Main Walk: 17 km (10.6 miles). Four hours 20 minutes walking time. For the whole excursion including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 8 hours.
Main Walk, finishing at Epsom: 18¼ km (11.3 miles). Four hours 30 minutes walking time.
Short Walk, finishing at Tadworth: 11½ km (7.1 miles). Two hours 55 minutes walking time.
Circular Walk, from Tattenham Corner: 14¼ km (8.9 miles). Three hours 30 minutes walking time.
Short Circular Walk, from Tadworth: 7¾ km (4.8 miles). One hour 50 minutes walking time.
Explorers 146 & (for the Epsom ending only) 161. Merstham, map reference TQ291533, is in Surrey, 3 km NE of Redhill.
4 out of 10 (3 for the Short and Circular Walks, 1 for the Short Circular Walk).
The Main Walk starts along the North Downs Way and soon reaches Gatton Park, which was landscaped by Lancelot “Capability” Brown. A choice of routes through this attractive parkland ends with a steady climb through woods to a popular viewpoint at Reigate Hill and the chance for a mid-morning snack.
The fine views continue as you progress along the North Downs ridge, where Reigate Fort is a reminder that this was once seen as a defensive line protecting the capital. At the end of this section the open expanse of Colley Hill would make a good picnic spot. A little further on you cross the M25 to the suggested lunchtime pub in the isolated hamlet of Mogador.
In the afternoon the route goes across the large expanse of Banstead Heath (part of Banstead Commons) to Walton on the Hill, then through arable farmland being transformed into a First World War Centenary Wood. After going over Walton Downs you cross the famous Epsom Downs Racecourse on a public right of way to a pub near the finishing post. The suggested route to finish the walk at Tattenham Corner includes a short loop behind the Grandstand with a panoramic view of the London skyline.
The public footpaths across the racecourse used to be kept open even on race days, but in 2016 there were prominent notices saying that the crossings are now closed for events (and for several hours before and after). Sadly, it is no longer possible to do the full walk on Derby Day.
If you are late starting the Main Walk, the morning short cut described in the text would give you a chance to catch up. You could also take a shorter ending from Langley Vale to Tattenham Corner station, bypassing the Grandstand (as in the original version of the Main Walk).
There are other stations not far from the racecourse and directions are given for two alternative endings to the Main Walk. There is only a limited service from Epsom Downs station, but the main station in the town centre has frequent trains to both Victoria and Waterloo. However, the ticket needed for this route is more awkward (see Transport below).
An alternative Circular Walk from Tattenham Corner omits the viewpoints on the North Downs but should be less affected by the motorway noise which can detract from the first half of the Main Walk. Directions are also given to and from the nearest station to Walton on the Hill (Tadworth), enabling various Short Walks.
Merstham has up to four trains an hour: a half-hourly Southern service from Victoria (hourly on Sundays), taking 32-35 minutes; plus a half-hourly Thameslink service (also hourly on Sundays).
The suggested station to return from is Tattenham Corner, next to the racecourse, which has a half-hourly service to London Bridge. Tadworth station (for the Short Walks) is on the same line.
The most frequent return service is from the station in Epsom town centre, which has direct trains every 5-10 minutes to both Victoria and Waterloo. Hidden away at the end of a long residential street, Epsom Downs station now has a regular half-hourly service to Victoria via West Croydon.
The stations on the Tattenham Corner and Epsom Downs lines are in TfL Zone 6, but Merstham and Epsom are both one stop beyond the Travelcard zone. Oyster PAYG can be used at Merstham, which is convenient but not necessarily the cheapest option: the fares from most stations are higher than you might expect. Oyster is not valid at Epsom.
If you decide not to use Oyster the choice is between a simple return to Merstham or a Zones 1-6 Travelcard plus a single from Boundary Zone 6 to Merstham. The latter is more flexible, although from Epsom you would still need to buy an additional one-stop single to Ewell East/West. You should avoid a return to Merstham if you might want to finish at Epsom or Epsom Downs, but this ticket might be accepted from Tattenham Corner or Tadworth (although it would be safer to buy an additional one-zone single to Purley, where the lines merge).
Walton on the Hill has a regular bus service (Metrobus 460) but there are none at Mogador, so you would need to call a taxi if you wanted to finish the walk after lunch there.
