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Epsom Downs and Walton on the Hill

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Epsom Downs and Walton on the Hill
Author: Claire, Published: 04 Feb 2013 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Epsom Downs and Walton on the Hillstar1 Epsom Downs and Walton on the Hillstar1 Epsom Downs and Walton on the Hillstar1 Epsom Downs and Walton on the Hillstar0 Epsom Downs and Walton on the Hill
Surrey, Epsom
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Epsom Downs and Walton on the Hill
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot Epsom Downs and Walton on the Hill boot Epsom Downs and Walton on the Hill
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0006_mist Epsom Downs and Walton on the HillToday's weather
4 °C, Mist, Wind: 0 mph SSE
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A 5.5 mile circular walk through Epsom and Walton Downs, the chalk downlands which form part of the North Downs in Surrey. The route starts from Epsom Downs Racecourse, home to The Derby, and heads south through Walton Downs to reach the pretty village of Walton on the Hill. Here, about half way round, there are a couple of pubs and a cafe, the perfect place for lunch and/or a pint. The walk returns back through woodland bridleways and open downland paths. There are great views throughout and on a clear day much of London and Surrey is visible.

The walk has a few steady climbs and descents throughout and, whilst most of the paths are well made, some of the chalk bridleways can become muddy/slippery after wet weather. There are no stiles and just one single gate. The racecourse is open throughout the year but there are restrictions on race days so it is best to avoid these times. Dogs are welcome as long as they are under control and on leads while horses are being trained (follow the guidance on the signs within the course). Approximate time 2 to 2.5 hours.

The walk starts from the large open car park which is at the roundabout junction between Tattenham Corner Road (B290) and Old London Road, just south of Epsom in Surrey. Approximate post code KT18 5NY. Tattenham Corner rail station is a short walk from the start point.

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Walk Sections

Start to Woodland Fork
Start to Woodland Fork

Start point: 51.3117 lat, -0.2449 long
End point: 51.3024 lat, -0.2569 long

Cross over the roundabout towards the racecourse and head down the tarmac lane into the course away from the road (if you look carefully you’ll see a wooden sign marking this as a bridleway to Walton Road). As the tarmac lane bends left, go straight ahead alongside the vehicle barrier and take the stone/dirt track heading straight up over the centre of the course.

Epsom Downs Racecourse is best known for hosting the Epsom Derby and The Oaks, two of the five British Classics, annual races run over the flat for three year old thoroughbred horses. The two races were introduced in 1779 and 1780 by the 12th Earl of Derby and Sir Charles Bunbury.

Continue out through the opposite side of the racecourse and then keep ahead on the wide sandy track with trees immediately to the right. Follow the sandy track as it enters woodland and soon you will reach a fork in the path, with the main track bending right and a smaller path ahead.

Woodland Fork to Nohome Farm
Woodland Fork to Nohome Farm

Start point: 51.3024 lat, -0.2569 long
End point: 51.2993 lat, -0.2602 long

Take the left fork here onto the smaller path marked with a blue arrow, and follow this as it bends to the right. At the next junction, go ahead on the wide lane to pass between the white racecourse railings over to the left and some old stone columns to the right. Follow the lane as it swings left and downhill, enjoying the views across the valley.

The area of Epsom and Walton Downs covers 600 acres of unspoilt chalk downland. The area is an important chalk grassland habitat and supports rare species including the Skylark and Chalk Blue Hill butterflies.

At the bottom of the slope you’ll reach a six-way junction with more railings each side. Count the paths carefully and take the third exit on the left, a path heading downhill and then swinging to the left. You will emerge to a broader track alongside a sign post – turn left here and then a few paces later keep ahead, ignoring the right hand turn to Walton Road. At the next junction keep ahead on the bridleway signed for Walton on the Hill and a few paces later you’ll see the gated entrance to Nohome Farm on the right.

Nohome Farm to Fox and Hounds
Nohome Farm to Fox and Hounds

Start point: 51.2993 lat, -0.2602 long
End point: 51.2831 lat, -0.2463 long

Immediately after the gated entrance, follow the path as it swings right and narrows between hedgerows. Keep on this path for some distance, climbing gradually uphill and winding between the coppiced trees. A while later the path passes between horse paddocks (beware the electric fence on the right here). Soon afterwards the path passes between houses to arrive at a junction with the road.

