North Downs Way from Merstham to Betchworth via Reigate Hill
The North Downs Way: Merstham Station to Betchworth Station via Reigate Hill
Route Start Location: Merstham Railway Station to Betchworth Railway Station
|12.1 km||355 m||3 hrs.|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Activivity Type: Moderate Walk
Summits and Places on this Route
Pub and shops in Merstham village, refreshments at Reigate Hill Tea Room.
Very busy A23 to cross at Merstham and at the other end, Pebblehill Road in to Betchworth also needs to be crossed with care.
Available at Merstham Railway station
Frequent trains from Victoria Station,central London (plus Clapham Junction, East Croydon, etc) to Merstham. However, if travelling back to Merstham, be aware that Betchworth is on a different branch line, so you’ll need to change at Redhill.
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North Downs Way from Merstham to Betchworth via Reigate Hill Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download
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North Downs Way from Merstham to Betchworth via Reigate Hill
This route details the section of the North Downs National Trail between Merstham and Betchworth in the Surrey Hills, taking in the views from Reigate Hill.
North Downs Way from Merstham to Betchworth via Reigate Hill Route Description
1. The start of this section of the North Downs Way (NDW) begins at Merstham railway station, which you can reach in about 40 minutes from central London. Parking is also available. From the front of the station, walk down Station Road, past Merstham Village Hall and club. At the t-junction, the A23 crosses your route here. Caution is needed to cross this very busy road safely.
2. After crossing the road, walk down Old Mill Lane. Follow the lane, which veers around back southwards. At another t-junction with Quality Street (yes, honestly!), turn left as if walking back toward the A23. The start of the route proper is half way down Quality Street on the opposite side.
3. Pass the white barrier and on to the well defined path. This is the North Downs Way proper. You will soon pass Merstham Cricket Club grounds, after which passes straight on, through a short stretch of trees, to Reigate Golf Club.
4. Carry on down the white gravel path with trees on your right hand side and “the rough” on your left. After a short stretch the route starts to climb upwards on a short rise and leaves the gravel behind. Keep on to a junction of paths at TQ 2812 5350. Head straight onwards with trees to your left and a stretch of the golf course to your right.
5. After around 200 m, the way passes underneath the trees though a wooden gate. This pleasantly shady woodland way leads on, past Whitehall Farm, to a junction with Rocky Lane. Turn right and walk along the road for a short stretch, taking care to be aware of vehicles, although there are some grassy verges. You’ll see a white walled thatched cottage and the entrance to the Royal Alexandra and Albert School.
6. Pass through the school grounds, coming to a junction of public rights on way at TQ 2752 5301. Carry on as the NDW joins the Pilgrim’s Way. You’ll pass the school sports grounds on the right hand side and accommodation blocks on the left. Soon the school grounds end and you’re back looking at fields and woodland. The path divides here (TQ 2718 5282). The left leads down in to Redhill, the right carries on the NDW. This is Gatton Park, owned by the National Trust and designed by Lancelot “Capability” Brown and site of the “Millennium Stones” a Stonehenge style sculpture erected in 1999.
7. After the Millennium Stones, the path takes you north- west for a short time before it curves back in a south-westerly direction, climbing steadily upwards on to the flank of Wingate Hill, a gentle introduction to the ridge proper which is to come. Some fine viewing points are to be had at points on the way, taking in the grand scale of Capability Brown’s designs.
8. Where you reach the top of Wingate Hill, the path turns northwards, runs on for around 100 m, then turns sharp left to pass out into the open and Cross Wray Lane. In front of you is Wray Lane Car Park, where there’s an expansive viewpoint and Reigate Hill Tea Room if you’re in need of refreshment.
9. To the left-hand side, behind the tea room is the way onward, which takes you over a white bridge over the A217. This is the start of the ridge proper, which stretches on for around eight kilometres: Reigate Hill, Colley Hill, Juniper Hill, Coneybury Hill, Buckland Hills, Box Hill. Follow the path, passing straight on at the crossroads of public rights of way at TQ 2588 5218. Shortly after this you’ll be at the top of Reigate Hill, dominated by the Victorian-era Reigate Hill fort. This dates from 1898 and was part of a “London Defence Scheme” when France was threatening to invade. National trust owned, it was unfortunately closed due to the COVID-19 crisis when I passed that way. A Google search and a look at the National Trust website gives you the layout inside and, again, the sprawling view southwards.
.10. Keep on walking westwards, on the well defined path, though the woodland with occasional openings to the south. After just under a kilometre, you’ll pass out from under the trees onto the open top of Colley Hill, having only dropped 15 meters from the top of Reigate Hill. This is a very large area of open hillside, dominated by the view, low bushes, and mature trees. As you pass through a gate out of the trees you’ll see the way forward passes the Inglis Memorial. According to the Surry Hills AONB website, this structure was built in memory of Lieutenant Colonel Sir Robert William Inglis, who had donated the land of Colley Hill to the Borough of Reigate in 1909. It’s now a “ramblers rest”, in an open neo-classical columned style, with an impressively decorative domed ceiling,
11. Carry on across this open stretch. It extends for around a kilometre in length, with multiple bumps, hollows and interesting land features to stop for rest if the Inglis memorial is busy with people! After this, it’s downhill all the way.
12. At the end of Colley Hill is a spur of the main hill, marked as The Saddle Knob. After this point, the route goes back under the trees and in due course, at a junction of paths at TQ 2384 5228, turn left and descends (ignore pathways branching off to the right unless you’re taking the high route variant to the NDW here). The path bends back to the south-east before gradually veering back around to the west at the bottom of Juniper Hill. This is a straightforward way now, although hemmed in at times between the trees on the right and fields of wheat on the left (look out for one splendid and ancient looking yew tree). You’ll spend the next couple of kilometres passing the bottom of Coneybury Hill, Mount HIll and Buckland Hills, veering between northerly and westerly directions. Eventually, you reach a short set of steps downwards.
13. This is now Dawcome wood nature reserve, owned by the Woodland Trust. Keep to the path, turning left at the path junction at TQ 2211 5253. It goes on west, then south. Carry on until you come to a gate at the end of the track, looking out over open fields. Just after, take another gated path on your right. This, after 400 m or so, takes you on to Pebblehill Road, where you turn left. This is another very busy road and care is needed to cross over. It’s an easy roadside route to Betchworth train station from here on and the end of your day’s walk. Catch a train back in to Reigate, Redhill or onwards to Dorking. If you’re carrying on to Box Hill, turn right and head through the houses at TQ 2100 5164.
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