Car drivers could manage the Main Walk by parking in Coulsdon and travelling to the start from Coulsdon South station, returning from Tattenham Corner or Tadworth to Coulsdon Town. The Circular Walk is simpler as there are free car parks on the edge of Epsom Downs.
Take the train nearest to 10:15 from Victoria (or a Thameslink station) to Merstham for the Main Walk, or from London Bridge to Tattenham Corner for the Circular Walk.
The suggested lunchtime pub is The Sportsman (01737-246655) in Mogador, after 8 km (6¾ km on the Circular Walk, 4¼ km on the Short Circular Walk). This pub has a large beer garden and serves good home-cooked food, including a wide selection of burgers and ciabattas.
In a further 2½ km a later pub lunch is possible in Walton on the Hill, where the Blue Ball (01737-819003) re-opened as a Whiting & Hammond pub in 2015 after being closed for several years. The nearby Village Café (see below) does light lunches.
If you want to break for tea in Walton on the Hill, the Village Café (01737-814171; open to 5pm Mon–Fri, 4pm weekends) has a nice location overlooking Mere Pond and serves home-made cakes, pastries and cream teas. Stronger fare is available at the Blue Ball (see above) and The Bell (01737-812132; closed weekday afternoons), a quirky pub known locally as The Rat. These are the choices at the end of a Short Walk, since the only place near Tadworth station is a new Mediterranean Bar & Restaurant, The Bridge, in the old station building.
Towards the end of the Main Walk the suggested tea place is the up-market Rubbing House (01732-745050), which advertises itself as “the only pub in the world on a racecourse”. A nearby alternative is the similarly up-market Derby Arms (01732-722330), behind the Grandstand. These are still at least 20-30 minutes from the walk's possible endings, however.
If you prefer to stop for refreshment nearer to Tattenham Corner station (or bypass the Grandstand with the shorter ending) there are several places nearby. The large Tattenham Corner Beefeater (01737-351454) has fine views over the racecourse, and there is also the Downs Lunch Box kiosk (open daily) or the Silver Spoon Diner (01737-668049; open to 5pm Mon–Sat, 4pm Sun) in the parade of shops beyond the station.
There are no refreshment places near Epsom Downs station but plenty of choice if you take the slightly longer ending to Epsom. A suggested place on the route into the town is The Amato (01372-721309), a “Grumpy Mole Restaurant” which serves afternoon tea from 3-5pm (Mon–Sat) as well as normal pub fare. There are many cafés, coffee shops and pubs in the town centre itself.
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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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The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
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Walk Options ( Main | Circular )
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- Main Walk (17 km)
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If you are doing the Circular Walk from Tattenham Corner, start at §4.
If you are doing the Short Circular Walk from Tadworth, start at §5.
- Merstham to Gatton (1¾ km)
- Gatton to Reigate Hill (3 or 2 km)
- Main route (3 km)
- Shorter route (2 km)
- Reigate Hill to Mogador (3¼ km)
- Tattenham Corner Station to New Road (3¼ km)
- Tadworth Station to New Road (¾ km)
- New Road to Mogador (3½ km)
- Mogador to Mere Pond (2½ km)
- Mere Pond to Nohome Farm (2¾ km)
- Nohome Farm to the Grandstand (2¼ km)
- The Grandstand to Tattenham Corner Station (1½ km)
- Nohome Farm to Tattenham Corner Station direct (2¼ km)
- Mere Pond to Tadworth Station (1 km)
- The Grandstand to Epsom Station (2¾ km)
- The Grandstand to Epsom Downs Station (2 km)
Go up to the A23 and turn right. Keep ahead briefly into Quality Street and turn left onto the North Downs Way (NDW). Go past a cricket pitch and across a golf course. After crossing a driveway, bear left onto an enclosed path which eventually comes out onto Rocky Lane. Turn right and enter Gatton Park at North Lodge.
Arriving from London, cross the footbridge and bear right across the station forecourt. Almost immediately turn left up Station Road and turn right at the top onto the A23. Cross over at the zebra crossing and continue along the main road, passing a tiny Village Garden1 on the left. Where the main road swings right keep ahead briefly into Quality Street2.
