Reigate Mills and Pillboxes

An enjoyable circular walk from Reigate Heath, passing Reigate Heath windmill, Wonham Mill and pillboxes built during the Second World War. There are good views along the walk to the North Downs. This walk is published through a collaboration with the Surrey County Council.

Technical sheet
No. 8382707
A Surrey walk posted on 28/04/21 by Aurelie-21. Update : 28/04/21
Calculated time Calculated time: 2h05[?]
Distance Distance : 4.31mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 95ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 95ft
Highest point Highest point : 276ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 151ft
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Surrey
Starting point Starting point : N 51.24014° / W 0.22166°
Download : -

Description

(D/A) The walk starts from the bus stop on the junction between the A25 (Buckland Road) and Flanchford Road. Walk down Flanchford Road, using the left-hand pavement. Where the pavement ends (by the entrance to Heath Church), keep ahead on the narrow grass verge for a further 40m then fork left down the signed public bridleway.

Follow this path through the edge of the woodland and passing the south-side Flanchford Road car park on the right. After 250m you will emerge to the edge of the golf course. Take particular care here, allowing golfers to play their shots before you proceed and keeping your eyes peeled for stray golf balls. Follow the track straight ahead across the course, watching out for the tee on the left and the fairway on the right.

Fork right to merge with a vehicle track and continue to reach a T-junction with the road, Bonnys Road, with a flint house (Old School House) opposite.

(1) Turn left along the road and then fork immediately right towards The Skimmington Castle pub. After just a few paces, fork left to join the signed bridleway which leads you through the trees, part of the Greensand Way. The path leads you past the pub on the right and then down past horse paddocks on the right. At this point, there are views to Littleton Manor Farm on the right. Littleton Manor Farm is a typical 17th century farmhouse, with a central chimney. This part of the Weald used to be covered by a great forest. It began to be cleared after the Domesday survey, and settlers started to move into the area. You will emerge to a junction of paths within the paddocks complex of Littleton Manor Farm. Take the path to the right, passing through the white gate (ignoring the minor sharp right turn over the stile). Follow the driveway towards Littleton Manor Farm and, after passing the large barn on the right, fork right onto the track which leads you through a gateway. Continue on this track between the fence on the right and the hedge on the left for 350m, passing the farmhouse on your left. There are views behind you to Reigate Hill and Heathfield House can be glimpsed through the trees to the right. The earliest part of Heathfield House dates from 1867. It was divided into flats in the 1950s. Keep straight ahead at the crossroads of tracks, continuing between paddocks. Where the track swings sharp right, go straight ahead to cross the stile/gate into a paddock.

(2) Make your way to the far left corner of this field (the official right of way crosses the field diagonally left - at about 10 o'clock - but you may need to follow an enclosed path around the edge). Go over the stile and keep ahead on the fenced path which leads you to a crossroads with Flanchford Road. Cross over the road with care and go along the track opposite (signed as a byway), pausing to observe the excellent view of Box Hill and the North Downs on the right. Follow the track ahead which leads you past the 16th century Gilberts Farm on the left. Continue for a further 500m to reach a signed crossroads of paths. It is worth pausing here to take in the view of Trumpets Hill on right. The house on Trumpets Hill was designed by David Barry and constructed in 1901, and has a distinctive green roof. This was formerly the site of a windmill, one of the six mills which existed in the local area in the nineteenth century. Only two now remain; one on Reigate Heath and the other on Wray Common.

(3) Follow the main track which swings round to the left, keeping the woods on the left and a field on the right. After 275m you will reach the 16th century Ricebridge Farm. Bear left here to pass the farm on the right. At the end of garden on the right, cross the stile directly ahead (beside a pair of wide gates) to enter a field. Turn right and follow the right-hand field boundary. This field edge path leads you between a pillbox on the left and the hedge on right. The whole area around the River Mole is littered with pillboxes, which were fortified gun placements built in the period during the Second World War when it was feared that a land invasion was imminent. At the end of the first field, the path leads you over a stream with the River Mole on the left. Keep straight ahead on the path which follows the left-hand edge of this next field. Pass another pillbox on the left and, a few paces later, turn right through a kissing gate. Cross this field at about 11 o'clock to reach the wooden kissing gate alongside the river. Go through this gate and follow the path which leads you over a footbridge to reach the road opposite Wonham Mill. Wonham Manor and a water mill are shown on the Senex map of 1723. The mill worked grinding flour until 1930, when it was sold to Ranks, the famous millers, who dismantled the machinery. During the Second World War it was used as a store by the Ministry of Food, and it was later bought by Lillico who installed a grain drier. The mill has been converted into private houses.

(4) Cross over the road and turn left along the pavement, heading uphill. Immediately after the mill's parking area, turn right onto the signed footpath. Follow this surfaced footpath ahead and, just before you reach the pond, turn left onto another signed footpath. Pass the pond on the right and you will come to a stile ahead.

Cross this stile and walk directly ahead across the paddock, heading for the farm buildings visible in the distance. Continue in the same direction, crossing two further stiles along the way. Follow the narrow path with a hedge on the left and you will emerge to a T-junction with the road, alongside Dungates Farm.

