Horizon horses

Tadworth Circular

20-Jan-18 • moontiger on Flickr

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Through a tunnel

Tadworth Circular

20-Jan-18 • moontiger on Flickr

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Horses and church

Tadworth Circular

20-Jan-18 • moontiger on Flickr

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Churchyard Yew

Tadworth Circular

20-Jan-18 • moontiger on Flickr

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A mist descends

Tadworth Circular

20-Jan-18 • moontiger on Flickr

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Pond on the heath

Tadworth Circular

20-Jan-18 • moontiger on Flickr

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Trees on the heath

Tadworth Circular

20-Jan-18 • moontiger on Flickr

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Tadworth via Headley Heath and Box Hill Circular walk

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


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Updated: Wed, 26-Jun-19

Date # Post
Wed, 12-Jun-19 10

Wednesday Walk Tadworth Circular, via Box Hill & Headley Heath

Tadworth Circular, via Box Hill & Headley Heath T=swc.139
Length: 11.9 miles (19km) there is a short option of 8.8 miles (14km)
Toughness: 8 out of 10: mainly gentle inclines but some steep ups and downs

"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." You can lengthen the walk by going via White Hill (Add 80m/250 feet of ascent, 0.7 miles/1km), a climb up towards Staine Street (a Roman road) with far reaching views.

Trains: 9.47 Caterham , Tattenham Corner train from London Bridge (10.02 East Croydon) to Tadworth, arriving 10.38. Tadworth station is within zone 6: use Oyster, contactless etc
Return trains are xx13 & xx43.

Lunch is The Tree, reached after 7.7 miles (12.4km), a large reasonably efficient pub. As far as I remember, there is not a convenient picnic spot by the pub, so have your sandwiches before you reach the main road, or carry on past the pub for around 10 minutes.

Tea is the "Blue Ball, a glorious place with a glassed in terrace and garden which does proper tea in pots"
Do i get the train from London Bridge to Tadworth?
Yes but if you're buying a ticket then opt for Tattenham Corner to keep the options open, same price. And...in Walton on the Hill just a stroll from the Blue Ball is Pistols Kitchen Pie Shed...worth a look

Who is perfectly imperfect?
Tattenham corner is there to help with the train destination boards.
"...about 10..." I was told on the Thursday evening walk, with some walking a map led shortcut before lunch because of a fear of rain, and some also taking a bus after lunch to cut out a substantial bit due to actual rain.
10 rainy
Sat, 18-Aug-18 27

Saturday Walk - Tadworth via Headley Heath Circular - Hopefullly [heather] (part two)

Length: 14km (8.8 miles) or 19km (11.9 miles)
Toughness: 8 out of 10: mainly gentle inclines but some steep ups and downs

9.47 train from London Bridge (10.02 East Croydon) to Tadworth, arriving 10.38

Tadworth station is within zone 6: use Oyster, contactless etc

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

I had hoped to offer you a sure-fire heather spectacular this week, but South Western Railway has the monopoly on those and at time of writing they are still negotiating with the RMT, with the possibility of Saturday strike action.

But then - aha! - I thought of a walk that goes over heathland and is served by Southern trains (Ah! Ever reliable Southern!). The star attraction here is Headley Heath, run by the NT, but whether it is heathery heathland or the other kind, or how much of a mix of both, we will have to find out. Whatever, this is a nice wild walk over interesting terrain and one, moreover, that only seems to have been done by the SWC in autumn or winter before. So let's see what it is like in summer.

There is a shorter option - 8.8 miles - that stays more on the heathland and gets to the suggested lunch pub, The Tree after 4.6 miles (if my maths is correct: this info could be supplied in walk document...). The main walk makes a longer loop onto Box Hill - up via Juniper Top and coming up to the NT Box Hill tea room, where you could have a light lunch. It then works its way back to the Tree, reaching it 12.4km (7.7 miles) after leaving Tadworth.