Unless you want to explore this cul-de-sac with its collection of attractive old houses (an unexpected survival in such urban surroundings), turn left after just 20m into Merstham Cricket Club's driveway, joining the North Downs Way3. At the club's car park bear right onto a path, passing the cricket pitch on your left. Go through a kissing gate onto Reigate Hill golf course and keep ahead up a gentle slope, ignoring golfers' paths off to both sides.
Head W across the golf course for 600m. After passing some trees on your left, the path crosses a tarmac driveway. In 50m go through a kissing gate to continue on an enclosed path, still heading W. In 300m, this leads onto the driveway to a large house, which in turn meets a lane. Bear left onto this to come to a T-junction with Rocky Lane. Turn right, go past the entrance to Paddock House on your left and enter Gatton Park4 at North Lodge.
At a junction take the rightmost exit. Go past a car park and school buildings to reach a three-way junction, with a choice of routes. The left fork leads to Nut Wood, which you can go through on the waymarked Gatton Trail (or other paths), before crossing a hollow to rejoin the NDW. The alternative is to take the right fork and stay on the NDW. The NDW crosses Wray Lane to reach the NT car park on Reigate Hill.
200m along the tarmac road you come to a junction, with a modern chapel on the right and St Andrew's church (which is usually locked) up ahead. Turn right and continue past a car park and school buildings, with playing fields on the right. In 400m you reach a three-way junction with the Millennium Stones5 in the field ahead on your right.
For a shorter route which omits the loop through Nut Wood, follow the directions in §2b.
At the three-way junction take the left fork, leaving the NDW. This bridleway initially goes downhill, passing Hop Garden Pond, then curves left and climbs back uphill. At the top of the rise you are heading S with fine views (looking back, you can just see the top of Gatton House behind some tall trees). After the path bends to the right there is a fieldgate up ahead, but 40m before reaching it bear right uphill on a broad track and go through another fieldgate into Nut Wood.
The walk route originally went around the southern perimeter of this wood, but the suggested route now follows the black metal waymarkers of the Gatton Trail.
Almost immediately turn sharp right at a waymark post, going past another gate onto a broad path climbing near the right-hand edge of the wood. In 150m there is a bench by a gap in the trees on the right, with a fine view across Gatton Park. The path now swings round to the left towards the centre of the wood, still climbing.
Eventually the path levels out and 400m from the viewpoint you go past a wooden barrier into a more open part of the wood. Turn right at a path crossing by a waymark post and follow the path through bracken, then back into a more densely wooded area. Stay on the main track as it goes across a hollow and climbs back uphill, soon with more fine views across the park on the right.
Halfway up the slope ignore an old stile leading onto the grassland and follow the main track up and round to the right. After climbing for a further 100m past this bend you come to a viewpoint by a path junction, where you turn sharp left to rejoin the NDW.
At the three-way junction take the right fork, staying on the NDW. There is an information panel about the sculpture and its poetry on your left. In 200m the lane bends right towards a road, but just before Lodge House turn left onto a broad track climbing steadily through a wood.
Ignore a path off to the left after 100m, but in a further 300m fork left at a Y-junction, staying on the NDW (the right fork is a short cut). On the suggested route you come to a viewpoint over Gatton Park in 300m, where the main route comes up from the other side of the hill. Bear right at the path junction here.
The path away from the viewpoint curves round to the right to head NW and soon comes to a small clearing. A path joins from the right (the short cut mentioned in §2b) and you bear left to meet Wray Lane. Carefully cross this one-way road (traffic comes quickly up the hill from the left) and go across the National Trust's Reigate Hill car park, with its popular viewpoint on the left. On the far side there is a kiosk for mid-morning refreshments.
Cross the A217 on a footbridge and continue on a bridleway. This goes past Reigate Fort and eventually emerges on Colley Hill by the Inglis Folly. Take any route along its grassy slopes for the next 1 km. At the end rejoin the NDW for a short distance, then turn right onto a lane which crosses over the M25. Stay on this lane for 500m, then turn left into a cul-de-sac leading to The Sportsman.
Cross the A217 on a white-painted footbridge to the left of the kiosk (by a “Horse Riders Dismount” sign). On the far side you can either continue on the main bridleway or veer right onto a broad grassy strip running alongside it for 300m; on the latter there are occasional distant views of the London skyline. After crossing a track continue along the bridleway past some cottages. Just before reaching some communications masts you pass the entrance to Reigate Fort6 (which you can visit) on the left.
