    Thank you very much for organising it and giving directions

Mon, 07-May-18
Bank Holiday Walk - Holmwood to Gomshall - bluebells and rhododendrons
Book 1, Walk 42 - Holmwood to Gomshall

Length: 16.7 km (10.4 miles) Option to extend to Guildford - another 7 miles
Toughness: 6 out of 10

London Victoria: 09-31 hrs Horsham service CJ 09-38, Sutton 09-59 hrs
Arrive Holmwood: 10-32 hrs

Return: Gomshall to Waterloo via Guildford: 15-53. 16-53, 18-07 and 19-07
Return: Gomshall to Victoria via Redhill (R) or Dorking Deepdene (D): 16-04 (D), 17-06 (R), 18-06 (R) and 19-21 (R)
Return: Guildford to Waterloo: 4 trains an hour

Rail ticket: buy a day return to Gomshall any route permitted. On your outward journey you might be asked to purchase a single from Dorking to Holmwood, but usually not.

If I've got the timing right, and luck is on our side, you will have both bluebells and rhododendrons on display to add to your enjoyment of today's nice walk.
Leaving Holmwood you have a choice of opening legs before you start your ascent of Leith Hill, where I suggest you pause for elevenses at its tower. Then I suggest you take the detour to include the Leith Hill Rhododendron Wood walk, before rejoining the main walk near Leyland Farm.
The lunch pub in the hamlet of Friday Street, the Stephan Langton Inn, is likely to be very busy today, so you might like to continue your walk for another 40 minutes until you reach Wotton and the walker friendly Wotton Hatch pub, where you stand a better chance of finding a table.
For tea at walk-end I recommend the Compasses Inn at Gomshall Mill.
If planning to continue your walk to Guildford, I recommend your reversing the Book 2 walk, Guildford to Gomshall.
Walk directions here L=1.42

  • 23-Apr-18

    You would only have to pay from DORKING to Holmwood on the outward journey, since via Dorking is a perfectly legitimate route to Gomshall.

  • 04-May-18

    Tillings Tea Room is now the Lavender Goose. This appears to be a retail store with a cafe attached, so the amount of seating will be dramatically reduced, I presume (it was shut when I passed it). It is open till 5pm daily. The Abinger Hammer tea rooms are still there though I am not sure if they open on a bank holiday.

  • Anonymous

    Hope to get bus from Wotton then train to join the walk at Holmwood. If the bus doesn't run on bank holidays, I'll walk to Leith Hill and hopefully join you there!

  • Anonymous

    hi guys

    no trains to holmwood all trains cancelled. sorry marcus cant go on this walk after all.

    hope you guys found an alternative walk.


  • Anonymous

    There’s a 10:01 train to Holmwood. Anyone still intending on going?

  • Anonymous

    All trains cancelled. I'm off to do Saunderton via Bledlow.

    10.07 train from Marylebone. Joe.

  • Anonymous

    Suggest getting the 10.01 from Victoria to Dorking and doing the Dorking to Gomshall instead. 10.01 gives time for adjustment and ticket to Gomshall is valid for this.

  • Anonymous

    Dorking to Gomshall is walk 147 in reverse

    or Dorking Circular walk 274

    We can decide on the train

  • Anonymous

    Will be on the 1001 train, from another Anonymous.

  • 07-May-18

    I am in the 9:31 train from Victoria to Gatwick. Will stop at Dorking to take the replacement bus to Holmwood. It seems quite fast.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll be on the 10:01 Dorking train


  • Anonymous

    We should be able to do the main walk using the replacement bus service

  • 07-May-18

    Glad to see the last comment. I have a black and pink backpack “le coq sportif”. Say hi if you see me. Arriving at Dorking in a few minutes now.

  • Anonymous

    10:01 train will get to Dorking at 10:50. Happy to share a taxi if the wait for the bus to Holmwood is too long.

    I’m wearing a pink skirt and carrying a blue rucksack.

  • Anonymous

    About 24 walkers in total. It's hard to know exactly how many as the comment about trains to Holmwood being cancelled caused some confusion, resulting in few walkers taking a later train and 2 opting for a circular from Dorking. In fact, the service was running with trains as far as Dorking, where a Bus Replacement service awaited for the short hop to Holmwood. This walk with it's woodlands and 4 or 5 refreshment options proved a very good choice in such sunny and hot weather.

