A walk from Ewell West rail station to Malden Manor rail station, following the course of the Hogsmill River and part of the London Loop long distance path. This walk is published through collaboration with Surrey County Council.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D) Leave Ewell West rail station via the ticket office and walk straight ahead between properties to reach the T-junction with the main road. Turn left, heading downhill and away from the train line. Where the road bends sharp left, use the pedestrian crossing to cross the road and then keep straight ahead on the tarmac path with the tall brick wall running on your right. A few paces along, turn right through the brick arched gateway to enter Bourne Hall Park.
Turn left, following the tarmac path with the wall running to your left. Across to your right you will see a building that looks like it might house a Thunderbird craft, Bourne Hall. In fact it houses a library, museum and conference rooms. Follow the path as it swings right to reach a T-junction, turn left and you will reach another junction with the pond ahead. This pond marks the location of the headspring source of the River Hogsmill, the course of which we will be following for the rest of the journey.
Turn left here (signed to Old Malden) and follow the path through the gate to exit the park. Cross over the road with care and turn right along the pavement, with more ponds visible both left and right. As you reach the traffic lights, turn left and join the tarmac path leading you into an area of parkland with a wall running on your right and the River Hogsmill running to your left. Soon you will reach an old mill building on your left, Upper Mill. Turn left here (over the river) and then turn immediately right to join the tarmac path with the river now running on your right.
Stay ahead with the riverside path as it leads you over a hump back bridge and then continues with a wire fence running on your left. Further along, the path will lead you onto a section of boardwalk above the river, which takes you through the railway tunnel. (NOTE: Mind your head on the low pipes at the far side).
(1) At the far side, turn right. Just a few paces later turn left, leaving the tarmac path and joining the grass and dirt path. Stay with the path nearest to the river on your left. After about 150 metres, you will see another stream merging in from the left, Green Lanes Stream. Simply keep ahead, with the combined streams still running on your left.
This stretch of the river is ideal for a bit of nature watching. Look out for water birds (we were lucky enough to spot a dipper and three herons on our journey) and you are likely to also have the company of the thriving local population of rose-ringed parakeets! The most common fish in the river is the three spined stickleback (which Springwatch fans will know as relatives of Spineless Simon). Keep your eyes peeled on the water surface too, as there is a chance you will spot a water vole or kingfisher patrolling the river.
You will come to a crossroads of paths with a bench ahead and stepping stones in the river on your left. This is a great place to pause and enjoy the river. The River Hogsmill is a chalk river and perhaps is most famous for the gunpowder mill complexes that prospered here in the 1700s and 1800s. The area has been popular with painters and the source of inspiration for many artists. This scene by the stepping stones was used by the pre-Raphaelite painter William Holman Hunt as the backdrop for his 1851 painting The Hireling Shepherd.
Do NOT cross the stepping stones, instead continue straight ahead with the river still on your left. You will come to the fencing of a water treatment works ahead, keep left at this fork passing the water treatment works on your right. About 150 metres later, turn left over the river footbridge and then turn immediately right, following a stone track with the river now on your right. The track leads you past some playing fields on the left to reach a T-junction with a tarmac path. Turn right over the bridge and then immediately left to continue with the river on the left once again.
As you reach the next river bridge, do NOT cross this. Instead keep ahead for a few paces on the tarmac path, then fork left (leaving the tarmac path) to continue on the riverside route. After 200 metres this path leads you to the pedestrian crossing on Ruxley Lane.
(2) Cross over the road and continue directly ahead on the riverside footpath, passing a beautiful line of weeping willows. Pass by the vehicle barrier and then continue along the riverside path for some distance - keeping straight ahead at the next crossroads (ignoring the bridge here), then passing a playground on your right and on to reach a second footbridge on your left.
Ignore this one as well, simply continue ahead with the river on your left. Further along you will emerge alongside another vehicle barrier to a junction with the main Kingston Road. Turn right along the pavement and follow it down to the pedestrian crossing where you will also see a bus stop.