Further along the bridleway passes Memorial Glade7 before finally emerging onto open ground by what looks like a small circular temple, the Inglis Folly8. There are magnificent views to the south for the next 1 km. The main path curves away to the right here, but it is much more pleasant to make your way along the grassy slopes of Colley Hill – or put in some extra hill walking! Eventually the contours of the ground lead you back past a National Trust sign for Colley Hill to the main path.
Go through a wooden gate and head W along a bridleway. Ignore a door with a footpath sign in the fence on your right, behind which is a large country house, the Old Pheasantry9. At the far end of the fence (by a white-painted Coal Tax Post10) ignore another path to the right, alongside its garden. Shortly after this, however, fork right onto either of two paths branching off the main path; the second is a short straight wide path, easier to follow.
Both paths lead to a tarmac lane where you turn right to head N. Ignore lanes and paths off to both sides and follow the lane across the M25. Continue along it for a further 500m, past a few houses in a wooded area. Eventually the lane bends right at a junction marked by a Coal Tax post and a large pub sign. Turn left into this cul-de-sac to find The Sportsman pub on the right at the far end, on the edge of Banstead Heath11.
Continue the directions at §7.
Leave the station and bear left up a grassy knoll, then down to cross the B290. Go alongside the racecourse fence and follow it briefly round to the right. Go down the slope to pick up a bridleway heading south through a wood and then past the backs of gardens to Motts Hill Lane. Go up to a corner of Banstead Heath and cut across it to the junction of the B2220 and the B290 (New Road).
Leave the station past the ticket office and go straight ahead. Cross a street and go past low wooden barriers to the left of a small car park onto a patch of grassland. Veer left up this knoll towards a line of benches for a fine view of Epsom Downs Racecourse, with its Grandstand at the far end of the finishing straight. Keeping the course on your right, leave the knoll via another gap in the barriers. Turn right onto a short side street and go past a gate onto the B290 (Epsom Lane North).
Cross the B290 carefully and turn left in front of the racecourse. Take the broad grassy path alongside its fence (not the signposted public bridleway to its left, which soon rejoins the road). In 250m, at the end of a section of the course where some shorter races start, veer right and take any convenient path along the top of Walton Downs, parallel to the racecourse fence.
The earth tracks here are used before noon for exercising racehorses. Do not walk along them and take care when crossing them; follow instructions from the Downskeepers if necessary.
In 300m, just after another starting point on the course, turn left onto a clear grassy path going down the slope towards a wood. At the bottom cross more exercise tracks with care and take a signposted bridleway into the trees. Follow the main path through the wood for 500m as it heads S near its left-hand edge, climbing gently for most of the way.
At the far end of the wood the path drops down to a T-junction with another horse ride. Bear left and then keep right at more junctions to continue on an enclosed bridleway for nearly 1 km, climbing again between gardens on the left and a large field on the right.
The bridleway eventually joins a driveway and comes out onto a lane. Turn right briefly onto this lane (signposted as a Restricted Byway) and follow it round a left-hand bend. Where it bends right bear left onto an enclosed footpath to the left of a driveway. At the top of a slope veer left past a white-painted Coal Tax Post10 and a vehicle barrier onto Banstead Heath11.
You will be going straight across this wooded part of the heath for 500m, heading ESE. Start by crossing an unsurfaced lane onto a broad grassy path curving to the right. Where this forks keep right to stay fairly close to the lane. In 100m you can see The Bell pub off to the right at a path crossing.
Keep ahead here and at all subsequent path junctions, including a broad horse ride and then a tarmac footpath (with a pond on the right between them). 150m after the tarmac path you emerge from a corner of the wood at a road junction, with New Road on the far side of the B2220.
Continue the directions at §6.
From the station head south on The Avenue. Shortly after this joins Station Approach Road turn half-right onto a footpath heading south-west. Cross over another branch of The Avenue onto Banstead Heath. Take a bridleway along the left-hand edge of the wood to the junction of the B2220 and the B290 (New Road).
Arriving from London, go up a few steps from the middle of the platform to a road. Turn left and cross over at some point. Keep ahead at a road junction, then turn half-right at a footpath signpost onto an enclosed tarmac path going gently uphill.