Turn left onto the road and immediately follow the main road as it bends to the right. Follow the grass verge alongside the road heading downhill and taking care of oncoming traffic. At the next road junction turn left onto Walton Road and pass the Old Rectory on the right to reach the Fox and Hounds pub on the left.

Fox and Hounds to Bridle Cottage
Fox and Hounds to Bridle Cottage

Start point: 51.2831 lat, -0.2463 long
End point: 51.2904 lat, -0.2439 long

Keep ahead on Walton Road passing the primary school on the right and then a number of small shops and a cafe. Keep ahead past the village Mere on the left and immediately after the water, turn left onto the small track by The Bell pub sign.

At the fork (with a Withybed Corner sign) keep right on the main track. Follow this track up past white cottages and then past The Bell pub on the left. Go straight on beyond the pub on the woodland track to reach a staggered barrier.

Here you will notice a white-painted cast iron waist-high post which bears the City of London Coat of Arms. This is known as a ‘coal-tax post’ and is one of 210 that form a circle about 12 to 18 miles from the centre of London. These posts, erected in the 1860s, marked the boundary within which tax on coal imports was payable. The revenue raised was used to pay for public works including the construction of New Oxford Street and the creation of a unified sewerage system for the city. The last taxes were collected in 1890.

Pass through the staggered barrier and then fork right on the path running alongside Mottshill Cottage. At the bottom of the slope, bear right to join the wider track passing Garden End on the right. As the main lane swings hard right, turn left alongside Bridle Cottage.

Bridle Cottage to End
Bridle Cottage to End

Start point: 51.2904 lat, -0.2439 long
End point: 51.31 lat, -0.2469 long

Follow the narrow fenced bridleway to the left of Bridle Cottage and follow this path for some distance downhill. At the bottom of the slope you will come to a fork in the path with a copse ahead. Keep left here and a few paces later you will come to a second fork with a notice board. Keep right at this notice board marked with a blue arrow for the bridleway. At the third fork you will see a three-way signpost, take the right fork heading straight on, signed for Epsom Lane North.

As you emerge from the woodland keep ahead to cross a pair of sandy racecourse tracks and join the narrow grass footpath up the hill ahead. Continue over the brow of the hill to cross another sandy gallop track and reach a junction of paths at the corner of woodland. Go ahead and a few paces later fork right onto the narrow fenced path and through a small gate to reach the racecourse car park.

Cross straight over the car park and out onto the grass the other side, heading directly for the grandstand on the horizon ahead. You will soon meet a T-junction with the stone bridleway that you used to cross the racecourse at the beginning of the walk. Turn right onto the bridleway and follow it back to the car park where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2013 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.

6 comments for "Epsom Downs and Walton on the Hill"

Lovely walk and we had perfect weather for it too. Our one tip tho would be to carry on past the fox and hounds which we had planned to eat in, but on arrival it seemed rather characterless and after spending a good few minutes at the bar within the barman so much as acknowledging he realised we were there, we decided to see if there was anywhere else in the village. We found the grey dove cafe a little further up on rhs just before the mere. We definitely recommend it, warm and toasty, delicious homemade food and friendly staff.

By deester on 29 Nov 2014

Easy to follow directions. The Bell pub is dog friendly. A very nice walk.

By Covkid on 05 Apr 2015

Perfect directions and a thoroughly enjoyable walk.
(I agree with avoiding the Fox & Hounds, it's grim. We went to The Chequers, which is just around the corner on the left past the Fox & Hounds. The Dukes Head would add 1.5 miles to the walk and has great food apparently, but it's so busy that you have to book).
A great app and look forward to using it again next weekend.

By prorig on 05 Apr 2015

Enjoyable walk. Directions very good and love the map with interactive gps location spot. Agree with previous comments about Fox & Hounds. The cafe near the pond is lovely. Would do this walk again.

By RickStock on 30 May 2015

Enjoyed the walk apart from the 500m or so along Ebisham Lane coming into Walton on the Hill as we had a dog and the road was quite busy with no verge or pavement - very dicey. Also thought it deserves 3 boots for the difficulty level as there are numerous quite steep slopes. Enjoyable but not a favourite.

By pete747 on 30 May 2015

A nice walk through some lovely countryside although you do get the constant drone of the nearby M25 Some of the path is quite overgrown in , particularly on the return loop from Walton on the hill but is still passable. All in all an enjoyable afternoons walk

By Astraman999 on 18 Jun 2016

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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