Walk The Chalk

This walk takes you along the dramatic scarp slope of the North Downs.

Technical sheet
No. 7522946
A Surrey walk posted on 07/04/21 by Surrey Hills AONB. Update : 07/04/21
Calculated time Calculated time: 4h00[?]
Distance Distance : 11.55km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 242m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 198m
Highest point Highest point : 221m
Lowest point Lowest point : 49m
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : No
Walking Walking
Area Area : Surrey Hills
Location Location : Surrey
Starting point Starting point : N 51.240718° / W 0.324206°
Arrival Arrival : N 51.219548° / W 0.441891°
Download : -

Description

This walk starts at the Pay & Display Car Park at Dorking railway station (located at the edge of the car park, opposite the Lincoln Arms).

(D) Walk down the subway and up the right hand steps at the end, then turn left and walk towards the traffic lights. At the traffic lights, turn left and walk up Ashcombe Road (A2003), keeping Ashcombe School on your left.

(1) Continue along Ashcombe Road (crossing over Chalkpit Lane) until you reach a T-junction. (Dorking West railway station is to your left, just past St Martin’s C of E Primary School. Note: there is no parking at Dorking West – street parking may be possible.) At the T-junction, cross over the road and turn right. (This is Ranmore Road, although it is not signed here.) Continue up the road, passing St Martin’s School on your left, and then turn left by a speed limit sign onto a public footpath that skirts the school grounds. (You will pass by a bank with yew and box trees growing on it – sure signs that there is chalk below your feet.)

(2) Turn left by the National Trust sign onto another path, leading to Denbies Hillside. Follow the path until you reach a track and turn left. (This is an old carriage road built in the 1890s by William Joseph Denison, who owned Denbies House and Estate.) Ignore any paths to the left and right and carry on along the track for the next two miles.

(3) The track ends at a T-junction. Turn right onto the path, which runs along the foot of the North Downs. (On your left this path leads downhill to Landbarn Farm where the National Trust Surrey Hills North Downs West Team is based.) Continue straight on for a mile, ignoring all paths to the left and right. Where the switchback path joins from the right, go right and follow this up the hill, with a bank of yew trees on your left. Near the top of the hill is ‘God’s seat’. Stop here for a break and admire the stunning view.

(4) Turn left onto the North Downs Way (NDW) and follow this until you meet a road (White Down Lane). Turn right onto the road, and then almost immediately turn left off the road to rejoin the NDW. Continue following the NDW (you will soon see another National Trust sign; you are now on Blatchford Down). Continue past the Second World War pillbox on your right. At the National Trust information panel cross over the public bridleway and continue following the NDW.

(5) When you meet an ancient byway, known as Beggars Lane, cross over and continue straight on. At the first kissing gate on your left, turn left, through the woodland and follow the public footpath signs diagonally across the hillside. (You are now leaving the NDW and entering Hackhurst Downs. You will pass juniper trees that have been enclosed with tree guards to protect them from grazing animals.) Go through a gate and onto National Trust land, and carry on following the public footpath diagonally down the hill.

(6) Go through another gate and you will see the picturesque Colekitchen Farm to your right. Follow the path downhill, bearing right where it splits in two (ignore the gate on your right). (You will pass a huge ancient ash tree on your left and some tall redwoods.) Open pasture appears, and a substantial ditch and bank now runs along the left-hand side of the path.

(7) Go through two kissing gates, crossing over a track that leads to Churchfield Farm, part of the Wotton Estate. The path sinks between steep banks and meets a road called Colekitchen Lane. Turn left and walk along this ancient sunken land until you meet another road, which is the A25. (Note the badger setts along the bank as you pass, but also look out for traffic.)

(8) When you meet the A25, turn left and walk along this main road through Gomshall, where you will find a number of pubs, restaurants and shops. Carry on until you reach Station Approach on your left (there is a bus stop here where you can catch a bus back to Dorking). This will take you to Gomshall railway station and the end of the walk. (Note: there is some car parking here.)(A)

Waypoints :
D : km 0 - alt. 50m - Dorking railway station
1 : km 1.2 - alt. 73m - Ranmore Road
2 : km 1.58 - alt. 87m - National Trust sign
3 : km 4.12 - alt. 104m - T-junction
4 : km 6.4 - alt. 195m - North Downs Way
5 : km 9.22 - alt. 206m - Beggars Lane
6 : km 9.63 - alt. 182m - Gate
7 : km 10.23 - alt. 110m - Kissing gate
8 : km 10.96 - alt. 81m - A25
A : km 11.55 - alt. 96m - Gomshall railway station

Useful Information

The walk starts at Dorking Railway Station, where there is a pay and display car park, grid ref: TQ170504. It finishes at Gomshall Railway Station, where there is limited car parking, grid ref: TQ089478.

This 7-mile, 11km walk takes you through the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This is one of England’s finest landscapes, one of 36 nationally protected landscapes equal in status and protection to a National Park. For more information, please visit www.surreyhills.org

Part of the route runs along the North Downs Way. One of 15 National Trails in England and Wales, the North Downs Way offers 153 miles of spectacular downland walking from Farnham to Dover. For more information, please visit www.national trail.co.uk/northdowns or telephone 01622 221525

Part of the route runs through Hackhurst Downs, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Local Nature Reserve, managed by The Surrey Wildlife Trust. Surrey Wildlife Trust’s mission is to protect and regenerate Surrey’s wildlife. For more information, please visit www.surreywildlifetrust.org or telephone 01483 795440

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

The scenery is spectacular and the area rich in wildlife. The views are outstanding – viewpoints along the North Downs were strategically important during the Second World War, which is why so many pillboxes were built here.
The first farmers in this area removed much of the original woodland cover to create fields for their crops and livestock. Their grazing animals prevented the regrowth of trees and coarse vegetation, which allowed the special wildlife habitat known as chalk grassland to develop and thrive.
Chalk grassland has always depended on continued active management for its survival, which is why the National Trust and the Surrey Wildlife Trust use cattle and sheep to control the growth of vegetation.
As a result, the chalk slopes are rich in orchids and chalk-loving butterflies such as Adonis and Chalkhill blues, Silver-spotted skippers and Marbled whites.
Much of the area has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest in recognition of this special habitat and the walk lies within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.