  • Anonymous

    Glad some of you had a good day's walk with the bluebells and the woods in a hot day like today. Wish I had gone but was confused by the train cancellations etc. Well soemtimes these train websites are misleading.


  • 08-May-18

    My apologies for the confusion over the outward train service for today's walk. As recently as last Friday afternoon I checked in person at Victoria station that the 09-31 service to Horsham was running on Bank Holiday Monday, to be told it was. But over the weekend Southern decided to change the termination point of the 09-31, from Horsham to Brighton, to help the service to the seaside town, a service otherwise affected by engineering work. Given the expected hot, sunny day, this was a sensible decision by Southern. Unfortunately, to speed along the service, intermediate stops between Dorking and Horsham had to be omitted, but no problem - Southern put on a rail replacement service for these intermediate stops, including Holmwood, which worked very well. The problem was these changes to the service did not filter through to website information.

    Just to expand a bit on Anonymous's report on the walk, when twenty plus SWC walkers arrived at Holmwood station, there was a similar sized group of male Meet-Up walkers, waiting at the station and planning to do our walk. They set off just ahead of us on the alternative start (which offered better shade) but the Meet-Ups let us through whilst they waited for additional members to join them. Some of us stopped for elevenses at Leigh Hill tower, which was very busy, as expected, whilst others set off in anticipation of securing a table for lunch at the first pub en route. Four of us took the detour to the Rhododendron Wood,to find a blaze of rich colours - white, yellow, deep pink and vivid red rhodos and azaleas, above a carpet of bluebells. The rest of you really missed out. Said bluebells elsewhere on the walk in places were still in full bloom: in other places, like ageing walkers, they were beginning to flag.

    Most took sandwiches and picnicked along the way. Four of us dined at the Wotton Hatch, with its chaotic ordering system, and I believe four had lunch at the Stephan Langton. By now our group was well dispersed. Those that made Gomshall in time for an early train were fortunate. The Travel Gods decided to play another trick on the rest of us, as our scheduled train never showed up. So it was a pleasant bus ride into Guildford after refreshments in Gomshall ( but DON'T mention the rip-off tea in the Gomshall Mill), then a delayed train back to London.

    A nice walk in very nice company on a very hot day, but an outing somewhat spoilt for some of us by the vagaries of the rail companies.

  • Sarah

    Wonderful walk, thank you, the colours in the brilliant sunshine were so vivid and bright - felt like I was in another world it was perfect.

    Have got a polite suggestion, the walks have a very early start particularly as you have to leave lots of time to collect your train ticket these days. Any chance of posting a later time?

  • Anonymous

    Polite reply: 9.31 is not that early. Also, it is easy to buy a ticket online in these modern times. If you look more carefully, you'll find relatively little used ticket machines in the big stations.

  • 17-May-18

    Final thought: those of you armed with hand held devices - please be less trigger happy with them. At least two of you posted incorrect information on our website which probably put off a number of would-be attendees today. Please remember - train company websites often lag behind latest events. Perhaps better to let walkers work out what best to do when at the train station, as many of us did today.

    Thanks !

Sat, 21-Oct-17
Saturday walk - Holmwood to Gomshall - beechwoods and the highest viewpoint in the south east
Book 1 walk 42 - Holmwood to Gomshall
Length: 16.7km (10.4 miles) - but see ** at end of post
Toughness: 6 out of 10

9.31 train from Victoria (9.37 Clapham Junction, 9.59 Sutton) to Holmwood, arriving 10.32.

Buy an any permitted day return to Gomshall, is my advice: this gives you the best choice of routes on the way home. This may be accepted to Holmwood or you may be liable for a small supplement for the one stop from Dorking to Holmwood.

For walk directions click here. For GPX file click here.

