An undulating walk through farmland and woodland starting from Holmwood Station in Beare Green village. On a clear day there are good views to the Greensand Ridge and the North Downs. This walk is part of the Explore Surrey collection, published through a collaboration with Surrey County Council.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) The walk starts from Holmwood Rail Station. Until the railway was built, the only means of transport around Holmwood had been pack horse and stage coach. The London, Brighton & South Coast Railway Company opened the Dorking to Horsham line, including Holmwood station, on 1 May 1867. There was a goods yard here, where Hawksmoore Drive is now, and two goods trains used to stop daily to deliver coal into the coal bays or wharfs.
Leave the station platforms up the steps to reach Old Horsham Road. Turn right down the pavement for 80m then cross over the road to turn left into Bregsells Lane (signed as a public bridleway leading to Bregsells Farm). Continue along Bregsells Lane to pass under the road bridge.
As you draw level with a pond on the left, ignore the farm entrance drive on the right. Simply keep ahead on the main track which swings right through the stable yard. Go straight ahead through the metal gate to enter the first pasture (the first of many heavy clay soil fields which can be very muddy). Keep ahead following the right-hand fence line. At the far end, go through the gate ahead into the second pasture and continue along the right-hand edge. The gate ahead leads you into the third pasture. Immediately after this gate, cross the stile on the right.
(1) Walk across this next large field between 11 and 12 o'clock to reach a stile on the far side (which is some way to the right of the telegraph pole within the boundary). Cross this stile and turn left through the gateway. Bear slightly right (at about 1 o'clock) across the field to reach the gateway opening in the corner of the hedge line opposite. Go through the gateway and keep ahead, following the line of the hedge on the left. Half way along the field, the path dog-legs left and then right (via a kissing gate) to continue with the hedge now on the right.
Stay close to the hedge on the right and, in the field corner, a stile leads you out to reach a T-junction with the road. Turn left and walk along the grass verge (taking care of traffic) for 80m to reach Keepers Cottage on the left. Here, cross the road with care to turn right through the gateway opposite (signed as a public footpath).
Walk along the grass track which follows the edge of this large field for 400m, keeping the hedge on your left. You will pass two old field boundaries on your right, marked by lines of trees/hedgerow. At the end of the field (where the grass track swings right), keep ahead through the gap in the hedgerow to enter a belt of woodland, Brook Copse.
(2) Turn right (passing a diused stile) and keep ahead along the woodland edge (with the open field visible through the hedge on the right). After 100m, turn right to cross a footbridge (with stile) back into the field. Turn left along the field-edge track and keep ahead to reach a stile in the corner. Cross this stile and turn immediately right along the path with a fence on the right and lakes on the left.
You are now within Henfold Lake Fisheries. The Leigh Brook was originally diverted to create ponds for a local brickworks. The ponds were destroyed during the Second World War to prevent German bombers having a landmark when attempting to attack a nearby munitions factory. The site was bought for angling in 1971 and the ponds were restored, with further ponds being added more recently.
At the end of the field you will reach a footbridge ahead. Should you wish to visit Henfold Lake Fisheries clubhouse (which is open seasonally for light refreshments), turn right before the footbridge. NOTE 2017: This is currently a refreshment van following a fire in the clubhouse.
(3) To continue the walk, cross the footbridge (taking time to admire the pretty weirs within the brook) and keep straight ahead on the path with a small fishing pond on the left and a caravan site beyond the hedge on your right. Cross the tarmac entrance drive and continue ahead, following the path along the edge of the woodland as it swings right. Continue to a point where the path forks (pictured), marked by a waist-high waymarker post (this has been reported as missing). Take the left-hand fork and follow the path uphill through the woodland. This path is awash with bluebells in the spring.
The Henfold Estate came into being in 1845 and was a popular venue for social events. A cricket field was laid out and was used by county players and teams during the summer months, and in spring and autumn, cattle and sheep sales were held. Buyers and salesmen came from all round the South of England and special trains were run to Holmwood Station to transport cattle to and from the sales.
At the top of the slope, the path leads you between gardens and houses, passing a gate and heading down an access drive to reach a junction with the road (with Henfold House opposite).