There are also a couple of minor extensions you can do if on the main walk - via White Hill (+1.7 miles but also 250 feet of ascent) in the morning or along the North Downs Way after lunch (+1.7 miles, an extra 450 feet of ascent). See the walk directions for details.

Tea is at a pub 20 minutes walk from Tadworth station.

Trains back are at 13 and 43 past the hour. T=3.139
I have been eyeing the Milford to Haselmere walk for awhile. It would be wonderful to do it with the club. RMT permitting.
Hi guys

I am attending this walk as I am getting a break from the builders. Like to do the full main walk and possible extension and care to join me? Yes hopefully some heather too.

For those who wish to take the short cut in the morning, if you take 10:47 train an hour later, with any luck, you will arrive at the pub at similar time to the group which did the long version via Boxhill in the morning. I am told by the ‘official’ source, more heather will be seen with the short cut than the long version.
Thanks for the tip re short cut. A few of us plan to take the 10:47 train.
“Sources close to the walk poster” say that there MAY (could possibly, might plausibly be expected to be) more heather in the short cut as it stays on the heartland while the main route goes into the non heathy Box Hill.
27 on this walk, a number reached after complicated calculations and the collating of various reports from those on the specified train, the one an hour later, the one in between etc. The various factions did manage to meet and mix, so that was good. All possible variations and options of the walk also got a thorough airing.

There was no heather. Just a tiny patch. So it was the other sort of heath after all. Only five butterflies all day. Most of the downland flowers were over (though there was a good showing of clustered bellflower on Juniper Top). The weather was mostly grey, with even a feeling at times that it might rain. It did not, but it felt a bit like summer was over despite the sticky humidity.

In places the directions could definitely do with some TLC. The Tree proved an efficient lunch pub with big portions even of the vegetarian dishes, which made a nice change. People enjoyed their drink at the Bell but yours truly would like to lodge a protest at this being described as “the tea pub” as it does not do hot drinks. My companion and I (as the restaurant reviews say) backtracked 300 metres to the Blue Ball, a glorious place with a glassed in terrace and garden which does proper tea in pots and serves nice deserts. Mention this as a tea option in the walk directions, please, and don’t assume everyone finds 1970 time warp boozers charming.

Agree with tea pub feedback. Thought I'd already changed it. Will do.
The reccomended tea pub is, I see, changed on the home page but not in the pdf. The latter proved influential yesterday, with walkers scorching my suggestion that we stop at the Blue Ball by waving paper instructions at me and saying the Bell was the “official” tea stop.
Indeed, an enjoyable day with varied company thanks to the variations different groups chose. I finished the walk at Mickleham to get the bus home and avoid the SWR strike had to run down White Hill to catch the 1624 after dallying in the lunch pub, but this was a good way of adding the morning short cut and extension routes to the main walk.
I've suggested a couple of edits to the directions on the walk comments page.
Sat, 20-Jan-18 17

Saturday Walk – Headley Heath & the North Downs (Tadworth Circular)

Extra Walk 139a – Tadworth Circular (short walk)
Length: 14¼ km (8.9 miles). Toughness: About 3/10

10:20 Tattenham Corner train from London Bridge (Norwood Jct 10:33, East Croydon 10:37, etc), arriving Tadworth at 11:06. Tadworth is in TfL Zone 6 so you can use Oyster, contactless or a Travelcard.

Trains back from Tadworth are at xx:22 & xx:52 (4 minutes earlier from Tattenham Corner: see below). Change at East Croydon for Clapham Jct or Victoria.

The longest version of this walk includes some stiff climbs up White Hill and through Box Hill Country Park – and no-one will stop anyone who wants to take these on – but this shorter version cutting across Headley Heath seems like a more suitable walk for winter. Lunch is at a large and not usually too crowded pub on Boxhill Road, The Tree; on the short walk you should get there just before 1pm.

You also have some options for extending this walk after lunch. The walk notes describe a longer and hillier alternative route along the North Downs Way and across Banstead Heath, making a total walk of about 17 km (5/10). In addition, after your tea stop* in Walton-on-the-Hill you could substitute one of the endings of the Merstham to Tattenham Corner Walk, finishing with fine views of the London skyline from Epsom Downs Racecourse (an extra 3-4½ km).