Turn right along the lane, passing The Granary on the right and then some stables on the left. Keep ahead on the track with a tall hedge on the left. This public bridleway forms part of the beautiful Greensand Way long distance trail, which was first developed by the Ramblers Association. It runs for 108 miles from Haslemere in Surrey to Ham Street in Kent where it links in with the Saxon Shoreway.

The track leads you into a small section of woodland with a wide stream running on the left. You will reach a fork, take the right-hand branch (still the Greensand Way) passing through a gateway.

(5) Follow the obvious track through the open field and, at the far end, pass through the right-hand of the two gateways to join a fenced section of track. The track leads you between bollards with the golf course visible on the right. You will emerge to a T-junction at the edge of Reigate Heath golf course, with Ivy Cottage on the left and views of the windmill ahead.

The existing windmill dates from 1765 and is built on Galley Hill, so called because it was the site of a gallows where highwaymen and other convicted criminals were hanged. The mill worked for about 100 years, and in 1880 was converted to a chapel. Services are still held here regularly.

(6) The next sections of the path cross the golf course so remember to take particular care, allowing golfers to play their shots before you proceed and keeping your eyes peeled for stray golf balls. Walk straight ahead across the fairway towards the windmill. Climb the hill on the sandy path, with the windmill to your left. (Please keep to the existing paths and avoid trampling the heather). Towards the top of the slope you will find a bench on the left, a perfect spot to pause and enjoy the panoramic views. A 9-hole golf course was first constructed on Reigate Heath in 1896. The heath forms part of the manorial waste of the Manor of Reigate, and was bequeathed to the people of the town by Lady Henry Somerset when she died in 1921. It is the largest heath in East Surrey, and is a rare and valuable habitat. It is managed to prevent trees/scrub from encroaching and plant succession taking place.

(7) At the top of the slope you will come to a T-junction with a track. Turn left and walk through the car park, passing the clubhouse on your left. Pass two cottages on your left, ignoring the first path on the right. Where the track swings left, turn right (immediately after the first mirror-topped post). Follow this slightly sunken gravel path swinging left and out to reach the edge of a fairway. Turn left and walk along the edge of the fairway, following the edge of the trees on your left (looking out for golfers playing from the tee ahead). Walk straight ahead to join the sandy path which leads you up the ridge. Towards the top of the ridge you will find the 5th tee on the right (with two benches immediately behind it). A clump of Scots pine trees to the left marks the site of a Bronze Age barrow, or burial mound, one of seven on Reigate Heath. They provide the earliest evidence of man's occupation of the area around 3000 years ago. Turn right to join the wide sandy path which leads you downhill to reach car park on the north side of Flanchford Road. Turn left on the grass path which runs alongside the road and leads you directly back to the bus stop where the walk began.(D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 246ft - Bus stop
1 : mi 0.52 - alt. 240ft - The Skimmington Castle pub
2 : mi 1.1 - alt. 230ft - Paddock
3 : mi 1.77 - alt. 180ft - Main track
4 : mi 2.44 - alt. 164ft - Wonham Lane
5 : mi 3.02 - alt. 194ft - Gateway
6 : mi 3.32 - alt. 226ft - Path
7 : mi 3.48 - alt. 276ft - Top of the slope
D/A : mi 4.31 - alt. 246ft - Bus stop

Useful Information

Reigate Heath Windmill is a grade II listed post mill which is now used as a chapel. It is thought to be the only windmill in the world which is a consecrated church. Built c.1765, this windmill was last worked by wind in April 1862. In 1962, the mill was purchased by Reigate Borough Council and was restored with new sails. A church service was held on 18 October 1964, and since May 1965 a service has been held on the third Sunday of each month during the summer.

Pillboxes are small, reinforced defence structures used to provide a line of defence, called a stop line, and were part of the Defence of Britain project to halt a German invasion during World War II. Initially there were seven basic designs, though modification and even unique types were not unusual. Various different types of camouflage were also common. Most pillboxes were built of reinforced concrete and were roughly circular or rectangular in design. Specific features included slits through which guns were fired and blast walls to protect the entrance.

This walk includes a few gentle gradients. The paths and tracks are mostly unmade and can be very muddy in part. Walking shoes or boots are required and wellingtons with grips are recommended for the winter months. You will need to negotiate a number of gates/kissing gates plus 6 stiles (all of which have open fencing surrounds which should be suitable for most dogs to pass through). You will be sharing some of the fields with horses and some of the paths have electric fencing alongside so take particular care with children and dogs. The walk crosses a golf course so please show respect for the golfers by allowing them to play their shots before you cross and watch closely for any stray flying golf balls. Allow 2 hours.

If you are looking for refreshments, The Skimmington Castle pub is near waypoint 1, and The Black Horse pub is on the A25 near the bus stop at the start of the walk. Ordnance Survey Map: Explorer 146 Dorking, Box Hill & Reigate. This walk follows public footpaths and bridleways which cross private and public 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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