Weather warning: When I picked this walk, I did not know a big storm was forecast. Since Leith Hill is the highest point in southern England and faces into the teeth of the south westerly gale predicted for today, it is likely to be very windy. A danger from falling branches or trees cannot be ruled out. Once over the top of the hill, things may (I stress may) be more sheltered, as you will have the ridge between you and the wind. Remember that you are always doing these walks at your own risk. Exercise your own judgement at all times. Be prepared to take alternative routes. If looking for a walk in this area that might be more sheltered, I would suggest Dorking Circular, SWC 274, which sticks to the valley between the Greensand and North Downs ridges. Dorking is a stop before Gomshall on the specified train.

Kay-okay: no prizes for originality this week, but what is autumn without Holmwood to Gomshall? There may be a bit of beechwood colour but there certainly will be a glorious climb to Leith Hill, the South East's Mont Blanc, and with luck the tea kiosk there will be open. Stand on the hummock 10 metres or so behind the tower and on a clear day you can see both Canary Wharf (at about 60 degrees) and the sea (due south through Shoreham Gap: they have helpfully built a windfarm out to sea so you can see where it is): is there anywhere else where you can see both from the same place?

After that there is a fine descent through the woods, though later the walk has some fields and views too. The lunch pub in Friday Street can be popular (they have hopefully forgotten about the time we reserved a table for 13 and only 3 turned up), but if they are full, the Wotton Hatch pub 40 minutes further on serves food all afternoon.

Gomshall groans with nice tea options: Tillings Cafe is the best, but one not mentioned in the walk directions is the Gomshall Mill, opposite the Compasses: nice armchairs and puddings.

Trains back from Gomshall have big gaps. At 15.53, 17.53, 19.53 there are trains westwards to Guildford and on to Waterloo (58 mins) and at 16.04, 18.04, 20.04 there are trains eastwards to Redhill and on to East Croydon and London Bridge (1 hr 14 mins). In either direction you can admire the new footbridge at Gomshall, which has been tastefully blended into its surroundings and does not look monstrously out of scale at all.... T=1.42

** Tough guy/gal challenge: last year five of us did this as a midweek walk and then finished it off by reversing book 2 walk 13 into Guildford - a further 6.8 miles. A great way to make use of one the last days of British Summer Time....
  • Marion

    Weather forecast is for 50mph winds and Ramblers have cancelled some of their country walks. Woodland areas particularly vulnerable to falling trees.

  • 20-Oct-17

    Yes, falling trees worries me too

  • 22-Oct-17

    12 walkers on this walk. So windy up on Leaf Hill that the tea and coffee bought by walkers was literally being swept out of their mugs. The Surrey Hills looked as beautiful as ever especially so in the sun. A big group of us missed taking tea and cakes in Gomshall because the 15.53 was just about to arrive and we didn't want to have to wait 2 hours for the next train. To compensate, two of us had a nice cup of tea in Dorking.

Sat, 12-Nov-16
Saturday First Walk - Beech woods and a great big hill
Book 1 Walk 42 - Holmwood to Gomshall
Length: 16.7 km (10.4 miles)
Toughness: 6 out of 10: a sustained hill climb, then flat or downhill

9.31 train from Victoria (9.37 Clapham Junction, 9.59 Sutton), arriving Holmwood at 10.32.

Buy a day return to Gomshall, ideally via "any permitted" - not necessarily the default choice out of Victoria - to allow you to use the faster return via Guildford. However, if you definitely want to come back via Redhill and East Croydon, a ticket valid that way might do. A Gomshall return is not valid technically for the one stop from Dorking to Holmwood but is usually accepted if you explain you are on a walk.

Special note: a group of Capital Walkers will be on the same train, but they are going on a different walk (to Ockley). I suggest that to avoid confusion at Holmwood, SWC walkers sit at the BACK of the train on this occasion, and meet at this end of the platform, by the steps up to the road.

For walk directions click here.

Those privileged, pampered Midweek walkers did this wonderful autumn classic recently, but I see no reason why hardworking weekend-only types should not get a crack at it. You will get better leaf colour, because, cross-fingers, the lovely beech woods on Leith Hill should be at their best by now.

You earn your chocolate cake in the morning with a climb up Leith Hill, the highest point in south east England, which has wonderful views to match. It is a long ascent but never that steep, so long as you avoid the near vertical climb in paragraph 22 and 24 of the directions and take the easier paragraph 23 alternative. In the tower at the top the National Trust tea kiosk should be open (so long as there is not "adverse weather conditions or poor light").

