Thursday 26 December 2013

Stepping Stones Walk, Box Hill, Surrey

The Burford Spur
Although the National Trust's Stepping Stones Walk is only a couple of miles, it incorporates a very steep ascent and descent, plus plenty to look at, so you'll need more than an hour.  Next to the Burford Bridge Hotel, there is a public car park and a gate into some woodland at the foot of the Burford Spur - an open stretch of land that climbs up to Box Hill. As you haul yourself up the grassy slope, you'll pause to turn around and take in the sweeping views north. As you near the top, you'll be engulfed in more woodland surrounding an old fort. You emerge next to the bustling National Trust visitor centre, complete with cafe and toilets. If you buy a coffee, be aware that there aren't any litter bins on the rest of the walk.

The grassy slope below the Saloman's Memorial, with Dorking in the distance
From the visitor centre, follow the blue sign posts for the Stepping Stones Walk down to the Saloman's Memorial, where you'll be able to survey the green Weald stretching southwards between Box Hill and the South Downs.  From the memorial, follow the blue signposts west and down the steep 275 steps through the yew woods to the River Mole. If the river is bloated with rain, you may have a hard time finding the stepping stones. Still, you can use the small bridge to get across to the Burford Meadow - a tract of flattish land between the river and the road. If it isn't under water, you can follow the footpath alongside the river back to the bridge and the car park. 8/10

The view on the descent towards the River Mole