North Downs Way 3 : Dorking to Merstham
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Whilst not the longest Surrey section of the North Downs Way, this is certainly an interesting one.
The route starts with a series of Stepping Stones across the River Mole – a novelty for many walkers. Walkers then face the challenge of 275 or more steps up Box Hill before they even get to the main part of the walk. For good measure, there is another significant hill to be tackled mid-way through the section with the climb up the track to the top of Colley Hill (start of bullet 15) – and this seems to go on for ever.
As compensation, the views at various points are stunning! In particular, Box Hill, Colley Hill and Reigate Hill are all spots where it is worth stopping to enjoy the distant vistas.
This is also a section with a lot of historical elements. There is industrial archaeology (Brockham Lime Kilns), military history (Reigate Fort), social history (Salomon’s Memorial and Inglis Memorial) plus the beauty of Gatton Park – one of the more significant landscapes created by Lancelot “Capability” Brown in the 1760s.
Whilst there are good catering facilities near the start and end of the route (Box Hill café and Wray Lane carpark café) there are few other options along the body of the route. This is a section where it is worth taking a picnic.
The ideal stopping point is on the cliffs overlooking Brockham Lime Kiln.