The Stephan Langton, the lunch pub, is a popular place and worth ringing to book a table. (Don't do this unless you definitely are going to have lunch, however. In 2015 we booked a table for 13 and only three bothered to stop there and eat: this kind of thing does not make walking groups popular!!!). If it is full, the Wotton Hatch pub 40 minutes further on does food all afternoon.

The recommended tea place is the deservedly popular Tillings Cafe, open to 5pm, but the Abinger Hammer tea room a bit earlier is an alternative, and near Tillings there are two nice pubs, the Gomshall Mill and Compasses Inn.

As regular walkers will know, trains back from Gomshall are only every two hours. If you have an "any permitted" ticket the 16.04, 18.04 or 20.04 connection via Guildford is faster (57 minutes to Waterloo), but the 15.53, 17.53 or 19.53 via Redhill into Victoria (1hr 14 minutes) may suit some better.

There is also the 32 bus from outside the Compasses Inn at 15.19. 16.19, 17.17 and 18.19 to Guildford, taking 25 minutes, but this only really helps you if you just miss the 16.04 or 18.04 train or if a train is cancelled. The 17.19 will get you to Guildford at 17.44 and you then have to walk to the station: frankly you might as well wait in Gomshall for the 18.04 train

  • 07-Nov-16

    It has been pointed out to me that two years ago a railway crossing early in this walk was closed for repairs. I have no idea if it was reinstated.

    A vey nice alternative start is as follows:

    Go up the steps from the station to the road and turn left on it. In about 150 metres, just after the last house, take a path to the left (not the track just to its left). In 150 metres this emerges onto a tarmac drive, which you follow in the same direction.

    In 300 metres, just before a house on the left, ignore a signposted path to the left, but in another 150 metres, take the left fork, a track leading into the woods, ignoring a farm track more sharply left just before it.

    In 800 metres, a little after you emerge into the open, you come to a three way track/tarmac drive junction. Keep straight ahead and you are now at point 11 of the online directions.

  • Anonymous

    Capital Walkers are doing similar start from Gomshall. Will be on same train, however they are going to Ockley. So care to join the correct walk-Gavin

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, I meant from Holmwood, not Gomshall. So, yes, need to ensure there is a seperation at Holmwood or it might cause confusion, Gavin

  • 08-Nov-16

    Wednesday walkers "privileged - Pampered" ? !

    Privileged - yes - to be able to walk during the week, away from the madding crowds. But pampered ? - how dare you, sir !! Many of us may be long in't tooth with fading old fogey passes, but we are just reaping the rewards of hard work over many a moon and in some cases, too many a moon.

    Now, you young swain, young blades and lassies out there should take great satisfaction in knowing by working all the hours of the day and night you are paying for my pension and paying for the subsidy on my travel. So please keep it up - it is much appreciated. Yes - you will all probably have to work until you are 75 or 80 - so you will need to keep fit. So keep up walking with the SWC - but not on Wednesdays !

    Pampered ?

  • 08-Nov-16

    I needed another word beginning with "P" for the alliteration.

    Re the Capital Walkers group, yes, I know - I note this in the walk post (paragraph in italics after the outward train details). Sorry about this, but there are so many damned groups these days and I can't avoid all of them all of the time. They are not going to our lunch pubs: that seemed to be the main thing. Otherwise, I am sure we can give them a clean pair of heels.

    I suggested that the SWC group sit at the back end of the train and meet at the back end of the platform by the steps to avoid the Capital Walkers....so long as they do not do the same, of course.

  • 14-Nov-16

    6 Very wet all morning. Given the rain on Saturday and the fine forecast for Sunday it was not surprising that only six brave souls alighted at Holmwood. The Capital Walkers had a few more but we left them on the platform. With almost zero visibility at Leith Hill Tower we went on to The Stephen Langton Inn. Despite the restaurant being full with a large group staying at Holmbury YHA we were served efficiently with good food and excellent Tillingbourne beer. The rain eased off in the afternoon and we had time for tea at Tillings Cafe in Gomshall. There was a bit of confusion about train times but every one got away to Guildford or Dorking/Redhill. A grand day out despite the weather.

