OS Explorer Map – Dorking, Box Hill & Reigate 146
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A view that stretches for 26 miles. That is a pretty impressive statement, one that can only really be confirmed if you have seen and marvelled at it yourself. Aged 11, sat on Boxhill, I spent a whole hour watching the planes at Gatwick take off with hypnotic regularity whilst basking in the sun surrounded by wild flowers and butterflies. An affection for the beautiful British countryside started that day!
Box Hill on a clear day is glorious and very much worth the steep climb to the viewpoint. There are plenty of routes to investigate and many pre-exsisting trails, this one covers bits of each, so if you do want to explore it further ensure you take a map and compass to keep yourself on track. This walk is full of steep climbs and descensions, so a good strudy pair of walking boots should be worn on this venture. Also remember to take some change as parking is pay and display, £3.50 per day.
The National Trust provides fantastic facilities including a café offering food, gifts, toilets and an interactive learning section. Once the walk is complete I like to reward myself with one of their delicious afternoon teas.
It is at the café that you will start and follow the signs up to Salomon’s Memorial which is the main viewing platform. From this point you can see from Dorking right across to the South Downs. If it is very clear you will be lucky enough to see Devil’s Dyke based in Sussex. It really is spectacular so make sure you have that camera to hand! You may recognise a lot of the landscape if you watched a lot of last years London 2012 Olympics as it was used as part of the route for the cycling road race events.
Next to this viewpoint are some steps down to a track, head right and keep going until you pass through a wooded area and emerge in to a clearing. As you look out to your left you will see 12 large concrete obelisks by the bank of the River Mole, walk down the hill in the direction of them. Follow the signs for the North Downs Way through the trees and down the steps on your left. Then look out for signs for the Riverside Walk whilst walking down the hill and follow them to view the obelisks.
Retrace your steps back to the North Downs Way signs, then follow it downhill and fork left to get to the Stepping Stones. If the Stepping Stones are under water use the footbridge instead. Take care when crossing the stones as when wet they can be very slippery!
There are lots of rare and unique pieces of history on Box Hill, especially in this section of the walk. There is an anti-tank pill box which can be found to the left just before the Stepping Stones. This box which looks like a shelter was used in both World Wars to contain guns that fire across large areas. Once you have crossed all 17 stones you are on an incline up to the car park. Here you will see a concrete slab used to waterproof military vehicles built by the Canadians in 1944 in preparation for D-Day. To test them they would drive them through the river you will have just crossed over!
Head down the left fork back towards the footbridge but turn left through the gate in to Burford Meadow just before you cross it. Follow the river until you reach the A24 and continue along the footpath to the right of the road. At the Burford Bridge roundabout, take a right and pass the Burford Bridge Hotel and stay on this path until it reaches its conclusion. At this point, cross the road and continue the path on the other side towards the Zig Zag road. At the Box Hill sign post turn right and head past the Burford Spa and Box Hill Fort and back to the café where you started. Time for one of those afternoon teas!