Length: 18.2km (11.3 miles)
Toughness: expect several big ascents and descents
Interminable engineering works on the Guildford line have finally been completed, allowing me to try this idea, which has been festering in the dark recesses of my brain for some time.
The idea is to use the book 1 Holmwood to Gomshall directions to the top of Leith Hill (though with a slightly shorter start which I will explain on the day) and then follow the Greensand Way west - NEW territory for the SWC. There are no walk directions for this last two thirds of the walk: it is hopefully waymarked, but bring maps or map apps if you have them.
Basic GPX or KML
Note that this is a map-led walk NOT a led walk: ie like all our walks it has no leader. You are ultimately responsible for finding your own way, though past experience suggests that there will be some "cooperative navigation" .
There may be bluebells en route - it is likely territory for them - but I have never done the walk so don't know. There looks to be quite lot of woodland which will be full of fresh green foliage (another reason to do this walk now). Some good escarpment views - eg from Leith Hill and from Holmbury Hill (the latter just after lunch).
9.24 train from Waterloo (9.33 Clapham Junction) to Epsom, arriving 9.57, changing there for the 10.09 train to Holmwood, arriving 10.32. This two stage journey from Waterloo is necessary due to last minute engineering works in the Sutton area but does not add significantly to journey times.
Note: There will be a 30-strong Meet-Up Group - sigh! - making the same journey. They will also get off at Holmwood. Make sure you don't join with the wrong group. They are also going up Leith Hill but after that are going a different way. If it turns out they are going the same way up Leith Hill as us, we will go up another way - there are various options.
Buy an ANY PERMITTED day return to Gomshall ** - important! NOT via Redhill only (though at Waterloo "any permitted" is what the ticket machines will likely offer you). In theory you also will need a single from Dorking to Holmwood... ** OR an any permitted day return to Shalford. Our resident train guru says this is cheaper than a return to Gomshall and still valid via Dorking and Guildford: your choice
Lunch: will be in Holmbury St Mary, 2 miles after Leigh Hill = 5 miles into the walk. The most convenient pub seems to be the King's Head (01306 730282), which looks to be almost on the GSW route and has a large garden: I have rung them and made a booking for 10 people for 1pm, though they say Saturday lunchtimes are "usually not a problem": we can still sit in the garden if it is sunny. An alternative up the road 450 metres to the north is the Royal Oak (01306 898010).
Mid afternoon drinks (3 miles after lunch) may be possible at the Ewhurst Windmill, described as "more of a restaurant than a pub", but apparently willing to serve drinks in the afternoon and having a deck with a fine view.
The walk ends in the pretty village of Shamley Green where there is a lovely pub on the village green - the Red Lion. It is open all afternoon for drinks: if you want to have dinner there, it serves food from 6.30pm.
53/63 buses to Guildford go from the other side of the road to the Red Lion at 12, 32 and 52 past the hour until 18.52, then 19.22, 20.22, 21.22, 22.22, 23.30, taking 20 minutes.
Trains back from Guildford to Waterloo go every 15 minutes or so (eg 02, 17, 34. 47 and 54) and are covered by the Gomshall/Shalford return. These are the fast trains: don't get the slow train via Clandon by mistake