* The walk notes suggest a couple of pubs in this village but you could also check out the Grey Dove Village Café (01737-814171) in the parade of shops overlooking Mere Pond, serving home-made cakes, pastries and cream teas until about 4.30pm.

You'll need to download the walk directions from the Tadworth Circular Walk page. T=swc.139.a
Is it possible to join the group on the train at East Croydon for this walk? And can I bring my dog with me?
Grace: Yes. See the 'FAQ' page on our website.
Brill! Would it be possible to meet the group at Tadworth station then? I’ll be getting on the train at East Croydon but just in case I can’t find you would be great to meet there.
It is unlikely that you will find everyone sat together on the train, but people will gather on the arrival platform before setting off on the walk. They should be easy to spot.
Thank you for the info. Something came up so I won't be able to make it tomorrow, but will try to do another walk very soon.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Since when are the comments policed?!

Explanation please!
17 people plus Bear the larger than life but gentle puppy! Weather was drizzly. Most of us did the short walk. I think only 2 went on the long option. The Tree pub easily accommodated us for foods and/or drinks at lunch time where we were joined by the "walks inspector". Despite his kind offer of a lift back to civilisation from the pub, the thought of yet more mud and drizzle was just too tempting and so all ventured on. At Walton on the Hill, the Grey Dove cafe was closed but a few went into the pub for tea while others headed straight for the station. A nice day out.
A great day out, great walk, lovely people and lovely doggie.. see you all again soon, Dee
Two did indeed walk the Box Hill extension in the morning, didn't see anyone else doing it. We had a very nice lunch in the small NT cafe there. The mist really thickened and there were no views at all at the viewpoint. We carried on and did the same route as the main group in the afternoon, getting to Tadworth in the descending gloom and catching the 5.22pm train. It was a very good day out, atmospheric and full of small delights such as the raindrops decorating the birch trees.
Sat, 04-Feb-17 30

Saturday walk - Box Hill from the back

SWC walk 139 - Tadworth via Headley Heath and Box Hill
Length: 8.8 miles (14km) or 11.9 miles (19 km)
Toughness: 6 out 10: "mainly gentle inclines", but some not so gentle, presumably

9.50 train from London Bridge (10.07 East Croydon) to Tadworth, arriving 10.36.

If for any reason this train is cancelled, get the 10.20.

Tadworth is in London Transport Zone 6 so you can use Oyster or Freedom Passes

For walk directions click here.

I have had a special request for this walk, which approaches Box Hill from an unusual angle - basically from behind, crossing heaths and woodland until it gets to the famous viewpoint. Some of this territory may already be familiar to regular walkers, but some will hopefully not be

There is a shorter option - the 8.8 mile version - or a more strenuous 11.9 mile main walk. Depending on which you do, it is 4.6 miles or 7.7 miles to the suggested lunch pub in the village of Box Hill (not to be confused with the summit of Box Hill, which is a different place entirely, though that is also visited on the main walk).

On the 11.9 mile version the National Trust cafes near the summit of Box Hill are also a light lunch option. So, as far as I can see, is the Smith and Western restaurant ("Classic American food served in a venue decorated with hay bales, saddles and a sheriff's jail") midway between the cafes and the pub, though as the walk directions do not mention this it may require a short diversion off the route.

For the tiger-types there is even a possible 1.7 mile extension to the main walk in the afternoon.

Tea is at the Bell on Walton Hill, 10 minutes from Tadworth station.

Trains back are at 22 and 52 past.

The Smith & Western is a rather "nice" place: very family orientated and almost certainly "walking boots off".
There's an interesting place just beside the Cock Inn pub at Headley; it's the Headley Village Stores. Loads of hot and cold drinks and snacks,plus they'll make a sandwich to your taste
30 on this walk, on yet another mainly sunny Saturday (after early cloud cleared). So many people did so many different things that a unified narrative of the day is impossible, but I think all options were done short, main, both extensions. At least some did the full 14.3 miles possible.

