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|Explore Surrey: Farthing Downs and Happy Valley|
|Author: exploresurrey, Published: 06 Mar 2016||Walk rating : Rating:|
|A 5km (3 mile) circular walk near Coulsdon, taking in the beautiful rolling chalk grassland of Farthing Downs and Happy Valley. This walk is part of the Explore Surrey collection, published through a collaboration between iFootpath and Surrey County Council. |
The walk has several climbs and descents throughout including a couple of quite steep sections. The route follows wide paths throughout, including one path across the centre of crop fields. There are no stiles or gates on the route, just one flight of steps (which runs alongside a steep path). The chalk path surfaces can get very muddy and slippery when wet so good boots are a must. Allow 1.5 hours.
There are toilets in the car park at the start of 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 free Farthing Downs car park on Ditches Lane, managed by the City of London. The car park opens at 7am and closes at dusk. Leave the A23 at Coulsdon and at the roundabout take the B276 (signed to Caterham). Take the second right turn, Downs Road, and keep left at the fork into Ditches Lane. Follow this single track lane over a cattle gird and along the top of the downs. Just before you reach cottages on your left, you will come to the car park on the right. Approximate post code CR5 1DA. If you are coming by train, Coulsdon South rail station is about a one mile walk from the starting point.
|Start to Grassland|
Start point: 51.2986 lat, -0.1344 long
Before setting off on the walk, you might want to take some time enjoying the views from the ridge-top paths alongside the car park. Farthing Downs is managed by the City of London and has stunning panoramic views across the surrounding countryside and all the way to London. Farthing Downs (along with Happy Valley which we will enter soon) is a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to it being part of the largest area of chalk grassland habitat remaining in the Greater London area. Listen for the beautiful song of the skylark which can last for five minutes without a pause.
|Grassland to Hedgerow Path|
Start point: 51.2957 lat, -0.1271 long
Many chalk-loving orchids grow here, along with the nationally rare greater yellow-rattle. Chalk grassland is one of our richest plant communities and more than 50 kinds of wild flower can be found in a square metre of land.
|Hedgerow Path to Chaldon Green|
Start point: 51.2927 lat, -0.1199 long
At the top corner keep straight ahead to join a stone track leading you through a section of trees (signed as a public footpath to Chaldon Church). You will emerge to the edge of a large crop field. Take the obvious path heading diagonally left (at about 11 o’clock) across the field. As you draw level with a corner of woodland on your right, stay with the path which now bears further to your left, leading you diagonally across the next section of crop field.
|Chaldon Green to Valley Bottom|
Start point: 51.2852 lat, -0.1237 long
About 30 metres beyond the green, turn left onto the footpath signed to Piles Wood. Pass through the hedgerow gap and follow the path with the crop field (which you just crossed) on your left and fenced paddocks on your right. In the top right-hand corner of the crop field, continue ahead on the grass track with the fence line on your right and Piles Wood running on your left.
|Valley Bottom to End|
Start point: 51.2908 lat, -0.1161 long
Follow the valley bottom path, with the grassland sloping up to your left and woodland on your right. Further along you will meet a hedgerow crossing your path (the one you encountered on the outward leg). Pass through the hedge and turn immediately right to join a smaller path leading you steeply up through the woodland via a flight of steps. As you emerge from the trees continue up the steps, passing a bench on the left. At the top you will come to a T-junction.
Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2016 by the author exploresurrey and may not be reproduced without permission.
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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