Sunday 4 May 2008

Walk through Happy Valley, near Coulsdon, Surrey

Follow Ditches Lane out of Coulsdon and park your car on the high ground of Farthing Down, which commands wide views over some rolling chalk downland and the ancient woodland of Happy Valley. The well-signposted walks take you into woods littered with fallen-trees, many covered in moss, surrounded in late spring by thousands of bluebells. Soon the trees give way to the open valley floor - a gentle and attractive green basin popular with local dog walkers. One of the paths leads across a couple of fields to a picturesque church dating from the eleventh century set in a longstanding graveyard in the hamlet of Chaldon. You can walk back through the valley for a pleasant round-trip of about three miles. Although Happy Valley is inside the M25 and you are never far from suburbia, at times it can feel as rural as anywhere in south east England. 7/10