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Box Hill and Mickleham

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Box Hill and Mickleham
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 22 Apr 2013 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Box Hill and Mickleham walking guide and directionsstar1 Box Hill and Mickleham walking guide and directionsstar1 Box Hill and Mickleham walking guide and directionsstar1 Box Hill and Mickleham walking guide and directionsstar1 Box Hill and Mickleham walking guide and directions
Surrey, Dorking
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Box Hill and Mickleham
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot Box Hill and Mickleham walking guide and directions boot Box Hill and Mickleham walking guide and directions boot Box Hill and Mickleham walking guide and directions boot Box Hill and Mickleham walking guide and directions
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A 4.5 mile circular and fairly strenuous walk from Box Hill in the Mole Valley district of Surrey. Box Hill is well known for its box trees, its plethora of butterflies and also as the central feature of the cycling road races for the 2012 Olympics. The route heads along a short section of the North Downs Way before turning north descending steadily through Juniper Bottom. The walk then climbs again into Juniperhill Woods, heads down into the village of Mickleham and then back up the west side of Box Hill. There are superb views throughout (so it’s worth choosing a clear day) and plenty of opportunity to enjoy the local wildlife.

The route has several fairly steep climbs and descents, including one long climb up a flight of steps. There are also a couple of gates and one stile (but this is fairly low and has open sides for dogs to pass under). The paths can get quite muddy and slippery after wet weather. Approximate time 2 to 2.5 hours.

Box Hill can be found just north of Dorking off the A24. The walk starts from the National Trust car park at the top of Zig Zag Road on Box Hill. Parking is £3 per day per car (correct April 2013) and free to National Trust members. Approximate post code KT20 7LB.

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Walk Sections

Start to Smith and Western
Start to Smith and Western

Start point: 51.2485 lat, -0.3127 long
End point: 51.2479 lat, -0.3001 long

Start in the car park on the opposite side of the road to the visitor centre and cafe. Return to the road, cross over and turn left along the tarmac path running parallel with the road on the left. Follow this path signed as the Stepping Stones walk and soon the trees on the right give way to extensive views across the Surrey landscape on the right. Take time to enjoy the views from the low stone circular wall (a monument to Leopold Salomons) which shows the directions of the various visible landmarks including Reigate and Leith Hill.

Keep straight ahead after the view point and a few paces later fork left onto the path marked as the North Downs Way. Follow this path as it climbs a little and then swings right to run close to Zig Zag Road on the left. Pass through a short gated section of grass chalkland and keep ahead on the woodland path, marked with the acorn symbol for the North Downs Way. The path meanders through trees and soon you will reach a few steps down to reach a crossroads with a tree lined gulley. Turn left here and go uphill for just a few paces to reach the Smith and Western grill and diner.

Smith and Western to Headley Lane
Smith and Western to Headley Lane

Start point: 51.2479 lat, -0.3001 long
End point: 51.263 lat, -0.3145 long

Cross through the Smith and Western car park and then turn left onto the pavement alongside the road, passing in front of the car park. As you reach the end of the fenced parking area, cross over to turn right onto the signed public bridleway.

Follow the path as it meanders through the trees and then a little way in you will reach the first major fork – keep left here. A little further along you will come to a junction of several paths; take the right-hand of the middle two paths, the one heading fairly steeply downhill. Follow this path as it steadily descends and towards the bottom you will pass through a section of juniper trees (a type of coniferous tree) in an area known as Juniper Bottom.

Juniper trees produce juniper berries which are used as a spice in a wide variety of dishes and are most well-known for providing the primary flavouring to gin. In fact gin takes its name from the dutch name for juniper trees, genever.

The bridleway finally emerges into a small gravel parking area on Headley Lane.

Headley Lane to St Michael's Church
Headley Lane to St Michael's Church

Start point: 51.263 lat, -0.3145 long
End point: 51.2674 lat, -0.3225 long

Cross over the lane with care and take the steep flight of steps directly opposite. At the top of the flight of steps follow the path as it swings right and begins to level off. Soon you will reach a bench on the left with a small clearing on the right. This is a great place to stop to catch your breath and enjoy the views over the Mole Valley.

Continue straight ahead passing the bench to left, on the narrowing path into woodland signed for the Box Hill Hike. Follow the path as it swings 90 degrees left and a few paces later, where the path curves right, keep straight ahead under an arch of trees and then bear left again marked with a red arrow for the Box Hill Hike.

Follow the path fairly steeply downhill and you will come to a crossroads alongside a National Trust map and information board. The path crossing the route here is an old Roman Road and now forms part of the Thames Down Link. Go straight ahead here continuing on the narrow woodland footpath still heading downhill.

The next section becomes very steep so take particular care not to slip. At the bottom a path merges in from the right, keep straight ahead and you will reach a stile at the end of the path. Cross over and keep straight ahead on the gravel track passing by St Michael’s Church on the right.

St Michael's Church to Zig Zag Road
St Michael's Church to Zig Zag Road

Start point: 51.2674 lat, -0.3225 long
End point: 51.2579 lat, -0.3227 long

Do not enter the church yard, just keep ahead on the gravel track to reach the T-junction with the road. Cross over and turn left to follow the pavement alongside Old London Road. Follow the pavement and as the tall wall ends, ignore the path off to the right. Keep on the pavement past the bus stop and 100 yards later follow the pavement as it forks right to run slightly away from the road.

Follow this woodland path and ignore the first road off to the left (Headley Road). On the right you will pass the gated entrance to Fredley Manor – have a quick look through the gates to see the view down the long driveway lined with beautifully pollarded trees. Continue on the path which now becomes a raised walkway high above the road to the left. Go down the flight of steps, keep ahead on the tarmac pavement and a few hundred yards later cross over to turn left into Zig Zag Road.

Zig Zag Road to End
Zig Zag Road to End

Start point: 51.2579 lat, -0.3227 long
End point: 51.2486 lat, -0.3137 long

As soon as you turn into Zig Zag Road, fork right onto the public bridleway. Join the wide grass slope climbing steadily back up to the top of Box Hill.

You may want to take a few pauses on the way up to turn round and enjoy the views across the Surrey Hills. Box Hill itself is a Special Area of Conservation and a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. The chalk downland environment supports notable populations of bats, orchid and more than 40 species of butterfly. Over to the right you’ll be able to see Denbies Vineyard with its characteristic geometric layout of vines. Over to the left you’ll see a relatively flat section of Zig Zag Road – this road has always been a popular training ground for cyclists but is even more fashionable now having featured as part of the Summer Olympics 2012 road race circuit. If you drive down this section on your way out you’ll see the official graffiti still on the road cheering on members of the British cycling team.

After passing over the brow of the wide grass slope keep ahead on the chalk path as it heads between trees. After some distance on the left you’ll pass the headstone of an eccentric local resident who is buried vertically here. A few paces later, at the fork, keep left. You will emerge with the visitor centre and cafe on the left and the car park (where the walk began) directly opposite.

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network Box Hill and Mickleham walking guide and directions Original GPX source file

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


2 responses to "Box Hill and Mickleham"

The real time location services does not work too well as the network is patchy. Keep a hard copy of the map

By Rahulmalhotr on 2016-05-02 11:01:54

Not for the faint hearted - great views - very up & down - make sure you take your water & boots - good exercise

By Theoifoot on 2016-11-05 12:03:02

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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1 images to "Box Hill and Mickleham"

2062_0Jacko1478794750 Box Hill and Mickleham walking guide and directions Image by: Jacko
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
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