Should you wish to end your journey at this point (you have walked 2.5 miles so far), you can catch a bus here to Kingston or Surbiton (on this side of the road) or back to Bourne Hall Park (on the far side of the road). Otherwise, to continue your walk, cross over Kingston Road via the pedestrian crossings.
(3) At the far side, turn left along the pavement (heading back the way you came), crossing two side roads. The pavement leads you over the river, immediately afterwards turn right through a staggered barrier to join a very narrow section of path with the river running on your right. The path takes you past a go-kart track and then a football pitch on your left, before emerging to a T-junction with a tarmac access lane. Turn right (crossing over the river), cross over the side road and keep directly ahead into Cromwell Road (passing the Hogsmill Toby Carvery on your left). At the crossroads, turn left into Grafton Road. Follow this road as it begins to climb, ignore the first left (Grafton Park Road) and, at the top of the hill, turn left into Royal Avenue. Pass between the houses, keep ahead along the short stretch of tarmac footpath and you will emerge alongside St Mary's Road. Keep straight ahead on the stone roadway, passing between more houses. As you reach a tarmac road, keep straight ahead. About 100 metres later, where the main road swings left, cross over with care and go straight ahead, passing alongside the vehicle barrier to join the footpath with garden fences running on the right. On the left are a beautiful section of hawthorn bushes. At the end of this path you will come to a road. Cross over with care, turn right along the pavement and, as the road bends right, turn left onto the access track signed to St Johns Church. After just a few paces this track leads you past St Johns Church on your left.
(4) Beyond the church, keep ahead on the track, passing through a wooden gateway. At the junction, turn left, following the main path with the churchyard on your left. At the bottom of the hill, the path continues with the river now once again on your left. Ignore the bridge, simply keep ahead with the river on your left. It is believed that somewhere along this stretch, another pre-Raphaelite artist, Sir John Everett Millais, painted the famous work Ophelia (held by Tate Britain), depicting the Shakespeare's tragic heroine from Hamlet. Follow the path under the railway bridge and, about 100 metres later, you will come to a crossroads with a tarmac path. The Hogsmill River Trail Part Two continues ahead (taking you on for the full 9 mile walk), but to finish Part One, it is simply a matter of making your way to Malden Manor rail station for your onward journey. To do this, turn right and follow the footpath and cycleway up to reach the end of a road. Continue ahead all the way to the end of the road, bear right and you will see Malden Manor rail station directly ahead, where this walk ends.(A)
D : km 0 - alt. 38m - Ewell West rail station
1 : km 0.98 - alt. 33m - Railway tunnel
2 : km 1.84 - alt. 29m - Road
3 : km 3.75 - alt. 23m - Pavement
4 : km 5.97 - alt. 31m - B284
A : km 6.8 - alt. 26m - Ewell West rail station
The walk is relatively flat, with just a couple of gentle slopes along the way. Whilst some of the paths are surfaced, several long stretches of the riverside route follow dirt paths and grass banks which can get very muddy, so good boots are a must. If you would like a longer walk, this route can be combined with Hogsmill River Trail Part Two, making a walk of 9 miles. If 4.5 miles is too much for you, the walk can be shortened to 2.5 miles by finishing at the bus stops on Kingston Road. There are no stiles or kissing gates, but the second half of the route (after Kingston Road) follows very narrow paths (meaning this stretch would not be suitable for a pushchair or disability buggy). Approximate time 2 hours.
There are toilets at Ewell West rail station at the start of the walk. In terms of refreshments there are several places along the river suitable for a picnic, or you will find the Hogsmill Toby Cavery on Cromwell Road, just after the Kingston Road crossing. Ordnance Survey Map: Explorer 61 London South. This walk follows public footpaths and bridleways which cross private and public land. Information is included for your interest, but please respect people's privacy, keep dogs under control and remember the Countryside Code.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
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