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Explore Surrey: Colley Hill and Reigate Hill

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Explore Surrey: Colley Hill and Reigate Hill
Author: Explore Surrey, Published: 04 Mar 2016 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Explore Surrey: Colley Hill and Reigate Hillstar1 Explore Surrey: Colley Hill and Reigate Hillstar1 Explore Surrey: Colley Hill and Reigate Hillstar1 Explore Surrey: Colley Hill and Reigate Hillstar0 Explore Surrey: Colley Hill and Reigate Hill
Surrey, Reigate
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Explore Surrey: Colley Hill and Reigate Hill
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot Explore Surrey: Colley Hill and Reigate Hill
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A 4.5km (3 mile) easy access walk along the North Downs Way with spectacular views, taking in Colley Hill and Reigate Hill and visiting the attractions of Reigate Fort and the Inglis Memorial. This walk is part of the Explore Surrey collection, published through a collaboration between iFootpath and Surrey County Council.

The walk follows wide surfaced paths throughout – some compacted stone and some old tarmac – which are very firm but a little uneven and with some shallow surface mud. There are a few gradients, but these are all gentle to moderate. There are no stiles, steps or kissing gates on the route, just a few single gates. Given these conditions, the route is suitable for rugged pushchairs and disability buggies. You will be sharing one section of Colley Hill with Belted Galloway cattle that are used for conservation grazing, so take care with dogs (it is worth noting that this is a popular stretch of the North Downs Way so the cattle are accustomed to both walkers and dogs). Allow 1.5 hours.

There are toilets and a popular cafe kiosk (the Urban Kitchen) in the Wray Lane car park, half way round the walk. Ordnance Survey Map: Explorer 146 Dorking, Box Hill and Reigate. This walk follows public footpaths and bridleways which cross private and public land. Information is included for your interest, but please respect people’s privacy, keep dogs under control and remember the Countryside Code.

The walk starts and finishes at the National Trust pay and display car park at Margery Wood, just a 3 minute drive from Junction 8 of the M25. From Junction 8 of the M25, take the A217 north and after just 150 yards, take the first left turn, Margery Lane. Follow this lane all the way to the far end where you will find the car park directly ahead. The car park is free for National Trust members and £4 per day (or part of a day) for non-members (correct March 2016). There are no payment machines, payment must be made using a mobile phone and credit or debit card, using the instructions on the car park information board. Approximate post code KT20 7BD.

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Walk Sections

Start to Inglis Memorial
Start to Inglis Memorial

Start point: 51.2597 lat, -0.2162 long
End point: 51.2538 lat, -0.2097 long

Leave the Margery Wood car park to join the woodland footpath, passing between low wooden bollards and then passing through a generous simple staggered fence to reach a fork. Take the left-hand branch and follow this wide stone path steadily uphill through the pretty woodland. Margery Wood has a particularly healthy population of bluebells, creating a wonderful display in the late spring.

At the far end of the wood, you will come to a footbridge over the M25. Cross this and, at the far side, keep ahead along another short section of woodland footpath. Over to your left you will see a tall ornate brick water tower. NOTE: Beyond the next gate you may come across Belted Galloway cattle. Go through the single gate ahead and you will meet a junction with the North Downs Way. It is at this point that you are rewarded with your first glimpse of the views that this walk enjoys. All along the top of Colley Hill magnificent views can be seen across the Weald to the South Downs.

Turn left along the surfaced path with the views to your right and passing the water tower on your left. Stay with this path, the North Downs Way and, just before you come to the next gate ahead you will reach the Inglis Memorial on your right, a circular structure with columns. Be sure to look up to the internal ceiling. This unusual building with its cobalt and gold ceiling showing an astronomer’s view of the heavens, was originally built as a drinking fountain for horses. The central fountain has since been replaced with a topograph which indicates the landmarks that can be seen from this viewpoint.

Inglis Memorial to Reigate Fort
Inglis Memorial to Reigate Fort

Start point: 51.2538 lat, -0.2097 long
End point: 51.2545 lat, -0.1994 long

When you have finished at the memorial, pass through the gate ahead to continue on the North Downs Way, leading you through a section of woodland. You will pass a pillbox on your right before coming to a clearing with a pair of aircraft wingtip sculptures and an information board. This clearing is the site of a World War II plane crash. On 19 March 1945, a US Flying Fortress plane was returning from a bombing raid in low cloud and sadly crashed into Reigate Hill, killing the nine crew members.

Further along, just after passing the tall masts of a transmission station on your left, you will come to the entrance for Reigate Fort on your right. Take time to explore the fort should you wish, although note that, as sheep graze the site, dogs are not permitted. Reigate Fort was built in 1898 as one of 13 mobilisation centres, established to protect London from invasion. Confidence in the British Navy at this time was low, so whilst a huge ship-building programme was initiated by the Government, this line of defence was put in place in case of a French invasion.

Reigate Fort to Wray Lane
Reigate Fort to Wray Lane

Start point: 51.2545 lat, -0.1994 long
End point: 51.256 lat, -0.1923 long

When you have finished at the fort, continue along the North Downs Way which now becomes a tarmac lane passing a few houses on your right. Just beyond these you will come to a crossroads with a public bridleway. Go straight ahead, continuing on the North Downs Way which becomes a stone path once again.

The stone path leads you downhill (the steepest gradient of this walk) to reach Reigate Hill Footbridge. The single span footbridge, which weighs 3 tonnes and has a span of 30 metres, was built in 1910 by the firm Mouchel, using its newly introduced French system of reinforced concrete. It is the earliest example of a reinforced concrete footbridge in the country.

Cross the bridge and you will emerge into the Wray Lane car park and picnic area which has a cafe kiosk and toilets. This is another great place to pause and enjoy the views. There are several picnic benches, deck chairs and another topograph viewpoint.

Wray Lane to End
Wray Lane to End

Start point: 51.256 lat, -0.1923 long
End point: 51.26 lat, -0.2161 long

When you are ready to continue, retrace your steps back over Reigate Hill Footbridge and follow the North Downs Way back past Reigate Fort, the plane crash site and on to reach Inglis Memorial. Pass the memorial (now on your left) and continue for about 170 metres to reach a single gate on your right.

Turn right through this gate and join the tarmac residential access lane directly ahead. Follow this quiet lane across the M25 and then leading you gently downhill. At the bottom of the slope you will come to the car park on your left where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2016 by the author exploresurrey and may not be reproduced without permission.

1 comments for "Explore Surrey: Colley Hill and Reigate Hill"

Lovely v easy walk. Interesting sites on route and fab views at places. Very busy so need extremely obedient dog or keep on lead

By nickyhamilto on 22 Oct 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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