This rather strenuous linear walk, mostly following the Greensand Way and North Downs Way through the Surrey Hills, takes in the “Surrey Three Peaks” of Holmbury Hill, Leith Hill and Box Hill.
We might not have any actual mountains in our area, but this walk takes in three of the best known summits in Surrey, for a total ascent of approximately 700m! Sometimes tackled as a much longer circular route (well over 20 miles), we’ll be doing a linear version that keeps it to a more manageable 16.5 miles.
Starting from Gomshall, we make our way south across farmland and through the village of Hoe, climbing steadily through Hurt Wood to our first peak of Holmbury Hill (261m), home to an Iron Age hill fort. From here we follow the Greensand Way through the edge of Holmbury St Mary and on through Pasture Wood to our second peak of Leith Hill (294m), the second highest point in southeast England. (The tower built on the hilltop is higher than Walbury Hill in West Berkshire, but the actual hill is not…)
The Greensand Way turns north here, and we follow it as far as Westcott Heath, where we branch off and cross the railway to join the North Downs Way across Ranmore Common (our extra hill in addition to the “three peaks”). Passing close to Denbies Vineyard, this takes us all the way to our final peak of Box Hill via the “Stepping Stones” and a fairly steep ascent. We then descend via the northern ridge into the village of Westhumble, where the walk finishes, with trains available from here after an optional well-earned visit to the Stepping Stones pub.
Depending on time, there are possible refreshment stops at the Heartwork Coffee Bar in Holmbury St Mary, the kiosk in Leith Hill Tower, and/or the Box Hill café. Please don’t rely on these though, and bring a packed lunch plus snacks and plenty of water to last a full day’s walking.
Please be aware that this is quite a strenuous walk, and we’ll need to maintain a reasonable pace to cover the distance in the shortening daylight. The ground can also be quite muddy and uneven in places, so sturdy walking boots are strongly recommended, and please be prepared for any change in the weather.
From Reading, please take the 08:06 train arriving into Gomshall at 09:22. The walk leader will be on this train, so if it is delayed, the start of the walk will be too. From this direction, a return ticket to Box Hill and Westhumble will cover both journeys.
If driving, your best option is probably to park in Dorking and take the 09:12 train from Dorking Deepdene, arriving into Gomshall at 09:21. You can then take the short train journey back from Box Hill & Westhumble to Dorking Main at the end of the walk to return to your car. (Parking in Gomshall or Westhumble, but that will involve a less simple train journey from one endpoint to the other.)
- If you or someone else from your household has COVID-19 symptoms, please do not attend.
- Please be considerate to other path users and step aside to let people past – and don’t forget to say ‘hi’ or ‘thanks’!
- Please bring a packed lunch and a drink.
- Please feel free to contact the leader with queries about the walk, or if you are delayed on the day.