At the top turn right onto a residential street, cross over and almost immediately turn left through a wide gap between houses into a wooded part of Banstead Heath11. Keep left at all path junctions, initially on a tarmac path but soon turning off onto a signposted bridleway. Follow this along the left-hand edge of the wood for 250m to come to a road junction, with New Road on the far side of the B2220.
Take the bridleway heading south-southeast, towards Castle House on the B2032. Shortly before this bridleway meets the main road turn left and cross it further along, onto an open plateau. Take the permissive ride heading east across it and continue through a wood towards a roundabout on the A217. Ignore this exit and take the bridleway heading south-west and then south near the eastern edge of Banstead Heath for 1¾ km, leading to The Sportsman.
Cross the B2220 carefully and take the signposted bridleway to the right of New Road, into another (less thickly wooded) part of Banstead Heath. Just inside the wood fork left and now follow this fairly straight bridleway through the heath for 500m, keeping ahead at path crossings and heading SSE.
After passing some old pits on both sides you come to a potentially muddy area with several paths off and a white house visible 100m ahead, on the other side of a road. At this junction turn sharp left onto a path going up a slope, soon coming to some low wooden barriers in front of the B2032 (Dorking Road). Cross this busy road carefully and go past more barriers onto an open part of the heath.
Turn half-left and take a broad grassy path signposted as a Permissive Ride, heading E. Follow this all the way across the plateau for 750m, passing some trees on the left after 200m and later another group on the right; if you look back to the left at around this point you should be able to see the top of the black-painted and sailless Tadworth Windmill12 in the treeline.
On the far side of the plateau follow the horse ride into the trees, curving slightly to the right and gently descending. In 200m turn right at a T-junction with a bridleway and follow this downhill, with traffic noise from the A217 just off to your left. At the bottom of the slope the bridleway bends left and merges with other rides heading towards the main road.
Do not take this exit but veer right to continue on another bridleway going back into the trees, heading SW (if you imagine you were coming down the path from the road, you would be turning half-left). This soon curves gently to the left and climbs onto a more open part of the heath, later going alongside a tall hedge guarding a large house on the left. At the end of this hedge bear right through a wide gap in the trees into the corner of an open part of the heath, sloping down to the right.
Bear left to head S on a broad grassy path at the top of this grassland. In 300m follow the main path as it turns slightly right, down towards the bottom corner. Go through a wide gap and bear left to continue along the edge of the heath, heading S again. In 750m keep ahead past wooden barriers onto a lane at the corner of the heath, with The Sportsman pub the first building on the left.
Go onto Banstead Heath and take any convenient route heading north-west, gradually approaching Walton Heath golf course. Follow a path alongside the golf course to Dorking Road. Cross over and take a footpath forking right off a driveway through a lightly wooded part of the heath to Mere Pond.
Turn right out of the pub to go onto Banstead Heath and aim for an isolated tree 75m away. For the most direct route do not take the grassy path indicated by a footpath signpost there, but go past it and veer left onto the next path. You are heading NW across Chussex Plain towards Walton Heath golf course13 and might be able to see a distant Coal Tax post on its boundary, 600m ahead.
The path gradually curves right to thread its way through some gorse. After dipping past the left-hand end of a belt of trees, keep ahead up the other side, aiming for the left-hand edge of a wood. Join the sandy bridleway running between the wood and the golf course, heading N and later NW. This weaves in and out of trees and gorse bushes; stay close to the course and avoid paths going too deeply into the wood. In 1 km you come to low wooden barriers in front of the B2032 (Dorking Road).
Cross this busy road carefully onto the driveway to Walton House, then immediately fork right onto a footpath. Follow this broad path through a lightly wooded part of Banstead Heath for 500m, ignoring crosspaths, until you emerge at a clearing with the Blue Ball pub ahead on your left. Head for the far left-hand corner to meet the B2220 (Walton Street) by Deans Lane, with the Village Café off to the left in the parade of shops opposite Mere Pond.
If you are doing a Short Walk to Tadworth station, go to §12.
Leave Mere Pond on a lane along the edge of a wood. At the end of the wood, turn left onto a footpath, then cross a stile on the right. This footpath goes past paddocks, across two lanes and eventually meets a bridleway. Turn right and follow this downhill for 1½ km into Langley Vale, eventually curving left around Nohome Farm at the bottom of the valley.