Wed, 26-Oct-16
Wednesday Walk: Book 1, Walk 42 - Holmwood to Gomshall
Leith Tower, its woodlands and its heathlands

Book 1, Walk 42 - Holmwood to Gomshall (with optional extension to Guildford)

Length: Holmwood to Gomshall: 16.7 km (10.4 miles)
Gomshall to Guildford (reversing part of Book 2, Walk 13): 10.4 km (6.5 miles)
Toughness: 6 out of 10

London Victoria: 09-31 hrs (Horsham train)
Arrive Holmwood: 10-32 hrs

Gomshall: 15-53 hrs via Guildford to Waterloo
16-04 hrs via Redhill to London Bridge or Victoria
16-53 hrs via Guildford
17-06 hrs via Redhill

Gomshall to Guildford by No 32 bus (from outside the Compasses pub): 15-19; 16-30; 17-01 & 18-15. Journey time about 26 mins.

Guildford to London Waterloo: frequent fast trains.

Rail ticket: suggest a day return to Gomshall all routes permitted, which covers return journeys via Redhill or Guildford. In theory you will also require a single from Dorking to Holmwood, but I have never been asked for this.

Today's walk posting assumes Southern will behave themselves today and not cancel the suggested train.

I suggest we start today's walk using the alternative start, before we climb up Leith Hill with its tower, where (if open) we take elevenses before continuing on the morning leg of the walk.

Now - pre-empting anonymous moaners over the early start (before 10 am), the cost of the rail ticket is not expensive today and the start time as recommended in the TO Book will permit those amongst us who wish to walk long today - on to Guildford - to do so in daylight.

The lunch stop is the Stephan Langton Inn in Friday Street, or a little later in the walk, the Wotton Hatch in Wotton. Tea can be taken in Abinger Hammer at the Tea Rooms or at the Compasses Inn in Gomshall. On arrival in Gomshall, those walkers still with petrol in the tank may wish to carry on to Guildford, over the hills and far away, reversing the Book 2 walk - Guildford to Gomshall. With clocks going back four days later, this will be the last chance for SWC walkers to go long for many a month.

Trains from Gomshall back to London are infreqent and if you just miss one, rather than wait for the next you may prefer to take the No 32 bus outside the Compasses Inn to Guildford bus Station, a short walk from the railway station.

There should be the start of some leaf colour in the woods today which should add to the enjoyment of this lovely walk.


Next week: Wednesday 02 November: SWC 191a - Haddenham Circular (excluding Brill)

  • 22-Oct-16

    Now I might do the Walk on Wednesday. But I can't Guarantee I will. But when we stop at a Pub Restaurant. How much are the prices?

  • Anonymous

    There is a sample lunch menu on this website: http://stephanlangton.pub/menu/

  • Anonymous

    thanks but too early for me

  • 26-Oct-16

    Angela - I got the authors wrong. I meant to say Challacombe, Oldfield and Salkovkis. You should find it.

  • 26-Oct-16

    13 .5 on this walk, the 0.5 being the "walks inspector" who joined us for lunch and most of the afternoon. A pleasant mild day with quite a bit of sun . Good autumn colours but no noticeable advance on last week. The tea kiosk on Leith Hill was open and there was a very distant view of the sea sparkling through Shoreham Gap as some of us had a cuppa. Five of us (plus walks inspector) ate in the not at all busy Stephan Langton so I guess others had sarnies or ate elsewhere. We got to Gomshall rather too early - 3pm or so - and I hear four at least went on to make it a 16 miler by carrying on to Guildford. So in fact did two more of us, one of whom (me) had not intended to be so heroic. But with an extravagant hour and a half of daylight still to go when we set off at 4.30, it seemed a shame not to make the most of it. We got to St Martha's Hill for a soft and lovely dusk and did the last bit over Pewley Down in the dark. Then tapas, wine and home.

Wed, 04-Nov-15
Mid-week day walk Holmwood to Gomshall

Holmwood to Gomshall

Pleasant forests and Leith Hill (with an opportunity for a cuppa at the tower there)

Book 1 Walk 42

Length : 17 km or 10½ miles

Toughness : 6 out of 10

Getting there : Catch the 10:31 am train from London Victoria to Holmwood
Calling Stations:

  • Clapham Junction: departs 10:38 am
  • Sutton: departs 10:59 am

Meeting point : Holmwood Station at 11:32 am

Tickets : Buy a day return to Holmwood and a ticket from Gomshall to Dorking
Or to return via Guildford
Buy a day return to Gomshall and ask for a ticket which is valid via Guildford.

