Walk to Work Week: Horley to Gatwick Airport

17 May

The 14th to 18th May 2012 is Walk to Work Week in the UK and although I would love to walk all the way to work it would probably take me six or seven hours so that is not really practical. This evening I seized the opportunity to make the start of my journey home on foot.

It wasn’t a particularly long walk, possibly 1½ miles at a stretch, but it was different from my usual route (the one I walked on Monday) and I have to confess once I had got beyond the rows of houses it was quite pleasant.

The streets of Horley, Surrey

From Horley town centre the first three-quarters of a mile were along residential streets. Although I had studied the map previously it was an unfamiliar route and I mentally laid myself a trail of breadcrumbs so that I could retrace my steps if needed. It wasn’t particularly inspiring walking, but I have walked along worse streets.

Entrance to Riverside Garden Park

My reason for taking this route was to take a look at Riverside Garden Park. This seems to be one of the few green spaces in Horley, not particularly large, but supposedly a remnant of the old Horley Common. An interesting survivor, sandwiched between the residential streets of Horley and the sprawling Gatwick Airport.

The entrance to Riverside Garden Park is not particularly inspiring, there is a useful noticeboard with a map of the park and a little bit of history. However once over the bridge and into the park things improve dramatically. The park is also part of two longer walks, a Millennium Trail (18 miles) and the East Horley Circular Walk (5.8 miles).

Path through Riverside Garden Park

I took the path heading towards the airport, I am not sure where the other paths go (that is an exploration for another day) but it is a very pleasant walk, following the course of the Gatwick Stream, the river which gives the park its name.

Pond in Riverside Garden Park

There are some nice mature trees and a lovely pond (with geese, ducks and a heron), it seemed to be relatively free from litter but not too neatly manicured. It wasn’t quite possible to forget the presence of the airport and the busy (and elevated) main road running along the south-western edge of the park, but it wasn’t as intrusive as I had imagined it would be.

Underpass to Gatwick Airport

All too quickly I was heading down the narrow underpass (which is a little daunting because it is shared with a cycle path) leading under the A23 and into the concrete and car parks of Gatwick Airport.

In Riverside Garden Park I think I might have inadvertently stumbled on the nicest part of Horley and a much nicer alternative to my usual route between the airport and Horley town centre. It is a little longer, but if time is not an issue then it seems a much better route.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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3 Responses to “Walk to Work Week: Horley to Gatwick Airport”

  1. Anonymous May 24, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    Having found the site on Secret Gardens in the Boro News-I viewed your walk with interest as I have lived in Horley 9 years and dog walk every day but I still do not know where it is that you have described. Please let me know how I can get there from Meath Green Lane.

    • John Gasson May 24, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

      Hi, if you go to Google Maps and type in riverside garden park it should show you where it is. It is at the far south of Horley, on the northern side of the A23.

      • Paul Feakins August 12, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

        I saw this big area of green on Google Maps with a big pond in the middle and decided to try and find it today. It was relatively hard to get to by car because a lot of the small roads leading up to the entrance turn out to be cul-de-sacs but we got there in the end.

        It was definitely worth the effort – the stream, pond and park are beautiful so I’d recommend trying to find it. From Meath Green lane you’d need to go past Ye Olde Six Bells pub, cross that main road by the garage and take the road adjacent to the garage, then take the first right and follow it round to the left.

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