Walking on the North Downs again

26 Sep

My good friend Chris and I completed another section of the North Downs Way today. Bit by bit, as time and weather allow, we are going to walk the whole length of it. Today’s section was from Oxted to Merstham, both in Surrey, and I have named it the motorway section (freeway for any Americans reading this) as we had to cross three stretches of motorway and the noise of traffic was an almost constant companion throughout the walk.

I think this was the first time I had been to Oxted, I have no ancestors from there so why else would I need to go? From what I saw it was a nice little town, from the railway station we had about a mile and a half to walk before we actually got to the North Downs Way, crossing the M25 in the process.

The M25 north of Oxted, Surrey

The M25 north of Oxted, Surrey

The weather was almost perfect for walking, the grass was a bit damp to start from the early morning dew, but apart from that it was bright and sunny most of the time. There was some cloud later on, but it was by no means cold, in fact the first few miles were out in the open and it was getting a bit too warm. Most of the rest of the walk was shaded, which restricted the views but made conditions much nicer for walking.

Looking South across Godstone Vineyard

Looking South across Godstone Vineyard

Although the weather was good, the visibility was not perfect, and although at one point (near Willey Park Farm) we could just make out the tall office buildings of London, it was not possible to see them clearly. It really surprised me, to be in the open countryside and still be able to see parts of London, I wish I had taken my binoculars with me.

The derelict Whitehill Tower

The derelict Whitehill Tower

As I said the views were limited, but the were a couple of features closer to the path that you couldn’t miss. One was the wonderfully Whitehill Tower (pictured above) described in my route guide as a “derelict folly”, although I have been unable to find precious little else about it.

Another trig point for my collection

Another trig point for my collection

No walk along the North Downs would be complete without spotting a trig point, and today was no exception. This beauty was just before we started our descent towards Merstham.

The M23 cutting through the landscape

The M23 cutting through the landscape

The descent to Merstham and the train home involved crossing two motorways the M23 and back over the M25 again. Fortunately an underpass was provided for the first and a bridge for the second. All in all this was quite an easy section, about 10 miles in all (including getting out of Oxted), although most of the route was undulating their were only really one or two challenging climbs, and they were mercifully short.

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