Brief Description

In addition to the Fifth of November, Lewes Circular, I've posted this request for a less edgy day out. You may find full details of this walk here

Suggested Lunch stops

Suggested Tea stops


OS Explorer : 145 and 146

Return train times

Trains return from Gomshall to London Victoria (change at Redhill) at the following times:
16:04 | 18:06

... and to London Bridge at 17:06 (change at Redhill)

... and to London Waterloo at 16:53 | 18:07 (change at Guildford)

To summarise, you can catch a train at 16:04 | 16:53 | 17:06 | 18:06 | 18:07

  • Anonymous

    lovely walk, Max and Mel hope to go

  • 28-Oct-15

    Looking forward to the walk. Thank you Mr Dent.

  • Anonymous

    Shortening the walk ! para 56, Wotton Hatch pub (about 45 mons after lunch) has a bus stop on the other side of the road which will take you to Dorking station for trains back to London. http://www.travelinesoutheast.org.uk/se/TTB/EFA04__00001a22_TP.pdf

  • 02-Nov-15

    I think one might find the Wotton/Dorking bus timetable here ...


  • 05-Nov-15

    7 +dog. misty &_overcast_with_brief_faint_drizzle. Long woodland stretches ablaze with colour and carpeted with leaves. One walker detoured to visit the impressive Anstiebury Hillfort, which might be worth including as an official variation on this walk. Welcome refreshments at Leith Hill where mist obscured views though we got a glimpse of the North Downs bathed in sunshine. The Stephan Langton provided an excellent lunch, though some thought portion sizes could be more generous. Despite taking an occasional wrong turning in the woods, and not leaving the lunch pub till 3:00pm, we managed to reach Gomshall just before dusk.

Sat, 12-Sep-15
Holmwood to Gomshall
Book 1, walk 42, Holmwood to Gomshall
Length: 16.7 km (10.4 miles)
Toughness: 6/10

9:31 from London Victoria, arriving in Holmwood at 10:32
Return: xx:53 via Guildford to London Victoria or xx:04 via Redhill to London Victoria

I suggest buying a day return to Gomshall.

Walk directions can be downloaded from here

A beautiful walk through woods with a climb up to Leith tower and tea in the cozy tearoom in Abinger Hammer.

The suggested lunch place is the Stephan Langton Inn in Friday Street. The waiting room for the train is the Compasses Inn in Gomshall.

  • Anonymous

    If you get caught between trains at Gomshall, you can get buses from there to Redhill or Dorking.

  • Anonymous

    Does that train stop at clapham Junction? Hope to attend.


  • Peaked Cap and Whistle

    It sure does, at 9:38 Its the Horsham train

    Train back calls there, too

  • Ian T

    13 on this walk, one of whom, a late starter, caught us up at Gomshall. cloudy early sunny later . A varied and energetic walk quite pretty, and plenty of dramatic trees. It is possible to feel lost on this walk, even when you’re not! Particularly the stretch after Leith tower. Though, given the vague path choices and lack of definitive landmarks, the book did well to steer me through.

    Lunch at the Stephan Langton seemed to please. As did a languorous tea stop in Abinger Hammer.

  • Peaked Cap and Whistle

    There was some debate about whether it was better to change for Victoria at Dorking Deepdene or Redhill. I did some research and, according to Journey Planner, it should be 5 minutes faster to change at Redhill despite the half hour wait for the connection. Sadly on this occasion the train from Redhill was 3 minutes late and by the time it reached Clapham Junction the Deepdeners would have been a whole 5 minutes ahead. That half hour wait does swing the balance in favour of Dorking Deepdene in cold weather, though.

  • Ian T

    Thanks, Mr Whistle, I forgot to mention that the (normally locked) church at Wotton was open, thanks to Heritage Open Day. Contains one famous tomb, that of John Evelyn. Apparently, it is kept locked because of vandalism to that very tomb.