Sunday 27 January 2008

Woldingham Country Walk, Surrey

Set in the bucolic Surrey Hills, this well signposted five-and-a-half mile route starts at Woldingham station. Part of the walk traces the 200-metre high ridge overlooking the steep slope running down to the M25. On this stretch, there are sweeping and far-reaching views south, taking in the prosperous town of Oxted and the rolling countryside surrounding it, but the loud hum of the motorway is ever present. Another stretch, along a minor road running through a secluded and picturesque valley up to Woldingham boarding school, isn't quite as spectacular, but is much more peaceful. From the school gates, a short cut follows a grassy path that climbs steadily up the side of a hill back into the woods overlooking the M25. From this track, you can glimpse the school's 19th century red brick mansion nestling in the base of the valley. Despite its proximity to London, this walk is a surprisingly rural and scenic antidote to city life. 8/10