It was a lovely day, lots of song thrushes were singing for the first time this year and it was fascinating to discover that the vast expanses of Headley Heath were so accessible from Tadworth station. Quite a lot of people seem to have had lunch in The Tree and at least five of us had tea at the mobile kiosk on Headley Heath, which was towed away by its owner after we had finished with it.

I personally think the directions are wrong to suggest The Bell as the tea pub a very basic old style boozer, despite its romantic location. The Blue Ball slightly earlier would have been better. But a convenience store just beyond Tadworth station saved the day and provided my second cuppa.

Thanks to J&J for the evening's entertainment....
Sun, 04-Oct-15 3

Sunday Second Walk - Surrey heathlands

Extra Walk 139, Tadworth Circular, via Box Hill
Length: 20.4km (12.7 miles) Toughness: 8/10 (perhaps less)

09:54 Tattenham Corner train from London Bridge (East Croydon 10:24), arriving Tadworth at 10:53.
Or 10:02 Littlehampton train from Victoria (Clapham Junction 10:08), changing at East Croydon (arr 10:17, dep 10:24) to arrive at Tadworth at 10:53.

The train from London Bridge makes numerous stops (18 in all) at south London and north Surrey suburban stations, so you might be able to pick it up en route if you live in that area.

Return trains to London Bridge are at xx:18 and xx:48 (journey time 62 minutes). Change at Purley or East Croydon for Victoria.

This walk over the National Trust’s picturesque Headley Heath to Box Hill (also NT) feels very remote even though it starts and ends in London’s Travelcard Zone 6. In the afternoon the main walk returns via the common, while a more strenuous longer option, adding 1 mile to the distance, follows the North Downs Way for a while, with splendid views southwards. There’s also an optional ascent of White Hill in the morning, offering more fine views.

After reaching Box Hill you could shorten the walk to about 7 miles in total by cutting out the return leg and dropping down to Box Hill and Westhumble station at the foot of Box Hill. This is outside the Zone 6 boundary and is on a completely different line, so you would need to buy a separate ticket if you do this.

The early lunch pub is The Cock Inn (01372 377258) in Headley, but most walkers will prefer to get a bit more distance under their belts before stopping at The Tree on Box Hill (01737 845966). The suggested tea stop is a small country pub, The Bell (aka ‘The Rat’), about 15 minutes’ walk from Tadworth station.

The Walk Directions consist only of a marked route on an OS map, but this is also available as a GPS route. You must take a map and compass. T=swc.139
Just 3 SWC stalwarts on this attractive walk in the Surrey Hills one of whom caught a later train and eventually met up with the two others at the Tree on Box Hill.Perfect walking in warm and sunny weather and the hills and woods looked glorious in the autumn sun. A tricky walk to navigate even with a map or GPS as there is a multiplicity of paths in some areas and even when you think you are on the right track you either later find out you should have been on a hidden adjacent path or the route file is taking you across terrain where there is no clear way ahead. It would be a major task to do a full write up of this complex walk but unless there are some directions to accompany each map then it is unlikely to attract many SWC walkers which would be a pity as it has much to recommend it.
All three of us had a final drink in the woodland garden at the "Rat" before the short walk to the station.
Just 1 more. Attempted to join you for the afternoon. Joanna and I had lunch at the Tree on Box Hill and then I did an approximation to the morning route in reverse. Given its within Zone 6 and very attractive it is worth a writing up may be we need to revise the GPS route a bit to make it possible to describe.
Did a slight variation of the walk, see http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=10995054 only thing is I wasn't sure if the GPS route over Walton Heath is actually a public right of way (it didn't look like it was), so I chose the safe and slightly longer option around the golf club.
Sun, 16-Jun-13 8 Tadworth Circular, via Box Hill & Headley Heath
Wed, 30-May-12 Tadworth Circular, via Box Hill & Headley Heath