Cross the main road carefully and take the lane to the right of Mere Pond. At the sign for Withybed Corner fork right and follow the lane through the wood, later passing some houses off to the left. In 300m you pass The Bell pub and in another 100m go past a vehicle barrier to leave the wood.
Turn left here at a signpost in the direction of Ebbisham Lane, but 100m along this footpath go over a stile on the right to head NW down another footpath. After 150m go over a stile and cross Motts Hill Lane to continue in the same direction past some paddocks. In 200m cross Ebbisham Lane and go over another stile, slightly to your right. Continue along the left-hand side of a narrow field, with a row of trees on your left.
At the far end of the field cross a stile and turn right onto a chalky track, heading NW. Continue gently downhill on this bridleway for 1½ km into Langley Vale; the areas of tree planting on both sides are for a new World WarⅠ memorial site, Langley Vale Centenary Wood14. At the bottom follow the track round to the left by Nohome Farm and continue along it for 75m, where there is a wide gap in the trees on your right.
If you are doing the Circular Walk's shorter ending, go to §11.
Unless you want to take a short cut going straight up Walton Downs, head west along the bridleway at the foot of the downs. After passing Sheep Walk bear right onto a bridleway leading onto the downs and take the tarmac path curving round to the right, climbing steadily. At the top (opposite Nohome Farm in the valley below) turn left onto a footpath heading north between a wood and the houses of Langley Vale. Follow this public footpath across Epsom Downs Racecourse to the Rubbing House pub near the finishing post.
You can save 600m by turning right through this gap, crossing the earth track used for exercising racecourses and following a faint grassy path sloping up the downs, slightly to the right. If you take this short cut (the Circular Walk route) keep ahead at the three-way footpath signpost in the trees and continue the directions at [•] below.
For the suggested route, ignore the gap and continue along the bridleway. In 250m ignore a track on the left signposted to Walton Road, but then immediately fork right onto another bridleway. This climbs gently through the trees, curves to the right and comes out onto Walton Downs.
Go across the earth track used for exercising racehorses and take the tarmac path up the slope ahead. This curves gently round to the right as it climbs steadily out of the valley for 500m, at first across open downland and then between trees. Where the downs come into view again on the right (directly above Nohome Farm in the valley below) turn left at a three-way footpath signpost.
[•] Head N along this broad track, signposted as a public footpath. You pass an isolated house on the left and later the ends of three residential culs-de-sac. After going across a dip follow the footpath across another exercise track and a short stretch of open downland, then along the left-hand side of some scrubland. The path comes out onto the back straight of Epsom Downs Racecourse, directly opposite the Grandstand.
Follow the path briefly round to the left and go through a gap in the rails to cross the racetrack at the designated crossing point. On the far side take the grassy path heading slightly to the left of the Grandstand, as indicated by a yellow footpath waymarker. This goes across a dip in the centre of the racecourse and leads to the Rubbing House pub in front of the finishing straight.
Cross the racetrack and turn right, towards the Grandstand. Follow the path across the B290 (Ashley Road) and past the Derby Arms. After crossing the B289 continue alongside Grandstand Road. In 350m turn right to cross the road and follow a path through a small wood towards a roundabout on the B290. Follow this road round a right-hand bend and turn left, crossing Tattenham Crescent to reach the station.
The shortest route to the station is on the path inside the racecourse parallel to the finishing straight, but the route described below takes in a fine viewpoint.
Cross the racetrack at the designated crossing point and turn right onto the tarmac path heading E, towards the back of the Grandstand. Follow the path round to the left and cross Ashley Road at the pedestrian lights in front of Derby Stables. Turn right and go along the broad tarmac path between the road and the stables towards another pub, the Derby Arms. Bear right across a patch of grass towards a roundabout and cross Downs Road carefully to its left.
On the other side turn right onto a grassy path and then follow it round to the left, skirting a golf green. As you continue past a long car park on Grandstand Road there are fine views off to the left across west London. At the end of the car park fork right to continue near the road, in 100m coming to a pair of small parking areas.
Turn right to cross the road and follow a path from the back of the second parking area across a golf fairway. Continue through a wood, then bear left across another fairway. Shortly before reaching a roundabout, turn half-left at a path crossing. Cross Old London Road and keep ahead through a car park containing the Downs Lunch Box kiosk, then across Tattenham Crescent. Unless you want to visit the Tattenham Corner Beefeater ahead, veer right towards the B290.
