23rd February 2013
|OUR WALK LANDSCAPE HEADLEY BOX HILL THANK YOU MAPPING FEEDBACK READ ME|
Our walk of almost twelve miles - or was it 10.5 miles? - was ably led by Nick, who found the way on "auto-pilot". We started in Epsom, just out of the reach of Boris's Transport for London, and enjoyed the opportunity to get some good exercise in these cold winter months. The temperature was only a degree or so above freezing and there were a few gentle wisps of snow, but we soon got warmed up. Our exercise was complemented by some nice views in most directions and a bit of a delve into British history.
I have divided the description of our walk into the following sections and I have also added a link to a hopefully useful "Read-me" page.
We started our walk in the former spa town of Epsom, and after escaping the hectic Saturday morning activity, soon reached Lord Roseberry's former mansion. Epsom Racecourse and Epsom Downs were next on our agenda. Then it was "cross-country" to Headley. There were studs and horses everywhere - as befits the countryside around Epsom. Headley's landmark was a rather gaunt looking Victorian church, but the pub next door gave us a good warm-up. Then it was more "cross-country" to the National Trust land of Box Hill. Here we had a steep climb to Juniper Top, and were rewarded with distant views. We stayed more-or-less on the level as far as the Box Hill monument and viewpoint. Then, after a reasonably quick but scenic descent and a visit to the Bikers' Cafe (hygiene rating at an excellent 5) we eventually reached Box Hill & West Humble Station for the journey back to the Metropolis.
Regarding distance, Nick's estimates are - and I quote him - as follows.
Ups and downs characterised our walk, as one would expect on the North Downs. Start and end points were at about 165 and 177 feet above mean sea level respectively, and formed a sort of base line. The highest point was at about 668 feet in the Box Hill massif, between Juniper Top and the Box Hill Memorial viewpoint. Most climbs and descents were quite gentle, except for the concentrated steep climb of about 300 feet to reach Juniper Top. All in all, typical undulating North Downs country!
Now that you have an idea about the route, the history and the terrain, it's time to gather some visual impressions. Although the sun was hiding somewhat, I hope these pictures will give you some nice views of our walk.
It was good that the start of the walk was not a bad omen for the rest of the day! So what did we experience?
Well, Epsom station seems to have been recently modernised with its entrance hall built into a block of flats of unflattering appearance; the station entrance hall exudes a tiled monotony reminiscent of a super-loo - perhaps something to do with the medicinal use for Epsom Salts for which Epsom is famous(?). (Incidentally, a housing estate now covers the site of the original springs!) However, all is not lost, for Epsom still has some nice traditional buildings.
Horses and stud farms are very much the flavour all the way to Headley. Lord Roseberry, who owned "The Durdans", had a winning horse at the Derby. The Derby, named after the 12th Earl of Derby, is of course still held nearby at the Epsom Racecourse. Epsom Racecourse is very quiet today, but its associated buildings, old and modern, testify to the busy race meetings that are held annually and attract royalty. The Epsom Downs are adjacent to the racecourse and have a viewpoint from which we can look towards central London.
On this half of the walk we are definitely getting further from the tentacles of the Capital and into the "Surrey Outback". There are many wooded paths and descents and climbs, including the 300ft rise to Juniper top, the gateway to the Box Hill massif. Why Box? Well, there are lots of Box trees on that massif. Box is a hard wood that apparently does not float! Remember your first - wooden - school ruler? Not the one you got slapped with. Enough of looking back to your formative years, we have some more nice views ahead. So enjoy the present!
What a nice invigorating winter walk! Thanks be to Nick for steering us all on auto-pilot through some of the attractive countryside on London's doorstep. It will be an interesting challenge to repeat the walk, armed with a GPS, to check the distance. Is it 10.5 miles, or is it 12 miles? But what's in a difference of 1.5 miles? A great time was had by all, and of course, we all look forward to more of the same - or at least very similar.
ere are the files, named "epsombox" with the appropriate extension, each of the first three of which,
can be put into an appropriate GPS system or uploaded to the following web site:
http://www.bikehike.co.uk for viewing (superimposed on an OS or Google map) and for analysis.
file, while not "uploadable", is, nevertheless, useful for making pretty distance and height plots of your route - just use the earth's mean radius if you want actual, as opposed to relative, distances at mean sea level!
For the appropriate file ( ".gpx", ".kml", ".tcx", ".txt" ) do a "right mouse click" and then click on "Save Target As" to save the file in your chosen directory on your machine. You may need to wait just a few seconds for things to happen.
In the context of these mapping files, please do not forget the disclaimer regarding any use you might wish to make of the content on, or available via, this web site. Thankyou!
Your comments are always appreciated! It's always nice to know that my endeavours - modest though they may be - do not go unnoticed! Importantly, of course, you urge me to greater efforts on behalf of CLOG! Again,
Many Thanks for your comments, and of course, also for your company on the walk if you were fortunate enough to join us!
Post Scriptum: I have not put the names to your individual comments which you will see below.
"I was on the walk last Saturday and just wanted to thank you very much for the lovely photos and report of the day which you have sent."
CLOG Member, February 25
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"Thank you, Eric."
CLOG Member, February 25
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"Thanks for that link Eric. The trace of the route is particularly useful as it was a lovely walk which I'd like to try myself - one day when I'm brave!"
CLOG Member, February 25
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"Thank you so much. This must have taken ages to put together."
CLOG Member, February 26
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"... and not forgetting that I, too, am appreciative of the photos and narrative !"
CLOG Member, February 27