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Archive for May, 2010

A World War Two airfield and The City of London in the Green Belt

London Loop, Stage 5 – Hamsey Green to Coulsdon South

On the London Loop near Riddlesdown

On the London Loop near Riddlesdown

As with the Capital Ring, some friends and me are gradually working our way around the London Loop (or London Outer Orbital Path to give it its full title), as previously discussed in this post. I was playing catch-up here, as my fellow walkers did this section back in winter when there was over a foot of snow on the ground. The contrast between the weather then and the beautifully warm, sunny day I chose couldn’t have been greater. This is a very scenic section full of interest, with some steep climbs leading to great views, floriferous meadows, shaded ancient woodlands, and a former Battle of Britain airfield on the route.

Start: Hamsey Green, on the very edge of the Borough of Croydon TQ350595

Finish: Coulsdon South Station TQ298590

Length: 6 miles/3 hours

How to get there: Hamsey Green can be reached by bus 403 from West Croydon to Warlingham. Or, alternatively, do as I did and catch the train: two possibilities here, to Whyteleafe (served by Southern services from London Victoria to Caterham), or to Upper Warlingham (served by Southern services from London Victoria/London Bridge to East Grinstead); both stations are roughly a 30 minute walk through pleasant woodlands to the start of this section of the Loop. Return is from Coulsdon South station, served by Southern services to London Bridge and London Victoria. There’s a ‘bail out’ point half way at The Fox, Coulsdon Common, from where it’s possible to catch a 404 or 466 bus back to Croydon.

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Shady woodlands and stunning views

Dorking to Gomshall, Surrey

Bluebells in Old Simms Copse, Hackhurst Downs

Bluebells in Old Simms Copse, Hackhurst Downs

There’s nothing more uplifting (or quintessentially English) than the azure carpet of a mass of bluebells in the dappled shade of a spring woodland. Timing is of the essence though, as flowering is at its best for a period of only about two weeks. This year, after the long hard winter, the bluebells arrived later than usual, and this walk had to be postponed for a couple of weeks to allow nature to catch up. But it was worth the wait.

Start: Dorking (Main) Station TQ170504

Finish: Gomshall Station TQ089478

Length: 8 miles/4-4½ hours

How to get there: Dorking’s a lucky town, having three railways stations. Two (Dorking West and Dorking Deepdene) are on the North Downs Line between Redhill and Guildford, served (infrequently on a Sunday, it has to be said) by First Great Western.  The walk starts at Dorking (Main) however, served by both Southern (services from London Victoria) and South West Trains (services from London Waterloo) and ends at Gomshall from where it is possible to return to Dorking West or Deepdene, the latter being 5 minutes walk from Dorking (Main). Plan carefully though: trains from Gomshall are 2-hourly on a Sunday.

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