To complete the walk, follow the B290 round a right-hand bend and across a stretch of track where some shorter races start, taking care as there is no pavement. On the other side veer left across a patch of grass to join the other arm of Tattenham Crescent. The station is set back on the other side of this road, while the Silver Spoon Diner and other eateries can be found in the parade of shops up ahead.
Go through a gap in the trees onto Walton Downs and take a path sloping up to the right. At the top turn right onto a bridleway heading north-east. Follow this public bridleway across Epsom Downs Racecourse and the B290 to the Tattenham Corner Beefeater on Tattenham Crescent. Continue briefly along the B290 and turn left into the other arm of Tattenham Crescent to reach the station.
Turn right through this gap onto Walton Downs. Make your way around the rails guarding an earth track used for exercising racehorses and follow a faint grassy path sloping up the downs, slightly to the right. At the top go across another exercise track and turn right at a three-way footpath signpost onto a bridleway into the trees.
At a break in the trees after 75m, fork left at a path junction. The path soon merges with a broad track from the left and you join this to head NE for 600m. At the top of a slight incline you emerge onto the back straight of Epsom Downs Racecourse, with distant views of west London ahead. Go through a gap in the rails to cross the racetrack and follow a path all the way across the racecourse.
Before going out to the road, a short detour off to the right would take you to a memorial plaque on the inside rail for the suffragette Emily Davison15.
For some refreshment places before heading to the station (which is behind the grassy knoll off to your right), cross the B290 carefully to the right of the roundabout ahead. The Downs Lunch Box kiosk is in the car park and the Tattenham Corner Beefeater is off to the right, on the other side of Tattenham Crescent.
Take a bridleway heading north-northeast across a wooded part of Banstead Heath to The Avenue. Cross over and continue on a footpath just off to the right, leading to Station Approach Road. Turn left and follow the road round to the right for the station entrance.
Note that there are no more pubs or cafés on the route to Tadworth station.
Cross the main road carefully and briefly take the lane to the right of Mere Pond. At the sign for Withybed Corner bear right off the lane onto a signposted bridleway. Follow this broad straight ride NNE through the wood for 400m, ignoring crosspaths. On the far side keep ahead across a small clearing and go out between houses to a residential street.
Turn right briefly onto the street, cross over and turn half-left at a footpath signpost onto an enclosed tarmac path going gently downhill. At the bottom turn left onto a road and follow it round to the right at a junction, passing The Bridge restaurant in the old station building. The ramp leading down to Platform 1 (for trains to London) is just around the corner.
Cross the racetrack and turn left (away from the Grandstand), soon crossing Langley Vale Road on a bridge. Continue in the same direction all the way down Chalk Lane. At the end of this long road turn right into an alleyway (Madans Walk). Continue across Avenue Road and through Rosebery Park into Epsom town centre. Keep ahead across a series of major road junctions with the A24, then turn left into Station Approach.
Cross the racetrack at the designated crossing point and turn left onto the tarmac lane heading W, away from the Grandstand and passing a Holiday Inn on the left. After this crosses over Langley Vale Road turn half-right in front of the gate to The Paddock and follow a short enclosed path down a slope. At the end continue downhill on a long straight ‘access only’ road (Chalk Lane); there is no pavement but very little traffic.
In 1 km you pass the imposing entrance to The Durdans Stables on the left and shortly afterwards the (possibly closed) Chalk Lane Hotel. Another road joins from the left and you then pass The Amato, a good place for refreshments before the town centre. Where Chalk Lane comes to a T-junction with a main road at a bend, turn right into a broad alleyway (Madans Walk), signposted as a footpath.
Follow this footpath for 350m (crossing Avenue Road along the way), at which point you can veer right onto a parallel path inside Rosebery Park16. Go all the way through the park, passing a pond on your left. On the far side continue in the same direction on the B290 (Ashley Road) into the town centre, soon joining the busy A24 at traffic lights.
In 200m you come to another set of traffic lights with Epsom's High Street. On your left there are cafés and coffee shops in and around the Ashley Centre, plus several pubs in the market area around the prominent clock tower. To complete the walk, go straight across the lights into Waterloo Road. In 100m turn left into Station Approach to find the station (and more coffee shops) on the right. Trains to Victoria leave from Platforms 1 or 3; trains to Waterloo from Platform 4.
