Tadworth via Headley Heath and Box Hill Circular walk

Mixed open and wooded chalk downland with several viewpoints close to London

Length 11.9 miles / 19 km
Toughness 8 out of 10 (1300 feet/400m of ascent). Mainly gentle inclines over well drained paths, but several ups and downs on Headley Heath and Box Hill.

This walk over the National Trust's picturesque Headley Heath ("open heathland, woodland, and chalk downland") to Box Hill (also NT, noted viewpoint) feels very remote even though it starts within London Zone 6. The main walk returns via Headley Heath, the more strenuous longer option follows the North Downs Way, with views to the south. Drivers can park on the Heath, cutting out the walks to and from the station

The walk starts at Tadworth, just south of Epsom Downs, and crosses open downland (and under the M25) to Headley (early lunch pub).

At the start of Headley Heath, there are a couple of free car parks. The main part of the walk crosses the open heathland - with a mix of partly forested hills allowing nice views for most of the way. There is an option to visit White Hill (a steep climb) with unexpectedly fine views (also visited on the Boxhill Circular Walk). Both routes join to head south onto Juniper Top (more views), before following a forest track to the Box Hill viewpoint (NT cafe, car park), a perfect (if often crowded) picnic spot. Then its a short stetch of the North Downs Way along the edge of the escarpment to the late lunch pub.

After lunch is a choice. The main walk returns across Headley Heath along gentle forested paths, or there is a longer but much more strenuous option. There is a choice of pubs for tea about 20 mins walk before the station

A compass (or GPS) is recommended on this walk - its easy to loose your sense of direction on the heathland.

Walk Options
  • Via White Hill (Add 80m/250 feet of ascent, 0.7 miles/1km) Climb up towards Staine Street (a Roman road) with far reaching views.
  • You can follow the North Downs Way, rather than the minor road, between Box Hill and the lunch pub - strenuous!
  • Short cut to the lunch pub - misses out Box Hill and much ascent, but adds more of the heath.
  • Via North Downs Way afternoon. (Add 150m/450feet of ascent, 1.7mile/2.7km) This longer more strenuous option follows the North Downs way along, down and back up the edge of the north downs escarpment (there are no rights of way along the top of the hill), before re-crossing the M25 and heading back over gentle Corporation of London land to the 'tea' pub.
  • Drivers should park on Headley Heath and do a circular walk from there, or a longer circular walk via Tadworth (excluding the 2 legs to the station)

Tadworth is in London Travelcard Zone 6. 2 trains an hour (46 mins) from London Bridge or from Victoria changing at East Croydon.

Points of Interest
Lunch and Tea
  • The Cock Inn, Headley, 01372 377258. Open all day. Large pub with nice terrace. Mains from £10. This is the early lunch pub after 3.3km.
  • National Trust Box Hill. Two cafes, one take away, one sit down indoors, both busy, mostly coffee and cake.
  • The Tree on Box Hill, 01737 845966 (was The Box) Large 'modern' pub with an empahsis on food, beer garden, open all day. 2 course lunch £12 (£15 on Sunday). This is the late lunch pub after 12.4km.
  • Kiosk in the Headly Heath NT car park (tea, chips etc.)
  • The Blue Ball, large food pub on a village green, about 30 mins before the station. This is the recommended tea pub. Good food, esp. Sunday lunch. Has changed hands since our last visit.
  • The Bell 1.0km from the station. Old fashioned (not in a good way) small pub in a pretty woodland setting, about 20 mins walk from the station. Open from 5.30 weekdays, all day weekends.
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Out: (not a train station)

Back: (not a train station)

By Car

Start: KT20 5SP Directions

Map Walk This walk requires an OS map and a compass or GPS for navigation. You can print out OS maps using the link above.

Start walking Large print Using GPS data

National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234



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Walk Directions  

Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.

This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk