Saturday, 1 August 2020

North Downs Way Part 2 ! (July 2020 - Merstham to Otford)

North Downs Way Part 2 !  (Merstham to Otford)

Picked up where I left off in 2019 at Merstham. 2020 was a different year as we all know so couldn't spread my 'longer' walks out and instead squeezed two (the Wey South Path and this one) into July. Not always easy, the 'Stars have to align', work, childcare, 'permission', and of course the weather. If it's wet and miserable, well, it's mean't to be enjoyable! Luckily the weather was nearly perfect.

Not sure if my feet hadn't recovered or I was taking too many pictures (!) but only managed 20 miles when I wanted to go a little further. Taking trains from my Woking base means the start time is not going to be as early as I might like so started at 6.45am in Merstham when ideally I'd like to have started an hour earlier, and that was catching the 5.30am train from Woking! Finished about 1730 in Otford. The next leg was 15 miles and I couldn't have done it without running out of daylight. So Otford it is in 2021 for my next leg - and hopefully minus a face mask on the train!

Please see the earlier 2019 post for details of the walk (packing list, the essential Colin Saunders guide book etc):-

Once again Colin's book was a must have. The signage is mostly good but there are sections where the signs are missing and having the book to hand gives great peace of mind. 

Starting out at Merstham.

A military vehicle somewhat the worse for wear...
It's a climb up - but it's the North Downs of course!

The North Downs does not follow the old Pilgrim's Way, but does intersect at times. I wonder how old this sign is?

In the distance (looking north) you can see London, the Shard is the most obvious.
A zoom in.
A couple of projects on the go?

There is some road walking, and you need to be careful sometimes.
This is more like it!

And the view noted above. 
Caterham viewpoint on a Tuesday around 8.30am, and still nice and quiet...
Quite a drop at times.

Some of the signage is quite new, but be aware, not all sections of the route are this well marked.

3 miles to Kent.
I'm not sure why, but the snails seem to get bigger as you approach Kent.

Although it doesn't say so, this stone approximately marks the Surrey - Kent border according to Colin Saunder's book.
My favourite picture on the walk.

A walled entrance in the middle of nowhere with no evidence of a house nearby. A build that never happened?

Coming into Otford.
The pond a little further on. A pleasant little place.

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

The Wey South Path - July 2020

I would have tried this earlier in the year but of course 2020 was no normal year, and train travel was a problem during the Lockdown. I try to fit longer one day walks into May - June - July for daylight reasons.

Please see earlier posts for route information, these are just a few additional 2020 pictures of a walk now done a few times. A map is probably not necessary, but 'the book' most certainly is (see earlier Wey South Path posts), and 'the book' can be bought from the Wey and Arun Canal Trust online shop.:-

Despite being careful and having walked this sometimes difficult to navigate walk four times I became blase towards the end, took a wrong turn and the 34 miles became more like 37 at least! Keep your eye on the ball, and on that very useful little guide book...

One other note, I tried walking shoes instead of boots for the first time on a longer walk (30+ miles in a day). Although they had been fine on numerous 10+ mile walks over the last year, they did not measure up for the extended mileage and I had sore feet for a few days afterwards. From now on longer walks will be with tried and tested boots only!

An overview map:-

and another:-

Leaving Guildford after a 5.45am start.

These signs are very reassuring but some can be missing, hard to spot or overgrown.

Bramley and Wonersh station, now abandoned. The Wey South Path follows the same route as the Downs Link here.

Beats busy cities, beats traffic jams, beats a lot of things.

Love these open vistas.

A new housing estate near Cranleigh. No sign of this when I first did this walk only four short years ago.

And this is the view now blocked by the above new housing estate that can only be seen with difficulty. Easy to take these things for granted. Progress cannot be stopped, and some of the beauty of the English countryside is not forever, so enjoy it while you can.

Too early for a pint, and no time anyway. This walk can't be done (by me anyway!) in a single day if you stop and pause... 

The Sidney Wood section with it's dried out canal bed.

The Onslow Arms near Loxwood is very much at the heart of the Wey and Arun Canal Trust, and is where they offer canal boat trips and have their Gift shop.

Looking down the canal from the Onslow Arms.

Giant Hogweed, keep away from it.....

One lucky house looks onto this from their garden...

Him again!

The circle of life....

Spot the face. A bored artist during Lockdown? It wasn't the only one.

Approaching the White Hart pub near Pulborough. The first time I did this walk that was as far as I got due to fading daylight. It was pitch black in these woods. Hence I only attempt this one day walk in May, June, or July. Now it's a more polished affair!

Amberley at last. Interestingly the walk only finishes after quite a severe climb up Mill Lane, perhaps included as a final 'test' for the Wey-South Path walker, to finish you off as it were.... :-)

After finishing the walk you still have to walk to Amberley train station, but it's only about half a mile.

Resting your feet on the train ride home never felt so good!

North Downs Way Part 2 ! (July 2020 - Merstham to Otford)

North Downs Way Part 2 !  (Merstham to Otford) Picked up where I left off in 2019 at Merstham. 2020 was a different year as we all know so c...