Cross the racetrack and turn right, towards the Grandstand. Follow the path across the B290 (Ashley Road) and past the Derby Arms. After crossing the B289 continue alongside Grandstand Road. In 700m turn half-left and cut across a corner of the golf course. Cross the B284 to the left of its junction with the B288 (Longdown Lane South). Head north alongside the B288 for 350m, then cross this road and go all the way down Bunbury Way to the station.
Note that there are no refreshment places near Epsom Downs station.
Keep ahead at a path crossing to continue alongside Grandstand Road, passing another pair of small parking areas after 250m. Shortly afterwards fork left onto a grassy path cutting across a couple of golf fairways to meet the B284 near its junction with the B288 (Longdown Lane South). Carefully cross the main road to the left of the junction and continue on a horse ride alongside the B288, steadily downhill and heading N.
In 350m there is a residential street off to the right (Bunbury Way), with a road sign to Epsom Downs station. Cross the B288 carefully and go down this twisting residential street. The station is at the far end, 500m away.
- Merstham Village Garden contains replica cast-iron rails and an information panel about the Croydon, Merstham and Godstone Railway, an extension to the “first public railway in the world” (but only for horse-drawn freight wagons), the Surrey Iron Railway. This section opened in 1805 and operated for about 30 years before being superseded by the main Brighton line.
- Quality Street was the name of a 1902 play by JM Barrie, and when its leading actors moved to the 15thC Old Forge at the end of this street it was renamed. The eponymous sweets were launched in the same year as the 1936 film of the play, and the street scene on the tin was probably inspired by this picturesque cul-de-sac.
- The North Downs Way runs for 246 km along the length of the North Downs (with two sections at its eastern end), from Farnham in Surrey to Dover in Kent.
- Gatton Park was built up by Sir Jeremiah Colman, of mustard fame. The house (which is only partly visible from the right of way) is now part of the Royal Alexandra & Albert School.
- The Millennium Stones are inscribed with extracts from poems which invite the traveller to “stop, rest and reflect” at this point on the Pilgrims' Way.
- Reigate Fort was part of a chain of forts built to defend London at the end of the 19thC, but the idea was soon abandoned. It is now owned by the National Trust.
- Memorial Glade contains an information panel and two memorial oak wing tips marking the crash site of an American ‘Flying Fortress’ in 1945.
- The Inglis Folly was donated to the borough in 1909 by a Lt Col Inglis. It was originally a drinking fountain for horses.
- The Old Pheasantry country house is run by a Children's Trust to provide a holiday home for disadvantaged children and special needs pupils.
- A levy on coal was brought in to help pay for the rebuilding of London after the Great Fire of 1666. It was originally collected in the Port of London, but with the growth of road and rail transport, these cast-iron Coal Tax Posts were erected in the 1860s to mark the taxation boundary. There are several on the walk route.
- Banstead Heath is one of four open areas which make up the Banstead Commons. A wily developer tried to buy up the land for house building in the late 19thC and was only stopped after a 13-year legal battle; as a result the Banstead Commons Conservators were established to preserve the area.
- Tadworth Windmill is said to be the tallest surviving post mill in England. It was built in the 18thC, although there have been much older mills on this site. It lost its sails in 1921 and was further damaged in World WarⅡ. For many years the Borough Council have been trying to persuade its private owner to carry out repairs.
- Walton Heath golf course has been the venue for several major golf tournaments, including the 1981 Ryder Cup.
- Langley Vale Centenary Wood is being created by the Woodland Trust from 640 acres of arable farmland purchased in 2014, one of their four World WarⅠ memorial sites in the UK. They are planting 200,000 native trees and the site will include a memorial area with open spaces and wildflower meadows.
- The commemorative plaque marks the spot where Emily Davison suffered a fatal injury when she threw herself under the King's horse in the 1913 Derby. It was erected in June 2013 to mark the centenary of this event, an important moment in the history of the suffragette movement.
- The 12 acres of land for Rosebery Park were donated to the council by Lord Rosebery, Prime Minister from 1894-95. He was a prominent figure in British horseracing and owned The Durdans, in Chalk Lane.
» Last updated: August 25, 2018