First May Bank Holiday has finally arrived. Yay! But not so yay for me. :( Miss Money wanted to go on a hike, and so I looked online to check where in London can you go hiking for long hours and still have good views. Richmond Park came up but Miss Money completely ignored that suggestion; Boxhill came up as another option, and it seemed like a good suggestion at the time. I saw pretty pictures of stepping stones and thought yes this is where we should go!
Mr Games and Mr Sensible couldn't make it with us this time as they were moving homes.
So Miss Money and I checked out times and fares. She gets a discount with her Rail Gold Card, therefore Miss Money bought the return tickets for £5.90 each using South Eastern trains. South West Trains also goes in that direction but those are trains from Waterloo. We left quite early getting to Victoria Station before 9am. Yawn! We both had McDonald's that morning... that's bad of us... my diet isn't working that much, so this didn't matter... then it was off to get onto the train!
We got to Box Hill and Westhumble Station around 10.20am. Because neither of us printed a map we started using Google Maps to find the way. We turned right from the station and walked all the way down to the motorway.
Then we made a right turn and walked for a bit. Across the road you will see a bus stop (the second one - not the one you see from when you enter the motorway), cross over but BE CAREFUL crossing the motorway because there's no traffic lights!!!
Across the road, you will immediately see the entrance to the Stepping Stones route.
Make a right as soon as you see the sign, and follow the railings.
After a few minutes you'll reach the river.
And the Stepping Stones! The stones are fixed into the river, but I suggest you be careful as you jump from one stone to the next as the stones are a little slippery after the rain... Make sure your pockets are covered up in case you accidentally drop in. ^_^
Didn't realise after the Stepping Stones we could come across a lot of stairs, very large stairs that went all the way up. Had to stop a few times since I'm not fit (and I hate uphill work).
We finally reached the top, so make a right and pass the gate... I felt that was the hardest part of our hiking trip!
So the following steps I took from the website, but Miss Money and I found the intructions really confusing. The website says it's a 4 hour walk but the person advising on walks told us it was 2 hours... (It's actually 3 to 4 hours including getting lost and having lunch for an average walker).
1. With your back towards the food servery, turn left past the Learning Space and take the track, past the vehicle barrier, by the wood edge that leads down slope, past the Old Fort. Stay on this broad stoney track as it runs along the bottom of a steep grassy bank on your left, and above mixed woodland.
So start from the Visitor's centre, cross the road, walk to the right, then walk towards some cars parked on the right
Once you see these ruins, walk to the right hand side and then straight.
You'll get to this hill top. Just don't walk straight down the hill, as you'll miss the point on your right which unfortunately happened to us! So we had to walk back up the hill... so stressful.
Don't go this way... walk back the hill you go!
2. Turn right down first set of steps, that run down through a belt of yew woodland, cross stile and continue down steps on to steep north-facing chalk grassland slope. Follow path into the bottom of the valley, to the right of the horseshoe bend in the road.
After going down and then up the hill we found the steps! (So make sure you steer yourself to the left at the top of the hill. Go down the stairs and then turn right.
We were a bit confused with the sheep track in step 3, but don't go up this hill.
3. Bear left and uphill along the sheep track just above the road bend, and follow this track as it ambles gently upslope. Follow it to the end, above the next horseshoe bend, coming out on to the road via a short set of steps.
Follow this track which swerves to the left. This part is an easy walk, I seemed to walk fast at this part... Miss Money asked me why am I walking so fast!
After this track you will see a few steps, we were out of breath, so took a short break. >_<"
Took a short lunch break after crossing Zig Zag Hill Road which led us to another bout of grassland.
5. Near The Tower (a folly), turn right down a narrow path through woodland. Carry on down this path, bearing slightly left and avoiding turns to the right. Carry on down a set of steps near the bottom of the wooded slope, that leads into an area of open grassland in Juniper Bottom.
Lunch over. Go up the grassland and you will see the broken Tower onto your left. As you get to The Tower, turn right.
We tried to identify Juniper Bottom but there were no signs, so again we ended up going the wrong way as the instructions told us to steer to the left.
So the next few pics show the wrong direction... and we ended up in Pinehurst. >_<""" Our second wrong turn. :p
We walked back up, and Miss Money wanted to start where we had turned wrong. There was a short cut but she wouldn't let me take it. I hate you Miss Money!
When you see this sign post, follow this...
Juniper Bottom is down below!
And this is the open grassland they were talking about!! Once you get to the bottom, turn right, and walk, walk and walk!!!!!!!
It started raining... I found that walking backwards helped too. ^_^
7. Near the woodland summit, at a glade where five paths meet, by a large yew tree, turn first right at this staggered cross rides. Follow this track, over a cross rides, back towards the car park, shop, toilets and servery. The last part of this path is part of the Children's Play Trail.
The final instruction was to find the Yew Tree... and then turn first right... Miss Money and I had to search on the Internet because we didn't know what a yew tree looked like. Oh dear...
We finally made it back to the centre, which meant eat more, drink coffee (which is a bit costly but it's in aid of the park), loo break and get our energy back. Phew. If we do this walk again, I will defo print a map.
Finally back to the Stepping Stones and back to the train station. Because it rained the stones were a bit slippery so I slipped once on the stairs - Miss Money was jumping up and down which made me lose concentration on the path... :p
Note: If you plan to take this hike make sure you wear suitable shoes, bring food and water and just be prepared for what the weather might be like on the day.
We were very lucky to be out on a cool day.
Address: Tadworth, Surrey, KT20 7LB
Nearest Station: Boxhill and Westhumble (doesn't accept Oyster Cards)
Buses: 465 (Kingston to Dorking)
p.s. Did I say I hate uphill walking?!