Westhumble and Ashcombe Wood

A circular walk from Boxhill and Westhumble Station in the village of Westhumble, passing through part of the Polesden Lacey Estate, Ranmore Common and Denbies Vineyard. The route follows part of the North Downs Way National Trail. This walk is published through a collaboration with the Surrey County Council.

Technical sheet
No. 8382392
A Surrey walk posted on 28/04/21 by Aurelie-21. Update : 28/04/21
Calculated time Calculated time: 3h05[?]
Distance Distance : 8.97km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 194m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 194m
Highest point Highest point : 194m
Lowest point Lowest point : 52m
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Surrey Hills
Location Location : Surrey
Starting point Starting point : N 51.25439° / W 0.32864°
Download : -

Description

(D/A) The walk starts from Boxhill and Westhumble rail station. (Note: if you are starting the walk at the Crabtree Lane car park, skip to the next section). Leave the station platforms and walk through the small car park to reach a T-junction with Westhumble Street. Turn left (taking care of traffic) and then join the pavement to cross the railway bridge. Immediately afterwards, fork right into Crabtree Lane (a lane marked as a no-through-road which sits between the flint arch on the left and the chapel on the right). Follow the quiet lane ahead, taking care of any occasional traffic. In the fields to the right you can see the River Mole meandering through Norbury Park and the Mole Gap. Norbury Park House is now privately owned but the majority of the estate is managed by Surrey Wildlife Trust and is criss-crossed by public rights of way. The estate provided the inspiration for the novel "Camilla" by Fanny Burney and legend has it that druids used the grove. It is reputed that whilst Keats was staying in the area he based part of his poem, Endymion on the legend of the druids. After climbing steadily for 1km, you will pass the Norbury Park Crabtree Lane car park on the right.

(1) (Note: if you are starting the walk here, exit the car park back onto the lane and turn right). Follow the lane steadily uphill for 400m. On the top of the hills to the left you can see the St Barnabus church spire at Ranmore which we will be passing later on this walk.

Keep straight ahead at the junction, passing Crabtree Cottages on the left. Immediately afterwards, ignore the footpath signed to the left. Simply keep ahead on the footpath which leads you past fields and through woodland for 670m. At the far edge of the woodland (just before you reach a stile ahead), you will come to a signed crossroads of paths.

(2) Turn left on the bridleway which leads you downhill through the woodland. At the staggered crossroads keep straight ahead, continuing downhill. At the bottom of the woodland you will come to a single gate ahead. Pass through this to enter a pasture (which may be holding sheep) and walk at 11 o'clock for just a short distance to reach a gate out to the road.

Turn left and then immediately right to join the track signed for Bagden Farm and a youth hostel. The track swings right to enter the Polesden Lacey Estate. Continue past the farmhouse and barns on the right, then stay on the main track which climbs for a further 120m. You will come to a pair of gates ahead. Pass through the smaller (right-hand) of these and keep in the same direction across the pasture, passing to the right of the large oak tree in the centre of the field. At the far side, a gate leads you back into woodland.

(3) Keep ahead along the track for just 50m, then fork left (passing through an old gateway). Stay on this main wide bridleway track which climbs steadily through the woodland. Some way along (700m), keep left to merge with another bridleway coming in from the right. 100m later you will reach a fork, take the right-hand branch.

Towards the top of the slope you will reach another fork (with cottages visible ahead). Keep right and follow the track which swings left, passing the cottages on the right. You will emerge out to a T-junction with Ranmore Road.

(4) Cross over the road with care and turn right along the grass verge for just 40m. Turn left onto the signed public footpath, an unmade track between hedgerows. Pass by an old gate and then turn sharp left to join the North Downs Way, a National Trail.

After just a few paces, go through the gate ahead to enter Steers Field. Take the right-hand of the two grass paths ahead, taking time to enjoy the views from this hillside, Denbies Hillside.

Denbies Hillside comprises chalk downland and woodland on the southern slope of the North Downs. The land is grazed to maintain it as an important habitat, with a diverse range of wildflowers that attracts a wide variety of butterfly species, including the distinctive Adonis Blue. To the right there are views over Westcott and Dorking. On the hills opposite, the tower at Leith Hill can just be made out in a clearing in the trees. At 967 feet, it is the highest point on the Greensand Ridge.

After passing a couple of cottages on the left you will come to a signed junction of paths (the right-hand branch being a link to the Greensand Way). Turn left, staying on the North Downs Way.

