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Posts Tagged ‘dorking’

Following the Mole Valley in the company of kingfishers to the North Downs

Leatherhead to Dorking, Surrey

The Mole on its journey through Norbury Park

The Mole on its journey through Norbury Park

Somewhere I’ve visited before, but not for some time, and well worth another visit, Box Hill is so easily accessible from London that a return couldn’t come too soon. This time, I began at Leatherhead and followed the course of the River Mole upstream as it forges a path between the chalk hills of the North Downs. Despite this being an area I have explored before, there was plenty of interest en route – fleeting glimpses of one of our most spectacular birds, a cornucopia of fungi, and plenty of history. Once again, I took in in one of the finest viewpoints on the North Downs – despite the limited visibility on a damp and misty late autumn day.

Start: Leatherhead Station TQ163568

Finish: Dorking Main Station TQ171504

Length: 8¾ miles/4 hours

How to get there: I travelled with Southern on services running to and from London Victoria, but both stations are also served by South West Trains services from London Waterloo

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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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