Saturday 19th May 2012
Circular walk of 5-6 miles
Toilets: Box Hill Visitor Centre; Outside Ryka’s Cafe, Burford Bridge; Stepping Stones pub, Westhumble Street.
The weather has been appalling recently, so we took advantage of this weekend’s improvements to get out into the open air. We were originally going to do some of the Thames Path, but having seen the photos on this blog post, it seemed like a bit of a risk. Rather than potentially dealing with a flooded river path, we decided to walk up a hill instead, and took the train from Victoria to Boxhill and Westhumble.
We headed south-west along a path between some houses, before turning left onto a trackway that forms part of the North Downs Way, and going underneath the railway.
After crossing a big, scary road, we found ourselves heading towards the famous stepping stones.
We then undertook the tiring climb up Box Hill, which is very steep and has steps to help you, although it’s sometimes easier to just walk up the sloping parts at the edge. The views got better and better as we ascended, and it was a relief to reach the top and sit at the popular viewpoint for lunch. It wasn’t as gloomy as my photo would imply.
We continued heading east along the ridge, before doing a big left turn towards what’s marked on the map as Ashurst Rough. The woods were beautifully quiet and peaceful, and also full of strange trees.
We emerged into a clearing called Juniper Top, from which we had some lovely views.
We turned left a long a pathway and found ourselves going uphill again, with good views of the rather grand Juniper Hall, a country house converted into a field studies centre.
On the road back to the station, we passed Ryka’s cafe, near the Burford Bridge Hotel. Ryka’s is a biker cafe and the food didn’t look too appealing, but there were public toilets outside.
It was then time to pop into the Stepping Stones pub for a quick drink. It looks like it’s under new management, and there was a sign outside saying that walkers are welcome to come in, use the toilets, and refill water bottles.
It was an absolutely gorgeous walk. Let’s hope the rain holds off, and that we can go for lots more walks over the summer.