Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Epsom Downs, south west of London

One of the best things about Epsom Downs, a stretch of rolling downland on the edge of suburbia, is the view north from the car park on the crest of the hill. The dome of St Paul's Cathedral and the skyscrapers of the city shimmer in the distance far beyond the golf course hugging the hillside. To the south, is the glistening white grandstand of Epsom race course. After crossing the road, an underpass takes you to the other side of the race track where an undulating path leads across the grass. Above you, model airplanes may be doing loop-the-loops, while kites dance elsewhere in the sky.

A tad over two miles
After crossing the racecourse again, follow a path down through the woods towards the farmland of Walton Downs, the church spire of Walton on the Hill on the horizon and the constant hum of the M25. A bridleway skirts west, passing a field kitted out with show jumping fences, to join Langley Vale Road. Heading north east along the path alongside this busy minor road takes you past Langley Vale housing estate and then back on to Epsom Downs. After climbing up the hill, you will find the smart Derby Arms, a heavily-refurbished 125-year-old pub, beyond the grandstand. The full route is probably a tad over two miles. 7/10