North Downs Way 2 : Guildford to Dorking
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This is the longest stretch of the NDW in Surrey but much of the length is over fairly gentle gradients. The exceptions are the climb up to St Martha’s Church and the slope up to Newlands Corner. These are significant but not extreme and both offer rewarding views from their peaks.
St Martha’s Church is a well-known feature in the county. This is partly due to the lack of vehicle access but also because of its interesting history and the graves of several well-known people. Newlands Corner (along with Box Hill on the next stage) are – deservedly – the two most popular viewpoints in Surrey. However, once away from these locations, much of this route is through quiet countryside with few other walkers to be seen until reaching Denbies Vineyard.
Passing along the ridge of the North Downs, with the Tillingbourne Valley below, the prospect is of farmland with occasional villages. Wooded sections are mainly deciduous trees with the addition of numerous yews – some of great age. The yew trees love the chalk soil and can be found beside many sections of the path (and as a number of veteran trees by Newlands Corner).
Newlands Corner also forms a good point for a mid-morning refreshment break but, after that, options are limited. This is a route where a picnic lunch is recommended – with Little Kings Viewpoint (Instruction 11) being an ideal stopping point.
An additional bonus on this walk is that, once you have got to the end of the route, it is only a short deviation from the route to turn back into Denbies Vineyard for refreshments prior to heading for the station.