(5) Go through the kissing gate then walk diagonally right across the verge (at about 2 o'clock). Cross Ranmore Road with care and follow the side road opposite (signed to Bookham, Westhumble and the Parish Church). Follow the quiet road, taking care of any traffic, and it will lead you past the large parish church of St Barnabus on the right.

Keep straight ahead along the lane for a further 0.5km, ignoring any paths signed off to the left. Where the main road swings left, keep straight ahead past the white vehicle barrier to join a concrete track with Denbies Lodge on the right.

(6) Keep ahead for just a few paces and then take the first turning on the right (still part of the North Downs Way), a stone track between fields. Turn left at the next junction, still following the North Downs Way. Pass through the gate ahead to enter Denbies Wine Estate. You will now have glorious views ahead and across the vineyard slopes. Continue along the track, pass through a second gate and follow the track as it swings left. There are views ahead across the Mole Gap to Box Hill. The Mole Gap was formed by the River Mole cutting a north-south route through the chalk hills of the North Downs. The dramatic landscape has inspired writers, poets and artists, and Box Hill features in Jane Austen's novel "Emma." Follow the track meandering down through woodland to reach a signed crossroads of tracks.

(7) Turn right, leaving the North Downs Way to join the public bridleway. Follow the track which heads downhill. Bear right to join the concrete track (between vineyards) heading for the complex of farm estate buildings. (NOTE: Denbies is a working farm so please take care and keep dogs on a lead). A few paces before you reach the buildings ahead (the houses and farm buildings of Bradley Farm), you will see a signed crossroads of paths. If you wish to visit the Denbies Wine Estate visitor centre and cafe, keep ahead past the house and farm buildings, then turn left into the centre's car park. Otherwise, for the main route, turn sharp left at this crossroads to join the wide grass track which runs between the vineyards.

(8) Follow the wide grass track and, at the end of the vineyard, pass through the gate. Cross over the stone track and go ahead through a gate into a field. Cross the field at 1 o'clock to reach a kissing gate on the far side. Go through this gate and join the narrow footpath between gardens. You will eventually emerge out to a quiet residential road, Adlers Lane. Cross over and join the narrow footpath which continues ahead. This path leads you steadily uphill and out to a T-junction with the road, Chapel Lane.

(9) Turn right along the road (taking care) then fork right between the white fencing to join the raised pavement running along the right-hand side of the road. Further down, join the pavement immediately alongside the road and you will pass the end of Crabtree Lane on the left.

(Note: if you are parked in Crabtree Lane car park, turn left here and follow the lane for 1km to reach the car park on the right). Otherwise, keep straight ahead on the pavement which swings right and leads you over the railway bridge. You will come to Boxhill and Westhumble Station on the right where the walk began.(D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 52m - Boxhill and Westhumble rail station
1 : km 1.04 - alt. 121m - Car park
2 : km 2.14 - alt. 130m - Bridleway
3 : km 3.01 - alt. 99m - Woodland
4 : km 4.56 - alt. 192m - Common road
5 : km 5.01 - alt. 187m - Kissing gate
6 : km 5.93 - alt. 183m - Denbies Lodge
7 : km 7.45 - alt. 113m - Public bridleway
8 : km 7.95 - alt. 58m - Wide grass track
9 : km 8.74 - alt. 64m - Chapel Lane
D/A : km 8.97 - alt. 52m - Boxhill and Westhumble rail station

Useful Information

This is a hilly walk with several long uphill stretches: make sure you stop regularly to appreciate the impressive views! Parts of the route can get muddy so stout boots or shoes are recommended. You will need to negotiate many gates/kissing gates but there are no stiles or steps on route. A couple of the short fields you cross may be holding sheep so take particular care with dogs. There are a few sections of road walking along quiet lanes so take care of any traffic at these points. Allow 3 hours.

If you are looking for refreshments, there are a few options. There is a cycle shop cafe at Boxhill and Westhumble Station and The Stepping Stones pub is 300m from the station (turn right along Westhumble Street to reach this). Denbies Estate vineyard, about two thirds of the way round, has a restaurant and cafe which is open to the public. Ordnance Survey Map: Explorer 146 Dorking, Boxhill & Reigate. This walk follows public rights of way that cross private and National Trust land. Information is included for your interest, but please respect National Trust bylaws, 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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