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Surface and access improvements - closure of Box Hill Steps

We’re pleased to announce we're making several surfacing and access improvements along the North Downs Way over the next year!

Wooden steps at Box Hill

At Box Hill, we will be replacing the 270 old wooden steps with longer lasting recycled plastic ones.

This will keep people on the path and off the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It will also make the trail easy to access for more people and usable all year round.

The steps will be temporarily closed from 19 April for at least 21 days. We hope to have them finished before the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend in June.

We are working with the National Trust and Surrey County Council on an alternative route which will be signed on the ground. And the National Trust will have updates on their website.

During the next 12 months, we will be investing more than £300,000 on upgrades that will help increase access for all people, improve the trail experience and protect the countryside and wildlife.

At times, this may impact how you use the trail. Where possible there will be more information and signs in place to help you find an alternative route.

We will keep this page up to date on the latest developments. Please remember to check back when planning your visit or event on the trail.

Introducing our NEW North Downs Way Ambassadors

After a series of online workshops, outdoor practical sessions and lots of homework we now have 42 new ambassadors!

Our ambassadors are absolutely amazing, they love promoting the trail, enjoy spending as much time as possible outdoors and often have a range of top tips, interesting facts and local knowledge up their sleeves.

Now we’ve recruited and trained another group of enthusiastic and passionate people eager to share their knowledge with you and encourage more people to get active outdoors and respect, protect and enjoy our glorious countryside.

We’ll be sharing more about all our ambassadors over the coming weeks and months so watch this space for the latest news.

New Art Trail Launching in 2022

The North Downs Way will soon be home to 8 beautiful permanent artworks that celebrate the nearby inspiring views, local heritage and wonderful communities as well as acting as sculptural seats for quiet contemplation.

We’re excited to announce the launch of a new art trail including a total of 8 permanent artworks along the 153 mile North Downs Way with locations in Kent and Surrey. With 2 pieces already in place in Surrey – Optohedron at Newlands Corner and Radius at Denbies Vineyard Estate – the rest are scheduled to open in Autumn 2021, Spring 2022 and Autumn 2022. Inspired by the surrounding countryside and made from sustainable materials the pieces will be supported by new walks and bike rides of varying length to enable visitors to find their way to the artwork really easily.

Find out more about these exciting plans here, we can’t wait!

Kent's Heritage Coast selected a one of the BEST regions in the world!

The Lonely Planet panel praised the Kent’s Heritage Coast commitment to sustainable tourism initiatives, including our sustainable rural tourism project, EXPERIENCE.

We are absolutely delighted to announce that Kent’s Heritage Coast which forms part of both the North Downs Way and England Coast Path has won international recognition as the 4th region on Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2022. Huge congratulations to the Kent Downs AONB team and all the local organisations, businesses, and people that make Kent’s Heritage Coast such a special place to visit! Find out more here.


Want to explore it for yourself?

Etchinghill to Dover 12 miles (19.3 Km) – Travel along the top of the escarpment for breath-taking views over the Channel Tunnel Terminal, Folkestone and across to the English Channel. You’ll skirt Dover, crossing the top of the great Shakespeare Cliff, said to be the inspiration for a passage in King Lear. Then over Western Heights you can be king (or queen) of the castle with views across the vibrant harbour and the imposing stronghold of Dover Castle.

Shepherdswell to Dover 8.5 miles (13.7 Km) – Follow this route through rolling countryside with flashes of the distant sea ahead before you meet the White Cliffs Country Trail, taking you across the iconic White Cliffs. Soon you will reach the end of the North Downs Way and the chance to explore this infamous harbour town with the Start/Finish line on the Dover Sea Front.

View our route description here or find a short or longer walk to try here.

EXPERIENCE Project Launch

We've teamed up with the Kent Downs AONB and the Interreg project team to help bring our wonderful trail together with local businesses to create new experiences and itineraries.

The EXPERIENCE project aims to promote sustainable tourism, help nearby businesses to develop new experiences for outdoor enthusiasts and provide activities for visitors all year round.

In the coming months we’ll be sharing some of our favourite walks, cycles and horse-rides and highlighting nearby must-see views, attractions and businesses that you’ll want to visit when restrictions allow. For now you can find out more on our project page and sign-up to choose the experience themes that you’re most excited about by visiting the Kent Downs AONB website.

Plus if you’re a business located near the trail there are some great opportunities for you to attract more walkers and cyclists and get involved in our upcoming marketing campaigns too. Click here to find out more.

If you have a great sustainable tourism idea or would like to diversify your business then you can apply to join our experience maker programme offering free support, training and promotion. Our webinar on the 4th November will help explain more about what’s on offer, find out more here and apply by 15th November.