NHS Retirement Fellowship Stage 3; Dorking to Merstham

8th September 2016

The intrepid ladies from the NHS retirement fellowship have been out on the trail again. Despite the rain spirits weren’t dampened as they continue to plot their way along the North Downs Way. Pam Bullman once again pick up the commentary.

“The 19th August saw us on our third stage, Dorking to Merstham, and facing a different challenge. Rain!  Did the rain detract?  No!  It just meant we now had misty views over the lovely countryside.

Leaving Box Hill's stepping stones car park (one car left there and one at Dorking Station for our return), we crossed the River Mole via footbridge or stepping stones, to climb up the 275 steps to Box Hill’s viewpoint.  No mean feat, and not an ideal start for a 10+ mile walk!

From here, the Trail led through the little visited, by us at least,  hinterland of Box Hill to pass the Betchworth Quarry and Lime Works, now partially hidden by nature, apart from a towering, derelict, and strangely eerie, brick-built kiln - see pic.

A long stretch of woodland took us on to what, a few of us felt, was possibly the most challenging part - the steep, seemingly, never-ending ascent to Colley Hill’s open spaces and its amazing vista.

After a leafy sheltered lunch stop, we pressed on, passing the Inglis Memorial, a WW2 pillbox, the WW2 US ‘Flying Fortress' Memorial and the Victorian Fort, to arrive at Reigate Hill's wonderful viewpoint. What an interesting stretch this is  - a folly donated to the local council, two reminders of WW2 - one particularly poignant, plus an example of an historic defence system.

Following refreshment at the Hill's kiosk, we descended through densely wooded Gatton Park, catching sight of the curious and artistic Millennium Standing Stones, and continued on through the Royal Alexander and Albert School grounds.

Leaving the grounds, the final stretch took us across an expansive golf course and alongside the local cricket pitch to reach Merstham and its lovely Quality Street. Damp, tired, but happy, we called into the 'local' for celebratory shandies before catching a train back to Dorking, via Redhill.

Three out of five stages down - two to go. Our quest to cover the Surrey part of the NDW is progressing well!”

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