(4) Cross the road carefully and continue ahead up the driveway towards Henfold House. (Don't worry about the Private signs, this is part of a public footpath). Pass the pond on the left and the pair of cottages (The Old Kennels and Henfold House Cottage) on the right. Immediately, turn right along the driveway with the cottages on the right and barns on the left. Go through the gates ahead and then fork right through a wide gate to enter a horse paddock (marked with a yellow arrow). Cross this field diagonally (passing to the right of the telegraph pole) to reach the wide gate on the far boundary. Go through this gate, follow the path through the narrow belt of trees and go through the next gate to enter the large pasture (which may be holding sheep). Walk straight ahead to pass a small fenced clump of trees on your right. There are excellent views from this point. In the foreground to the left are the Lower Greensand Hills, and on the left-hand end of the ridge is Leith Hill, the highest point in South East England. The top of its tower is 1029 feet above sea level. The North Downs stretch into the distance to the right. The area of white chalk that can be seen is the Betchworth quarry.
(5) Continue down the field (at about 11 o'clock) heading for a point to the right of the furthest corner. Here you will find a stile. Cross the stile, go over the stream footbridge and step over the v-shape stile into the corner of the next pasture. Walk at about 11 o'clock to reach a waymarker post alongside a footbridge. Do NOT cross this footbridge, instead turn sharp left heading back on yourself across the field. The line of this path skirts alongside the telegraph pole, then continues heading towards the farm buildings visible beyond the furthest field corner. In this field corner, cross the stile and sleeper bridge. Keep straight ahead with first trees and then a hedge on the right. In the corner you will find a (half-hidden) stile on the right. Cross this and keep ahead to cross a second stile followed by a sleeper bridge and some steps to reach a roadside verge.
(6) Turn left (take extreme care of cars turning here) along the pavement for the main road, passing the service station on the left. Immediately afterwards, turn left down the tarmac slope to pass under the A24 via the subway. At the far side, keep ahead (parallel with the A24) along the pavement to pass a garage forecourt on the left. The path soon merges with a residential road (Old Horsham Road), follow this ahead. The Old Horsham Road was the main road through Beare Green until the A24 bypass was built in the early 1970s. At the junction, keep ahead along the left-hand pavement passing Beare Green Court village shops and cafe on the left. The village of Beare Green did not exist before World War I, and was open fields and allotments. After the war a few huts and shacks sprang up around Holmwood Station and the former White Hart public house, and the village has developed since then. Continue up the hill, passing the pond and modern church to the left. Soon afterwards you will reach Holmwood Station on the left where the walk began.(D/A)
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 338ft - Holmwood Rail Station
1 : mi 0.52 - alt. 289ft - Bregsells Stile
2 : mi 1.34 - alt. 240ft - Brook Copse
3 : mi 1.58 - alt. 236ft - Footbridge
4 : mi 1.99 - alt. 325ft - Henfold House
5 : mi 2.27 - alt. 302ft - Clump of Trees
6 : mi 2.88 - alt. 295ft - Roadside Verge
D/A : mi 3.31 - alt. 338ft - Holmwood Rail Station
The walk has several gentle gradients throughout. The paths cross a number of heavy clay soil pastures and fields and at times these can be very muddy (or with standing water) so waterproof boots or wellingtons are recommended. You will need to negotiate some steps, gates and 9 stiles (a couple of which are set into narrow fencing so larger dogs may need a lift over). Some of the fields you cross are likely to be holding horses, cattle and sheep so take particular care with dogs. Allow 2 hours.
If you would like refreshments there are a few options. There is a cafe and newsagent in Beare Green Court parade of shops, which you pass towards the end of the walk. The Clubhouse at Henfold Lake Fisheries is open seasonally for refreshments and has toilets (Waypoint 5). The Duke's Head pub & restaurant is 300m south of Waypoint 9 on the A24. Ordnance Survey Map: Explorer 146 Dorking, Box Hill & Reigate. This walk follows public footpaths and bridleways which cross private land. Information is included for your interest, but please respect people's privacy, keep dogs under control and remember the Countryside Code.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
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